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Plaxico Burress: I want to come back and play

Plaxico Burress AP

When you scroll down the list of wide receivers set to become free agents next week, one that might jump out at you is Plaxico Burress.

It’s not because Burress is someone you’d expect to have a major impact on an offense during the 2014 season nearly as much as it is because you might have forgotten that Burress was still an active NFL player. He signed with the Steelers late in 2012, but didn’t play at all in 2013 after having rotator cuff surgery before the season.

Burress said it was “tough” watching the Steelers, especially because he felt he could be a boost to the team in the red zone. Burress, who turns 37 this summer, would like to get that chance this season instead.

“I am going to treat it as I am coming back to play. I am going to keep that mindset until they tell me otherwise. I am going to keep going until I can’t go anymore. The stronger I can get, I can come back and play. I want to come back and play,” Burress said, via the team’s website. “Nobody wants to leave via injury. I am too much of a competitor to go out on that note. I am going to attack it and compete. I am going to train and rehab that way. I am approaching it with a business mind. I want to help the Steelers get to the ultimate goal, and that is winning a championship. That is why we work so hard when nobody is watching.”

Burress is working on the range of motion in the shoulder and said he still has a way to go in the rehab process. Once he’s gone further down that road, he’ll probably get a look or two to see if there’s still something in the tank.

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Texans place J.J. Watt on injured reserve

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans looks on before playing against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

J.J. Watt is done for at least half the season.

The Texans announced today that Watt, their superstar defensive lineman, has been placed on injured reserve. Under NFL rules, the Texans could either put him back on the active roster in eight weeks or shut him down for the entire season.

Watt had offseason back surgery and injured his back again on Thursday against the Patriots. The Texans have not said how severe his latest injury is, but the fact that he’s on injured reserve indicates that it’s serious.

The three-time winner of the NFL’s defensive player of the year award, Watt has never missed a game in his NFL career, but will miss his first game on Sunday.

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Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright bide their time

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12:  Laquon Treadwell #11 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the football upfield during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Vikings defeated Bengals 17-16.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

Receiver Laquon Treadwell, a first-round pick of the Vikings, hasn’t played very much as a rookie. Veteran Jarius Wright, the former No. 1 slot receiver, isn’t playing very much in his fifth NFL season. Both hope things will change.

“It’s just motivation to keep working harder, to keep getting better,” Treadwell said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’m taking it a day at a time and continuing to learn. I’m still waiting for my time, that’s the biggest thing. Guys put in their time, and the coaches have a feel for what they can do to help the team. I think that relationship will grow.”

Treadwell was active in Week One at Tennessee, but he didn’t play. In Week Two, Treadwell dressed against the Packers, and he made it onto the field for two plays. In Week Three, Treadwell was a healthy scratch.

Coach Mike Zimmer compared Treadwell’s situation to the delayed emergence of Stephon Diggs as a rookie in 2015. Like Treadwell, Diggs appeared in only two plays in his first three games as a rookie.

Zimmer explained that Treadwell needs to work on running pass routes, and that he’s thinking too much when he does.

Wright has been relegated to a single snap through three games, thanks in part to the team’s decision to go with five receivers instead of six.

“My mindset, I’m not going to change who I am just because of the situation,” Wright said, via Tomasson. “I’m going to be Jarius Wright, continue to lead the receivers whether it’s on the field or off the field. I’m a team player first.”

Adam Thielen is the player the team has been using in the slot. Wright’s status sparked speculation that he could be traded or cut before the season began. It likely will take an injury to Thielen or another receiver to get Wright back on the field in Minnesota.

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Chargers sign Korey Toomer to fill Manti Te’o’s roster spot

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Linebacker Korey Toomer #54 of the Oakland Raiders warms up before a game on December 20, 2015 at Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Packers won 30-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers have had to sign far too many injury replacements this year, and they found their latest one inside the division.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers have signed linebacker Korey Toomer, formerly of the Raiders practice squad.

He’ll fill the roster spot vacated when Manti Te’o suffered a torn Achilles last week, making him the latest high-end talent the Chargers have lost this year after Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, among others.

Toomer was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012, and has also played for the Cowboys and Rams. He has appeared in 18 career games, 10 last year with the Raiders.

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Patriots won’t make Garoppolo or Brissett available to the media on Wednesday

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11: Jacoby Brissett #7 of the New England Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 look on during pre game drills before a pre season game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

For teams that play on Sunday, the starting quarterback usually is made available to the media on Wednesday. But there’s nothing usual this week about the starting quarterback position in New England.

