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Cliff Avril out indefinitely with hamstring injury

Cliff Avril AP

Defensive end Cliff Avril’s first offseason with the Seahawks has seen him spend more time with the trainers than anyone in Seattle would have liked when they signed him as a free agent.

Avril dealt with an injured foot during the spring and he spent a fair chunk of training camp on the sideline with a hamstring injury. He’s now going to miss time after aggravating that hamstring injury during warmups before last week’s game against the Packers. How much time? Coach Pete Carroll said Monday during an interview with 710 ESPN that he isn’t sure.

“We don’t know when he’s going to get back,” Carroll said.

The Seahawks have a fair amount of depth on the defensive line, so they won’t be totally lost should Avril’s absence extend into the regular season. One player who might see his prospects for playing time improve with Avril out of the lineup is Benson Mayowa. Mayowa, an undrafted free agent, has been impressive this summer and may now have a chance to extend his run into the fall.

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Tony Romo keeps throwing picks, Panthers lead 20-3

Tony Romo

The Panthers aren’t having as much success offensively as they’re accustomed to.

They might not need to do much more.

Luke Kuechly just returned an interception for a touchdown, the second pick-six of Tony Romo on the day, giving the Panthers a 20-3 lead in the second quarter.

Coupled with Kurt Coleman’s touchdown and then another pick by Kuechly, the Panthers are rolling in the late stages of the second quarter.

The big mistakes from Romo have undermined an otherwise good day by his defense, which has kept Cam Newton frustrated, forcing him to settle for a pair of field goals. But with the job the Panthers are doing on Romo (Dez Bryant still doesn’t have a catch), Newton will eventually end up smiling.

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Colts claim RB Boom Herron

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Getty Images

The Colts claimed running back Boom Herron on Thursday, bringing back the player who emerged as their top running back in last year’s playoffs.

Herron was waived-injured by the Colts after he was injured in the final preseason game, then released with an injury settlement. He signed with the Bills and played four games before being waived Wednesday.

Running back Zurlon Tipton was waived to make room for Herron on the roster.

A sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2012, Herron played five games for the Colts in 2013 after being signed off of the Bengals’ practice squad. He played in all 16 games and made three starts for the Colts last season. He ran well down the stretch, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and ran 45 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ three playoff games.

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Report: Patriots placing Dobson on IR

Aaron Dobson AP

An ankle injury has ended the season for Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported Thursday that the team will place Dobson on injured reserve and replace him on the roster with safety Dewey McDonald.

Dobson suffered what was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain during last Monday’s win over the Bills. The Patriots are low on receivers with Julian Edelman out for an extended period, Danny Amendola dealing with a knee injury and Keshawn Martin dealing with a hamstring injury, so the loss of Dobson is significant even though he was not a starter.

The injury situation forced the Patriots to work out three wide receivers on Wednesday.

The Patriots claimed McDonald from the Colts earlier in the season. He’s been on and off the roster since then and is primarily a special teams player.

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Panthers start things off with a quick pick-six

Kurt Coleman AP

It’s hard to imagine not being able to see a Panthers player in these eye-popping blue uniforms they’re wearing today.

And yet, Tony Romo just did.

The Panthers took a quick 7-0 lead in Dallas, with Kurt Coleman picking off Romo and returning it for a touchdown.

The interception was Coleman’s fifth of the year for the Panthers, as he’s proven to be an excellent free agent pickup for a defense that continues to create turnovers.

They followed by forcing a quick three-and-out, establishing an early tone.

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Washington loses Chris Culliver to torn ACL in practice

Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Getty Images

It’s getting harder for Washington to be thankful today.

According to John Keim of, Washington cornerback Chris Culliver is out for the season, after suffering a torn ACL in practice today.

Culliver joined the team in free agency in March, but hadn’t exactly lived up to his four-year, $32 million contract. He was also suspended a game earlier this season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Washington is reasonably deep at the position, considering they’ve been working veteran DeAngelo Hall at safety. But with Culliver’s injury coming so late in the season, there will be some reasonable concern as to whether he’ll be ready for next year’s opener.

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Lions dominate as Eagles quit on Chip Kelly

Calvin Johnson AP

After the Eagles’ debacle last week against the Buccaneers, there was talk that their Thanksgiving game against the Lions would be a referendum on Chip Kelly.

The verdict is in: The Eagles have quit on their coach.

