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Bengals announce acquisition of James Harrison

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Three teams in the AFC North (and, specifically, their starting quarterbacks) may need the products Tony Siragusa is now pushing, now that linebacker James Harrison officially has joined the Bengals.

The Bengals announced the move this morning.

“James has been a dominant player on a team with a history of dominant defense,” coach Marvin Lewis said.  “He has made a great number of game-deciding plays, and he brings us help in a position area we had planned to improve either through the draft or with a veteran signing.  He will be a physical player against the run and will improve our pressure on the quarterback.”

It’s unclear precisely how Harrison will be used in passing situations, given that the Bengals use a base 4-3 defense and Harrison has spent his career in a 3-4.  Possibly, he’ll switch to defensive end, with one of the ends sliding inside.

The departure of Harrison from Pittsburgh creates a need for the Steelers.  Coincidentally, we can ask Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert about that, on Tuesday’s PFT Live.

Coincidentally, Colbert will be preceded on the show by Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, whom many think would be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.

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Marshawn Lynch expected back this week for Panthers game

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The Seahawks found out they could still run the ball without Marshawn Lynch, but they’d still rather be with him.

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the Seahawks expect Lynch to return to the lineup Sunday when they face the Panthers, after he missed two weeks with a hamstring strain.

Rookie replacement Thomas Rawls ran for 169 yards in last week’s loss to the Bengals, which is the most yards for a Seattle back in a single game since Shaun Alexander went for 201 against the Packers in 2006.

“Normally, Marshawn comes in and out pretty regularly, so we’ll just pump [Rawls] in there and see how many carries that amounts to,’’ Carroll said. “Usually it’s about eight or 10 carries on a regular game. We’ll see how that goes. …

“We’re going to feel real comfortable about him in the two spot, coming in off the bench. There’s no reason for him not to play, he’s done a great job for us, and I would say he’s probably exceeded our expectations at this point.’’

An undrafted rookie averaging 5.6 yards per attempt will generally exceed expectations, but it also gives the Seahawks some hint of what life after Lynch might be like. They still leaned on veteran Fred Jackson late in the game, but Rawls has done an impressive job behind what has been a shaky offensive line this season.

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Rex: Tyrod Taylor is “beat up right now”

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Quarterback Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills grimaces after receiving a late hit by the Tennessee Titans during the second half of a game at Nissan Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s legs helped save the day in Nashville on Sunday as he reeled off several big runs in the second half to bring the Bills back for a 14-13 win over the Titans.

At the end of one of those runs, Taylor was dragged down from behind by linebacker Zach Brown on what the officials ruled was a horse collar tackle and had to leave the game for a play after he was slow to get back to his feet. Blows like that have left Taylor nursing some wounds as this week gets underway.

“I can tell you this: He is beat up right now,” Ryan said, via the Buffalo News. “He’s sore. You ought to see him — he is sore. We knew he would be. Guys, he hasn’t been 100 percent all season.We all know he finished the game, but we’ll see how he’s doing. We’ll be looking at him throughout the week and everybody else that we have. He’s sore now, I can tell you that much.”

Taylor was listed on the injury report before Week Four because of an ankle issue that Ryan says dates back to training camp, but he wasn’t on the injury report last week at all. Based on Ryan’s Monday comments and the league’s rules about injury reporting, it seems like a good bet that he’ll wind up on the report this time around.

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Tom Brady on pace for NFL’s first 5,500-yard passing season

Tom Brady AP

It wasn’t that long ago that a 5,000-yard season in the NFL was an extraordinary achievement. But now 5,000-yard seasons are a regular occurrence in the NFL, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is heading toward the next milestone: 5,500 yards.

Brady has 1,387 yards in four games, an average of 346.8 yards a game that puts him on pace for 5,548 yards this season. If Brady keeps his current pace, he’ll have the first 5,500-yard season in NFL history.