Via Mike Giardi of CSN New England, the Patriots will make neither Jimmy Garoppolo nor Jacoby Brissett available to reporters on Wednesday.

Both are injured. Garoppolo suffered an AC joint sprain in his shoulder 10 days ago, against the Dolphins. Six days ago, Brissett sustained a thumb injury against the Texans.

As explained on Sunday’s edition of Football Night in America, the team remains focused on getting them healthy enough to play on Sunday. Adding another quarterback was regarded as a “last resort”; three days later, with no quarterback added, either the Patriots believe one or both will be ready to go — or the Patriots will be getting receiver Julian Edelman ready to go.

Edelman has intimate knowledge of the offense. The team would rather use him than a stranger to the system who would be given a crash course on a limited collection of plays.

Regardless, the Patriots won’t be participating in a Wednesday ritual that could shed light on who will be taking the snaps in the last game before Tom Brady’s suspension ends.

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Brandon Marshall on Seferian-Jenkins: Fresh starts can be good

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 23:  Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a catch during the NFL game against the Chicago Bears on November 23, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 21-13. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets claimed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins off of waivers from the Buccaneers this week, offering him a chance to continue his career after the 2014 second-round pick’s run in Tampa came to an end after a DUI last Friday.

Seferian-Jenkins isn’t the first player to see his career get sidetracked by off-field decisions. His new teammate Brandon Marshall had an DUI arrest while he was with the Broncos in 2007 and had other off-field issues earlier in his career. Those experiences led him to reach out to Seferian-Jenkins, who also had a DUI in college, even before the tight end joined the Jets.

“I’ve been talking to Austin for a week now, even before this even happened,” Marshall said, via Newsday. “When I saw what he was going through I reached out to him. We’ve been talking for a while. He is a great talent. When I heard yesterday we claimed him I was like ‘This is God sent. If he needs me, I am there. I’ve already connected him with the right people in the city if he needs them. Guys need second chances. When you make a mistake, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You need people to believe in you, and sometimes a fresh start is a good start.”

Marshall has had several fresh starts in the NFL, largely because he has produced everywhere he’s played while eventually turning his off-field time toward mental health causes. Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t been on the field enough to produce in his first two seasons and that will need to change as well if he’s going to remain in the league long enough to be a turnaround story.

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Perfect day earns Dustin Hopkins player of the week award

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:   Dustin Hopkins #3 of the Washington Redskins kicks the game winning field goal against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants 29-27.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins went 5-for-5 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points in Sunday’s win over the Giants, and he’s been recognized for it.

Hopkins was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week today.

It’s the first player of the week award for Hopkins, who tied a franchise record with his five field goals.

Hopkins is 11-for-11 on field goals on the season and has made 15 field goals in a row dating back to last season.

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Spygate, Favre are two of Mangini’s Jets regrets

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Eric Mangini, head coach of the Cleveland Browns stands over injured Browns player David Bowens #86 during a timeout against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ten years ago, Eric Mangini arrived in New York as coach of the Jets and spiced up the rivalry between his new employer and his former one, the Patriots.

The rivalry reached new heights in Mangini’s second season on the job, when Week One of the 2007 season sparked Spygate.

In a nutshell, Mangini knew that Patriots coach Bill Belichick recorded defensive coaching signals in violation of league rules, and Mangini wanted Belichick to not do it when playing the Jets. That morphed into the Jets catching the Patriots in the act, and the Jets reporting the situation to the league office.

Spygate is a big regret,” Mangini tells Brian Costello of the New York Post. “It wasn’t supposed to go down the way it went down. . . . There was no great value in what they were doing. It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to me personally. It wasn’t worth it to the relationship.”

It’s been long believed that Mangini didn’t want to blow the whistle on the Patriots, but that others in the organization (presumably, G.M. Mike Tannenbaum) pulled the pin on the Spygate grenade.

“I cared about [Belichick],” Mangini said. “I didn’t want to hurt him. I didn’t want to hurt the Patriots. They were a huge part of my life, too, and the Kraft family. The Krafts were always great to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking I really want to get these guys. My thought was I don’t want to put my team at a competitive disadvantage, no matter how small.”

The following year, Mangini was put at a competitive disadvantage via the arrival of Brett Favre at quarterback. Mangini didn’t want to add the veteran, who had retired in February and then unretired for a Packers team that didn’t want him.

“We weren’t going to be a team that was going to be built on one guy,” Mangini said. “We were a team. I preached that and I preached that. When we had the opportunity to bring Brett in, it didn’t fit with the vision, the idea of bringing someone in who was really bigger than the team.”