In an epic 45-14 beatdown in Detroit, Kelly’s team was embarrassed before a national audience, falling behind the Lions in the second quarter and never putting up much of a fight after that.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez will get a lot of the criticism, but there’s plenty of criticism to go around. His offensive line didn’t help him, his receivers didn’t help him and running back DeMarco Murray continues to look totally out of place in Kelly’s offense.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had by far his best game of the season, as did receiver Calvin Johnson. Stafford threw five touchdown passes, three of them to Megatron, marking the second week in a row that the Eagles’ defense allowed the opposing quarterback to throw five touchdown passes.

Jim Caldwell has his Lions playing good football despite an ugly 1-7 start. They’re now 4-7 and showing that they’re going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

But the Eagles look beaten. They’re now 4-7 as well, and with a tough remaining schedule (New England, Buffalo, Arizona, Washington and the New York Giants) they could easily finish 4-12. Which would likely result in Kelly getting fired.

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The rout is on in Detroit

Eric Ebron, Walter Thurmond AP

It’s getting ugly in Detroit.

The Lions are putting a Thanksgiving Day beatdown on the Eagles, with three Calvin Johnson touchdowns leading the way on offense and three Ziggy Ansah sacks leading the way on defense.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has been battered and beaten, but it’s far from only his fault. The Lions’ defensive line is getting the better of the Eagles’ offensive line, and Philadelphia’s receivers aren’t getting much separation downfield.

Meanwhile, the injury-plagued secondary of Philadelphia simply can’t do anything about Johnson. This game is almost unfair.

Chip Kelly is having a very bad Thanksgiving. And he’s still got a quarter to play.

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Eagles lose Nolan Carroll with broken ankle

Nolan Carroll AP

A bad season just got a lot worse for the Eagles.

Starting cornerback Nolan Carroll has a broken ankle, the team announced. Carroll suffered in the injury in the first half of Thursday’s game at Detroit.

Carroll, 28, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before joining the Eagles in 2014. He became a full-time starter in Philly this year, which given his contractual status could be his last with the Eagles.

Carroll has been replaced by rookie second-rounder Eric Rowe, who possibly will become the replacement for the rest of 2015 and beyond.

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It feels like now or never for Chip Kelly in Philly

Chip Kelly AP

Four days after being blown out, 45-17, by a team that won two games in all of 2014, the Eagles are down 24-7 through 30 minutes of a game against a team that had won one game in the first half of 2015.

And with Philly and coach Chip Kelly on track to lose a third game in a row, questions will get louder and more persistent about his future. While USC indeed remains a possibility, the primary NFL option is the one that first became obvious after Kelly couldn’t strike a deal to land former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft.

The Titans already have fired their head coach, and interim coach Mike Mularkey hasn’t done enough to merit serious consideration for the permanent gig. If Tennessee ownership has interest in Kelly (and if they know what they’re doing, they should), a reunion makes plenty of sense.

It wouldn’t be nearly as complicated as some have suggested. As PFT previously has explained, the Titans simply need to call the Eagles and ask whether it’s possible to work out a deal that would allow the Titans to hire Kelly, if he’s interested in making the leap. With each additional loss, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie presumably will become more willing to let Kelly go in exchange for reasonable compensation — especially if Lurie already is thinking about making a change.

Of course, Kelly also would have to want to make the change. If Kelly does, maybe he simply would try to force his way out, which would allow him to go straight to Nashville without the Titans giving up draft picks that otherwise would help Kelly put talent around Mariota.

While it’s a point of pride (supposedly) for a coach to be traded for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million in cash like the Bucs did for Jon Gruden nearly 14 years ago, those selections would have helped Gruden put a team on the field that may have allowed him to do better than 60-57 in Tampa.

Ultimately, this one comes down to: (1) whether the Titans want Kelly; and (2) whether Kelly wants the Titans. The Eagles likely wouldn’t force Kelly to stay for another year, especially if what has become a disastrous third season continues.

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Lions take big lead into halftime on Megatron TD

Mark Sanchez, Ezekiel Ansah AP

Matthew Stafford is dealing, and Mark Sanchez is struggling.

Stafford hit Calvin Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining in the second half to give the Lions a 24-7 lead heading into halftime, and it’s been pitch-and-catch for the Lions’ offense.