For years, the record for passing yards in a season belonged to Dan Marino, who threw for 5,084 yards in 1984. The 5,000-yard season at that time was a huge accomplishment, and Marino’s record stood for 27 years. But now there have been eight 5,000-yard seasons, and the number doesn’t seem as special. The current record belongs to Peyton Manning, who passed for 5,477 yards in 2013.

Brady may make 5,500 yards the new benchmark for great passing seasons.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 20:  Shane Vereen #34 of the New York Giants in action against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills need to get pressure on Andy Dalton in Week Six.

The Dolphins defensive line knows they’ve played below expectations.

“It’s just another game” was the party line for the Patriots when asked about facing the Colts.

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wants to get after the quarterback after wrapping up his suspension.

The Ravens aren’t thinking about changes to the coaching staff.

Giovani Bernard has given the Bengals a versatile running game.

Browns DT Danny Shelton has to keep his emotions in check.

Said LB Arthur Moats of the Steelers defense, “I feel like we’re starting to contribute more every week, getting better and making plays at big moments.”

T Duane Brown said any Texans turnaround has to start with the offensive line.

Can the Colts stop the run this weekend?

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was upset over his team’s loss to the Buccaneers, but major changes don’t seem to be coming.

After being conservative on offense all day, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt regrets being aggressive with his last play call.

The Broncos depth has helped them keep winning despite injuries.

Experience helps drive Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s decision-making process.

The Raiders plan to focus on their rushing attack during the bye week.

Being close to winning wasn’t enough for the Chargers on Monday night.

What will go into the Cowboys’ quarterback decision?

RB Shane Vereen has brought new wrinkles to the Giants offense.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly discussed the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he received in Sunday’s win.

A breakdown of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins’s overtime interception by Cousins.

Bears coach John Fox called “frustration” with WR Alshon Jeffery’s injury understandable.

Unhappiness with the Lions’ 0-5 start goes all the way to the top of the organization.

LT David Bakhtiari says he isn’t concerned about the Packers offense.

Rookie LB Eric Kendricks is moving into a bigger role with the Vikings.

Falcons CB Robert Alford bounced back from some early struggles against the Redskins.

The Panthers want to do more than just play the Seahawks close this time.

Saints QB Drew Brees is on pace to be sacked more than 50 times.

The Buccaneers aren’t happy with the play of the secondary.

West Virginia is the home base for the Cardinals this week.

The Rams released RB Trey Watts rather than add him to the 53-man roster after he served a four-game suspension.

There were some encouraging signs in the 49ers’ loss to the Giants.

Musings about whether the Seahawks’ time as a top dog has come to an end.

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Pete Carroll admits Michael Bennett “lost his mind a little bit” when attacking Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton, Michael Bennett AP

Sunday’s loss by the Seahawks to the Bengals included a moment in the first half when Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett went after Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton following a turnover, hitting him three times and drawing a flag.

“He just lost his mind a little bit and went after the quarterback too aggressively,” coach Pete. “I’ll tell you this, in the old days in interception returns that was kind of the style that you go after the quarterback and you tried to get a shot on him. That was like back in the sixties. Unfortunately, it was a real mistake.”

Yes, it was a real mistake. And Bennett is going to pay for it. And it won’t be in 1960s dollars.

Which means he’ll have less money to purchase a substance that would mellow him out a little — you know, a substance he’s banned from using but that he can legally purchase in Washington and that he can smoke without consequence as long as he’s not in the program and has already had his annual substance-abuse test.

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Report: Falcons “uncertain” about Julio Jones for Thursday

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 04: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons stiff arms Benardrick McKinney #55 of the Houston Texans after a reception in the first half at the Georgia Dome on October 4, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons filed an injury report after holding a walkthrough on Monday and they listed wide receiver Julio Jones as out because of hamstring and toe injuries.