Mangini eventually agreed to do it because he was told by owner Woody Johnson that it was a one-year experiment.

“I was told no matter what happens if we bring in Brett Favre, you’re absolutely safe,” Mangini said. “I probably should have gotten that in writing.”

Mangini was fired after the failed one-year experiment with Brett Favre.

The former Jets coach landed quickly in Cleveland, where he spent a couple of seasons before working for ESPN and then serving in various roles with the 49ers. He told Costello that Mangini hopes to coach again, or maybe to work in a front office.

Still only 45, Mangini surely has plenty of football left in him. The only question is whether and when someone else will give him another chance to show what he can do.

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Bills sign Michael Ola off of Giants practice squad

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 21:  Joique Bell #35 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a touchdown with Michael Ola #74 during the fourth quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills opened a roster spot on Tuesday by parting ways with kicker Jordan Gay and they filled it on Wednesday.

The team announced that they have signed tackle Michael Ola off of the Giants practice squad. Ola had joined the Giants last week.

Ola knows Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer from their days in Chicago. Ola started 12 games as a tackle and guard for the Bears in 2014 when Kromer was the offensive coordinator. He was released at the cut to 53 players last year and moved on to start seven games for the Lions.

His arrival comes at a time when the Bills are still waiting for left tackle Cordy Glenn to return from an ankle injury and for tackle Seantrel Henderson to wrap up his four-game suspension.

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Ryan Allen boots way to AFC special teams player of the week

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Punter Ryan Allen #6 of the New England Patriots punts the ball to the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. New England won 23-21.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

During the Patriots’ 27-0 win at home against the Texans last Thursday night, the Texans didn’t make it across midfield until the third quarter was almost up.

The Patriots defense deserves a lot of credit for that, but their effort got a big boost from the work of punter Ryan Allen. Allen put six of his seven punts inside the 20-yard-line over the course of the game and posted a net average of 47.6 yards per kick for the night.

That made him the choice for AFC special teams player of the week and part of an effort that got praised by coach Bill Belichick after the game.

“Tremendous, tremendous. Field position was phenomenal,” Belichick said. “It seemed like they had to go 90 yards every time they had the ball.”

Allen’s gross average was also 47.6 yards, so there’s some credit that has to go to the punt coverage team as a whole for consistently pinning the Texans deep in their own end.

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Everson Griffen wins NFC defensive player of the week award

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:  Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings sacks  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had a great game on Sunday in Charlotte, despite battling an illness.

With three sacks, three tackles for loss, and a whopping nine quarterback hurries against the Panthers, Griffen won the NFC defensive player of the week award.

The Vikings have had a player of the week each week in 2016; linebacker Eric Kendricks won the defensive prize in Week One, and receiver Stefon Diggs earned the offensive equivalent in Week Two.

The regular-season player-of-the-week streak stands at five. Griffen was defensive player of the week in Week 17 of 2015, and kicker Blair Walsh was the special-teams player of the week in Week 16.

Griffen still wasn’t satisfied with his three-sack day.

“The last play of the game when Cam threw the interception [Everson] had his fourth sack and that’s all he talked about the rest of the day is how he missed his fourth sack of the game but that’s just the kind of player that Ev is,” tight end Kyle Rudolph told PFT Live on Monday.

More sacks are surely coming from Griffen, and a four-sack game seems to be lurking.

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Marcus Peters grabs AFC defensive player of the week after grabbing two picks

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs  intercepts his second pass of the game against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium during the fourth quarter of the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL doesn’t dole out weekly proclamations about the worst performances around the league, which means there won’t be a formal honor for Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after he threw six interceptions in last Sunday’s 24-3 loss to the Chiefs.

Fitzpatrick’s willingness to throw the ball to the opposition did bring an award to one member of the Kansas City defense, however. Cornerback Marcus Peters has been named the AFC defensive player of the week.

Peters intercepted Fitzpatrick twice during the proceedings. His first came in the first quarter on a pass intended for Jalin Marshall on a third down and set up the opening score of the game for the Chiefs. The second came in the fourth quarter when Peters reeled in a pass into the end zone. The game still within reach for the Jets at that point, but Fitzpatrick would go on to throw his final three interceptions to ensure it would not stay that way.

Peters also had two interceptions against the Texans in Week Two, putting him halfway to his league-leading total from last season after three games.