The Eagles’ offense had one good drive that ended with a Sanchez touchdown pass to Brent Celek, but for the most part it’s been an ugly half of offense. Chip Kelly needs to figure something out at halftime.

Detroit fans cheered as their team went to the locker room. You can bet Philly fans are grumbling over their Thanksgiving dinners.

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Eagles score after Lions lose Glover Quin to leg injury

Glover Quin AP

The Eagles’ offense is starting to get moving, and the Lions’ defense has lost a key player.

Lions safety Glover Quin suffered a leg injury late in the first quarter and hasn’t returned to the game. He appeared to be in pain, and frustrated that he couldn’t run on the sideline. Quin went to the locker room and the Lions said he was questionable to return with an ankle injury.

The Eagles, taking advantage of a depleted secondary, took the lead with a two-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to Brent Celek. That tied the score at 7-7.

Philadelphia also suffered a loss in the secondary, as starting right cornerback Nolan Carroll went down in the second quarter. Carroll was carted off the field, wearing the look of a player who knows he had just suffered a significant injury.

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Lions take early lead on Theo Riddick touchdown

Theo Riddick AP

Heading into this week, Detroit’s Theo Riddick was the leading receiver among all NFL running backs. He’s getting more work done today.

Riddick has two catches for 31 yards in the first quarter against the Eagles, and his second catch was a touchdown to give the Lions an early 7-0 lead.

After an ugly first drive that went backward, the Lions’ offense settled down and got contributions from Riddick, Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah on the second drive. Matthew Stafford also threw a beautiful pass to Brandon Pettigrew that could have gone for a touchdown, but Pettigrew dropped it.

Now the Mark Sanchez-led Eagles’ offense will have to answer.

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Eagles left tackle Jason Peters suffers leg injury

jasonpeters Getty Images

Eagles left tackle Jason Peters has had more than his share of injury problems, and now he has another.

Peters suffered an apparent leg injury on the first drive of the game when Lions defensive end Jason Jones rolled up on him from behind. Peters was able to get up and walk off under his own power. The Eagles said he was questionable to return.

The Eagles’ offense moved the ball well on its first drive, but a facemasking penalty on Lane Johnson, who moved to left tackle to take Peters’s place, pushed Philly back and Caleb Sturgis missed a 50-yard field goal.

The Lions’ offense could do nothing with its good field position after that, and there was an exchange of punts. Not much action so far on Thanksgiving.

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Report: Manziel lied to Browns about recent photos

Johnny Manziel AP

As if Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel hadn’t already given the team more than enough reasons to never trust him again, here’s another. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Manziel lied to the Browns about the circumstances surrounding the photos that surfaced following his bye-week excursion to Texas.

Per Glazer, Manziel not only told the team that the photos weren’t taken over the weekend but also recruited others to vouch for the falsehood.

The news underscores the fact that Manziel simply isn’t ready to be a full-time NFL starter, and perhaps never will be. Apart from the medical condition that resulted in a 10-week stay in rehab, Manziel has shown a troubling lack of maturity and self-awareness.

After getting the starting job for the rest of the season, with a chance to parlay that six-game audition into the full-time gig for 2016 and perhaps beyond, Manziel didn’t dedicate himself to doing everything he could to becoming the best quarterback he could be. (Manziel should read Peter King’s article on Carson Palmer’s approach to absorbing a game plan for an example of the level of commitment required.) Instead, Manziel opted to take a break, going to a place where he knew alcohol would be unavoidable, putting himself in position to be photographed partying, and then concocting a flimsy fabrication to cover it all up.

So, basically, Manziel squandered in one weekend whatever trust he had rebuilt with the team following his disastrous rookie season. Coach Mike Pettine would be foolish to trust Manziel a third time, and at this point the only reason to keep Manziel around is to eventually try to unload him onto Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for a draft pick or two.

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Bucs receive notice of Kwon Alexander suspension, subject to appeal

Kwon Alexander AP

It’s official, sort of.

The Buccaneers have received notice that linebacker Kwon Alexander has been suspended for four game for violating the league’s PED policy, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. The suspension is subject to appeal, and Alexander has five days to file the paperwork challenging the outcome.

Stroud reports that Alexander will play Sunday in Indianapolis. The rookie likewise will be permitted to keep playing until his appeal is resolved.

Alexander has acknowledged the positive test; he has blamed it on an energy drink he has been using since high school.

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