Jones has been a regular on the injury report in recent weeks and dropped from being probable in Week Four to questionable for Week Five’s game against the Redskins. Jones played, but the quick turnaround to playing on Thursday could make this week more problematic.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Falcons are “uncertain” about whether Jones’s hamstring will be well enough for him to play when the team takes on the Saints. Jones said after Sunday’s game that he expected to play even though he won’t be 100 percent.

“I know you can’t play this game 100 percent,” Jones said, via “It’s very rare that you can be able to play this game at 100 percent. You can do one thing; you can’t do both: You can’t pray and then worry at the same time. I pray, and that’s it. And then I just go play. Whatever happens, happens.”

Tuesday will bring an actual practice for the Falcons and a chance to see if Jones will participate, although his importance to the team probably means a full session isn’t a prerequisite for being in the lineup in New Orleans.

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Philip Rivers: We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 12:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers reacts on the sidelines during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 12, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Getty Images

Losing a game the way the Chargers lost on Monday night is the kind of thing that can linger for a team.

The Steelers offense couldn’t do anything for much of the night, but the Chargers kept them in the game with turnovers, a missed field goal and their own inability to consistently move the ball on offense. Then their defense cracked in the fourth quarter on a long pass to Markus Wheaton and a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in Le’Veon Bell’s winning touchdown as time expired.

It’s a painful way to lose a game, but one that the Chargers were focused on moving past as quickly as possible after the game. Safety Jahleel Addae said they can’t let the Steelers beat them twice in reference to the shortened week that will take the Chargers into a game at Lambeau Field next Sunday and quarterback Philip Rivers echoed that sentiment.

“Every loss is tough,” Rivers said, via the team’s website. “This one came down to the last play … talk about being a game of inches, it was just that. If we made a few plays here or there, it may have been different. But it isn’t, and shoot, we’ve got no time to mope around and feel sorry for ourselves because the place we’re going next week, it’s going to be an even tougher challenge.”

Thanks to a slew of injuries, the date with the Packers would loom as a very tough one even if Bell had been ruled down short of the end zone. Bell wasn’t, however, and the Chargers will be trying to shake off the loss while trying to figure out a way to avoid dropping to 2-4 next weekend.

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Dan Campbell’s latest trick: Changing the seating chart

Dan Campbell AP

In his latest attempt to “change the culture” of the Dolphins, interim coach Dan Campbell has started with changing the seating chart.

Among the other changes the roaring new boss of the Dolphins has made, he shuffled the locker room over the bye week, putting players together by positional groups, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

“I went to my spot and Zach Vigil was in there,” tight end Jordan Cameron said. “I was like, ‘What is this guy doing?’”

It’s a bit of a corny trick designed to foster some intramural camaraderie, and when the next coach lets players intermingle again, it’ll be sold as “having the team come together as one.”

But Campbell’s down there running Oklahoma drills in practice and saying brash things, so let’s let him have fun with it while he has the chance.

Of course, a more fundamental change for the Dolphins would be not falling behind early, as they’ve been outscored 37-3 in first quarters, which has forced them to throw more than they want to play catch-up.

“Two things have to happen: Either we have to get off to a fast start early or if you do end up a little bit behind, you have to stop the bleeding somehow, whether it’s on offense or defense,” Campbell said. “We can’t continue to live in the world we’ve been living in. That’s the bottom line.”

And until they can build a new foundation, they can at least rearrange the furniture.

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Andrew Luck says he was able to practice “without limitations”

Andrew Luck AP

Whatever the Colts did in practice yesterday, quarterback Andrew Luck was a full participant in it, as far as you know.

And if you were looking for more clarity from Luck himself, it wasn’t there either.

It feels better every day,” Luck said after whatever he did, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “It was great to go through practice without limitations, in a sense, and get out there and throw. It was better.”

That “without limitations” part is probably the key if we’re parsing, which we’re kind of forced to do with coach Chuck Pagano has adopted a cloak-and-dagger approach to the topic, saying he’s had “supreme confidence” each of the last two weeks, while Luck has missed those games with a shoulder problem.