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Trevor Siemian named AFC offense player of the week

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) shakes hands with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Broncos won 29-17. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

The Broncos began the season simply asking quarterback Trevor Siemian to not make a mess of things so their defense could win games.

Now, he’s becoming an active participant in the winning.

Siemian was named AFC offensive player of the week after his four-touchdown day helped the Broncos to a win over the Bengals to stay undefeated.

Siemian was 23-of-35 passing for 312 yards, and is showing an increasing ability to move the ball downfield.

Against the Panthers in the opener (which also marked his first NFL start and pass attempt), the Broncos kept things relatively safe for him. But as the weeks have passed, his yards per attempt have gone up (6.85 against the Panthers, 8.06 against the Colts, 8.91 against the Bengals), an indication they’re beginning to trust him more and more.

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Carson Wentz named NFC offensive player of the week

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles smiles after their 34-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Eagles haven’t been shy about comparing Carson Wentz to some of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL after a short time in the league, which may be hyperbolic but Wentz has certainly been playing well.

He led the team to an emphatic 34-3 victory over the Steelers in Week Three to move the Eagles to 3-0 as they head into their bye week. Wentz was 23-of-31 for 301 yards and two touchdowns in the win and ran his streak of throws without an interception to start a career to 102 before the day was over.

That was enough to make him the choice for NFC offensive player of the week honors for the third week of the regular season. He’s also made a strong case to be the offensive rookie of the month for September, although Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is also likely to get some support for that prize.

Whether Wentz wins that or not, the Eagles are thrilled with their choice and Wentz looks like he’ll be running the offense in Philadelphia long enough to have plenty of other chances to win awards.

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Kaepernick now admits, “My weight isn’t where it was”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick warms up for the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) AP

Colin Kaepernick is obviously skinnier now than he was during his best years as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, but in August he claimed he hadn’t lost weight. Now he admits he has, and admits he needs to get bigger and stronger.

“I think it’s the fact that my weight isn’t where it was,” Kaepernick said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “My strength is still growing, developing. But, once again, I’m always going to be prepared. Always ready to put it on the line for this team.”

Kaepernick said his plan is to “Eat food. And a lot of it.” He did not say what kind of food, but he has said in the past that he became a vegan during the 2015 season. Because vegan diets tend to be low in protein, it can be hard to maintain the kind of muscle mass an NFL player needs while staying strictly vegan. (Former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez briefly went vegan during his playing career but then went back to eating meat because of the loss of muscle mass.)

Although Kaepernick believes he’s ready to play as soon as he’s called upon, 49ers coach Chip Kelly — who obsessively monitors his players’ physical preparedness — has said Kaepernick still needs to add muscle mass to be as effective as he once was. Until Kelly sees Kaepernick do that, Blaine Gabbert will remain the 49ers’ starter.

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Ronnie Lott “optimistic” about chances to keep Raiders in Oakland

Ronnie Lott, Rich Gannon, Bruce Murray AP

Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott continues to talk to Oakland government and Raiders officials about a way to keep the team where it is, and said he was “optimistic” about the chances.

Lott told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that he and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete are still talking to Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and Raiders owner Mark Davis about how best to do that, as pressure mounts from a Las Vegas bid.

“I have a lot of respect for Mark,” Lott said. “We have a great relationship. I think the city and county will find a way to get this done, and Mark and the Raiders can continue to be an important part of this community.”

Lott’s investment group has a contract that gives them 90 days to work out a deal for the Coliseum, which expires at the end of November. Lott said his lawyers wouldn’t allow him to reveal the specifics of their financing plan for a stadium. Oakland officials have been adamant about not pouring taxpayer money into a new building, though they have offered $90 million in infrastructure improvements to the area.

Contrary to previous reports, Lott apparently is not part of the group that made a $167 million bid for the Coliseum site recently, which the city rejected.

For Lott, who played for both the Raiders and the 49ers, the deal is personal after watching one of his former teams move to Santa Clara.

“People in San Francisco miss Candlestick [Park] and having the 49ers,” Lott said. “It’s affected a lot of people, and that’s before you even bring the economics into it.

“And look at the good a new stadium can do. The [baseball] Giants’ new ballpark created a demographic change to that area that was for the better. And that could happen to Oakland and the area around the stadium. . . . Oakland losing the Raiders again would be very, very, very tough. You lose all the economic impact that comes with it, and it would impact the whole community, even kids growing up who lose the chance to go watch a game.”

Tourism officials in Nevada have already recommended $750 million in public money be used toward a stadium for the Raiders in Las Vegas, though that would obviously have to be approved by the state legislature.

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