“It was good. It’s another step in the right direction,” Luck said of his work. “It’s always fun to get out and practice on a beautiful day and prepare for a great team coming to town.”

Oh, yes, the opponent. With the Patriots coming to town Sunday night, there’s naturally a little more interest, based on that whole thing that began with last year’s AFC Championship Game.

“Every game is important,” Luck said. “This certainly is a big game. It’s the next game. And it is a very, very good team that’s undefeated coming into town. There certainly is a history between us and them, but it’s also a new year.”

We now leave you to dig into those words for more clues, and track Josh Johnson’s plane, to see if it’s coming or going from Indianapolis today.

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Mike Tomlin on late call: “It was time to go to the mattresses”


Sometimes coaches rely on game film or great coaches of the past for inspiration.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, however, leaned on another classic film, quoting Sonny Corleone last night for his decision to aggressively play for the win.

Asked about his decision to run for the game-winning touchdown rather than kick a potential game-tying field goal on the road, Tomlin quoted a line from “The Godfather.”

It was time to go to the mattresses,” Tomlin said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Of course, it was also a pragmatic decision to hand the ball the Le’Veon Bell.

After all, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hurt and his kicking position a revolving door of mishaps this year, it’s reasonable for Tomlin to not trust either Michael Vick or Chris Boswell with the game on the line.

“We did what was required to win,” Tomlin said. “Guys just didn’t let go of the rope.”

The Steelers had a timeout in their pocket, but putting Bell in the Wildcat formation and letting him do it himself was still risky, but the kind of risk that players anticipated.

“I think we would have all been stunned if they sent the field goal team in,” tight end Heath Miller said.

Not as stunned as hearing Tomlin quote a movie that was released the year he was born, but stunned nonetheless.

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Report: Shareece Wright set to sign with Ravens

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 29:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #23 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against the defense of defensive back Shareece Wright #24 of the San Francisco 49ers during preseason action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 29, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the 49ers 19-12.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers obliged in releasing cornerback Shareece Wright on Saturday. Now they’ll get to see him lining up in another uniform this weekend.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Wright is going to sign with the Baltimore Ravens, who just happen to be playing the 49ers this Sunday.

Wright didn’t play in any of the first four games of the season for the 49ers and asked to be released by the team. That wish was granted on Friday and Wright began free agent visits with a stop in Indianapolis on Monday.

However, the Ravens apparently providing a more appealing option with an opening on the roster due to the loss of Will Davis for the year to a torn ACL.

Wright started 27 games for the San Diego Chargers over the last two seasons.

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NFL says it didn’t request suspension of Twitter accounts over copyright violations

Unknown Getty Images

Hours before the NFL found itself in the middle of a controversy regarding clock operation, the NFL found itself in the middle of a controversy regarding the operation of certain Twitter accounts.

The popular account for the website was suspended temporarily by Twitter based on complaints filed by the NFL under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The league contends that it did not request that any accounts be suspended.

“The NFL sent routine notices as part of its copyright enforcement program requesting that Twitter disable links to more than a dozen pirated NFL game videos and highlights that violate the NFL’s copyrights,” the league said in a statement forwarded to PFT and other media outlets. “We did not request that any Twitter account be suspended.”

The NFL also forwarded a copy of the notice sent to Twitter. It makes no mention of suspension of the offending accounts. Per the NFL, Twitter received similar notices from other sports leagues and conferences, including UFC and the Big 12.

Still, Twitter’s zeal may be related to its content and advertising deal with the NFL.

At the heart of the fight is whether copyright laws permit short video clips, known as GIFs, to be disseminated under the “fair use” concept. The NFL, which zealously protects its intellectual property rights (indeed, if those rights are actively enforced, they can at some point be forfeited), believes that the republication of any portion of game footage violates copyright laws.

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NFL not commenting on clock error near end of Steelers-Chargers game

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: The NFL shield is painted in gold and black after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets  at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The new color scheme is to commemorate this years' Super Bowl witch will be the 50th edition. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL avoided another Monday night mess, thanks to Pittsburgh’s ability to drive the length of the field and score a touchdown with 2:38 on the clock. But even though the outcome of the game wasn’t affected, a mess quickly has emerged.

The clock inexplicably ran for 18 seconds after a kickoff went out of the end zone, with 2:56 becoming 2:38 before the clock stopped running.

According to Kevin Seifert of (who is reporting on the issue at a time when ESPN, which broadcast the game, has still said nothing about it on the air), the NFL has declined comment on the issue.

Mike Pereira of FOX Sports, a former NFL V.P. of officiating, points out via Twitter that the league office hires local people to operate the clock during the regular season. Non-locals are used only during the playoffs.

The NFL surely can’t hide from this one for long. Too many people have noticed it, even as the network that broadcast the game continues to not mention it on the air.

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Steelers’ touchdown avoids another NFL officiating controversy

images Getty Images

If the knee of Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had struck the ground before the ball broke the front of the plane of the goal line, the NFL would have faced a second straight Monday night officiating controversy.

On a night when plenty of Steelers fans were in San Diego, the clock operator apparently wasn’t waving a Terrible Towel. The kickoff from the Chargers following a 54-yard field goal that put the home team up by three sailed out of the end zone with 2:56 to play. And when the play ended the clock inexplicably started to tick, with a total of 18 seconds bleeding off before stopping at 2:38.

That’s based on the clock shown at the bottom of the ESPN screen. At one point, Steelers quarterback Mike Vick is seen walking onto the field, and the game clock can be seen running in the background from 2:48 all the way to 2:38, at a time when the clock should not have been running.

No one noticed it at the time. Not the officials, not ESPN.

Well, not everyone at ESPN. Producer Jason Vida tweeted about it, calling it a loss of 24 seconds. The correct number seems to be 18.

Either way, it would have been a major mess for the NFL if the Steelers had failed to score on the final drive due to the clock running out. It should still be a mess for the league and ESPN, because someone should have noticed it and done something about it before the Steelers took their first snap after the kickoff.

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Le’Veon Bell last second TD run gives Steelers win over Chargers

at Qualcomm Stadium on October 12, 2015 in San Diego, California. Getty Images

Le’Veon Bell took a direct snap from center in a wildcat formation, leaped over a fallen defender and scored from 1-yard out on the final play of the game as the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed a 24-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.

After a 16-yard pass from Michael Vick to Heath Miller moved Pittsburgh to the Chargers 1-yard line with 5 seconds remaining, the Steelers elected to go for the game-winning touchdown instead of the tying field goal. The Steelers had one timeout left but wouldn’t have been able to stop the clock if Bell was stopped short.

Bell extended the ball over the goal line as time expired to give the Steelers the victory.

Antonio Gates caught two touchdowns in his first game back from suspension as the Chargers tried to hold onto the late lead. Josh Lambo’s 54-yard field goal gave the Chargers the 20-17 lead with just under three minutes left to play.

Vick led the Steelers on an 12-play, 80-yard drive to win the game. Vick completed a third down pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey to move the chains, scrambled for a 24-yard gain and then hit Miller to move to the Chargers’ 1-yard line. Due to a personal foul on San Diego, the clock stopped with five seconds to play and the Steelers didn’t have to use their final time out, which gave them the hope of running a play and then the potential game-tying field goal if necessary.

Instead, Bell’s run would have taken too long and the game would have ended had Bell not broken the plane of the end zone.

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Antwon Blake pick-six gives Steelers lead over Chargers

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 28:  Antwon Blake #41 of the Pittsburgh Steelers recovers a fumble during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on December 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Antwon Blake undercut a throw intended for Malcom Floyd and returned the interception 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 10-7 lead over the San Diego Chargers.

With Pittsburgh’s offense struggling to move the football, Blake’s interception provided a different way into the end zone.

The Steelers have been unable to drive inside the Chargers 25-yard line as both offense have struggled to find points.

Antonio Gates, in his first game back from suspension, has the only points for San Diego.

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Steve Spurrier retires, effective immediately

Steve Spurrier AP

Long-time college football coach Steve Spurrier, a former NFL quarterback who failed in two years as the head coach in Washington, has retired from coaching. Per multiple reports, the retirement is effective immediately.

Spurrier, once atop the perpetual “A” list with a sense that a jump to the NFL from the University of Florida was inevitable, accepted an offer to coach Washington in 2002. He generated a record of 12-20 through 2003, ruffling the feathers along the way of colleagues he chided regarding the workaholic culture of pro coaching.

“I saw a story saying [former Saints coach] Jim Haslett comes in at 4:30 every morning — that’s not doing him much good,” Spurrier said at the time.

Spurrier retires at a time when nothing is doing him much good at South Carolina, the school he has coached since leaving Washington. Some have suggested that, given the timing, Spurrier isn’t retiring but quitting. Unless there’s a health-related reason for the decision, that’s probably a fair assessment.

And it should be a lesson for every college football player. If coaches are going to quit during the season or, more commonly, bolt from the program for a better offer elsewhere, players should start putting their own interests first, too.

Whether that means sitting out for that third year after high school before become eligible for theNFL  draft or withdrawing from school after suffering a knee injury and focusing on rehab and preparation for the draft or simply walking away for the final games of a lost season, cognizant that participating in a handful of meaningless contests will do nothing to enhance the player’s draft stock and everything to jeopardize it, there’s nothing wrong with making that kind of decision — even if the coach and everyone else connected to the university will try to make the player think there is.

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Steelers lose safety Will Allen with ankle injury

Lance Kendricks, Will Allen AP

As the Steelers try to keep the Chargers from adding to their 7-0 lead, they’ll have to do it without their starting strong safety.

Will Allen suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of Monday night’s game in San Diego. The Steelers have announced that he’s out for the rest of the game.

The injury could give safety Shamarko Thomas a chance to get back in the coaching staff’s good graces. The presumed heir apparent to Troy Polamalu, Thomas has lost his starting job. A dumb penalty near the end of the quarter, hitting Chargers punt returner Jacoby Jones after a fair catch, could cause Thomas to lose his position on special-teams, too.

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Bobby Wagner, Jordan Hill injured Sunday for Seahawks

Bobby Wagner, Andy Dalton AP

Sunday’s blown lead in Cincinnati for the Seahawks included a couple of potentially significant injuries.

On Monday, coach Pete Carroll said that linebacker Bobby Wagner has a strained pec, and defensive tackle Jordan Hill has a strained quadricep muscle.

“It looks like Jordan might be [out] a couple weeks,” Carroll told reporters. “I don’t know about Bobby yet.”

The Seahawks host the 4-0 Panthers on Sunday, followed buy a short-week trip to Santa Clara to face the 49ers. Given that the Panthers have a habit of playing the Seahawks close (January’s 31-17 loss in Seattle wasn’t as lopsided as the score suggested), the Seahawks will need Wagner, who returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Bengals.

Hill has performed well this year, providing valuable depth when Brandon Mebane was injured.

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Antonio Gates is back, scoring his 100th touchdown

Antonio Gates AP

It didn’t take Chargers tight end Antonio Gates long to make an impact in his return from a PED suspension.

The Chargers threw three passes to Gates on their first offensive possession tonight against the Steelers, and Gates caught all three of them, the last one for a touchdown.

That touchdown was the 100th of Gates’s career, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famers Steve Largent and Tim Brown for seventh place on the all-time receiving touchdown list. Gates is 11 touchdowns away from No. 6 Tony Gonzalez, who is first among tight ends.

Some, like Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, would argue that Gates’s PED suspension tarnishes his legacy. But based purely on his on-field accomplishments, there’s no doubt that Gates has left a legacy as one of the finest tight ends ever to play the game.

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