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Report: Raiders doing “background work” on DeSean Jackson

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Fans in Oakland have made their desire to add wide receiver DeSean Jackson to the Raiders roster clear, but the team is reportedly still mulling how much of a push to make for the former Eagle.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the team is still doing “background work” on Jackson. Breer believes the team is aware of the possibility that bringing Jackson back to his home state and the area where he attended in college may result in “added risk” of things going poorly off the field.

General Manager Reggie McKenzie will surely weigh that risk against the risk that will come to his continued employment if the Raiders put up another lackluster season in 2014. He’s invested in several free agents to upgrade the roster from last year and Jackson would add a high-level offensive threat to that mix.

Of course, the Raiders may join the rest of the league in watching Jackson try on a Redskins uniform in the near future. Jackson is set to visit with the Redskins on Monday and the right offer from owner Dan Snyder could mean that the background work in Oakland amounts to nothing.

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Steelers players want to help pay Ramon Foster’s fine

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 6:  Markus Wheaton #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a second quarter touchdown with teammate Ramon Foster #73 during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on December 6, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers guard Ramon Foster wasn’t penalized for pulling Giants linebacker Kelvin Sheppard off of running back Le’Veon Bell in last Sunday’s victory, but he did hear from the league this week.

Members of the team told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that Foster has been fined $9,115 for his actions, which came after Sheppard appeared to grab and twist Bell’s facemask at the end of a play. Those teammates told Fowler that they’d like to chip in to help Foster pay the league and Bell said that he appreciates what the team’s linemen are willing to do for him.

“I’m glad I got my guys,” Bell said. “I call them my goons up front. They are down to ride with me whenever.”

It’s not clear if Bell will have Foster helping him against the Bills this weekend. Foster missed practice on Wednesday for what the team said were reasons not related to injury and was out Thursday with a chest injury given as the reason.

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Osemele’s illness struck Thursday morning

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders reacts after turning over the ball to the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter on October 16, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Chiefs won 26-10.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

In a game that didn’t feature all that many surprises, perhaps the biggest came 90 minutes before kickoff.

Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele, the man viewed by many as the catalyst for the resurgence of the team, appeared on the inactive list, with an illness. After the game, coach Jack Del Rio explained that Osemele was treated at a local hospital on Thursday morning.

By all appearances, no one was treated to the information that Osemele was ill. As learned a year ago when Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was a surprise scratch prior to a game against the Chiefs (coincidentally), the NFL requires any team who has a player with an injury or illness that could impact his ability to play after the filing of the final injury report to announce the injury or illness to the local media (including the Associated Press) and the network televising the game. The information also must be given to the other team’s P.R. director and the NFL.

The Raiders, as best PFT can tell, didn’t disclose that information to all required parties. The league likely will say it’s looking into the situation, and then we’ll likely never hear anything more about it — in large because the league in most cases (most, not all . . . #DeflateGate) doesn’t like to make it known to the world at large that there may be shenanigans when it comes to inside information that could be valuable to those who would use inside information in order to gain financial value via the primary industry of the Raiders’ potential new home.

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Hue Jackson: I want to know more about RG3

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Cleveland Browns warms up as head coach Hue Jackson looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns will give quarterback Robert Griffin III his second start of the season against the Bengals this Sunday, a point they would have liked to reach in the second week of the regular season.

A broken bone in Griffin’s left shoulder got in the way of that plan and left Griffin on injured reserve for the last 11 games. The Browns have lost all 11 of those games in addition to the one Griffin started in Week One, leaving them at the top of the draft with their pick and not too far behind with the one the Eagles traded them to move up for Carson Wentz this year.

Many suspect the Browns would like to land a player who can be their franchise quarterback with those selections, although coach Hue Jackson said on Thursday that he still believes Griffin, who is signed for 2017, has a chance be that player.

“The fact that we’re putting him out there says that,” Jackson said, via Cleveland.com. “I want to know more. I’ve only seen him really play for not even a full game. The more information, the more time I get an opportunity to evaluate him, the better it’s going to be. I will say it again, I am not expecting for everything to go perfect. It’s not. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on anybody. It’s his second game in a little over maybe two years so hopefully it’ll go right, but if it doesn’t that’s OK, too. We have to go get him to play and hopefully play well, but we all understand the situation that he’s in. I think he is up to the challenge.”

It seems unlikely that the Browns would put all their eggs in the Griffin basket based on what would be five games if he starts the rest of the the year, but there’s no reason for them not to explore every option available to them at this point in time.

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Raiders think they’ll get a third chance to beat the Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 8: Defensive end Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders reaches out to strip the ball from quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the third quarter of the game on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs swept the season series with the Raiders and took over first place in the AFC West with their win over the Raiders on Thursday night. But Oakland coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t think the two teams are done meeting.

“I feel pretty confident that both of our teams will end up in the playoffs,” Del Rio said. “There’s still three games to be played. How it ends up, we’ll see. Certainly they’ve got a leg up right now, they did enough to win the two games we’ve had with them this year, and for now that’s all there is to the story. They’ve earned that.”

Del Rio thinks the Raiders and Chiefs will meet a third time in January, and he’s still hoping to win one more game than the Chiefs over the final three weeks of the season, which would ensure a third meeting would take place in Oakland.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this team again. What we do and what they do the next three weeks will determine whether it’s at their place or ours, because they’re a half game up on us,” Del Rio said.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr echoed those comments.

“There’s obviously a chance to play again which would be awesome, but they’ve beaten us twice. They’ve had us,” Carr said.

Heading into last night’s game, the Raiders owned the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Now the Raiders would be a wild card team, playing the playoffs on the road. Having to travel to Kansas City again next month, and beating a team that has already beaten them twice, would be a tall order.

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Justin Tuck: Giants need someone who will “light a fire under people”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants reacts after he recorded a sack against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Giants won 21-17.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Giants make a push for their first postseason appearance since winning Super Bowl XLVI, a key member of a pair of championship teams in New York believes the Giants are lacking one key ingredient to winning their third NFL title in a decade.

“Just from being in that locker room before, I think one thing they’re truly missing is that guy or those guys that can light a fire under people,” Tuck told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “They’re talented. I know the players on that roster. It’s a super-talented group of guys. I don’t know, maybe they need a wake-up call? I don’t know if that’s the right word. It’s something off where I don’t feel like this team is headed in the right direction for this season.

“Normally when Giants teams are in contention, they tend to get better and more together as the season goes on,” Tuck explained. “Maybe a couple losses wouldn’t be a bad thing for them. I’m speculating. I don’t know this. I’m going from the perspective of being an outsider, but everybody gets all caught up with going into the playoffs with a hot record or high seed. I never wanted to be the top seed. I wanted to be the guy that was overlooked and playing hot at the time.”

Both times the Giants won the Super Bowl with Tuck on the team they were overlooked, running the table as the No. 5 seed in 2007 and the No. 4 seed four years later. In 2008, as the No. 1 team in the NFC, they had a one-and-done playoff experience, losing at home to the Eagles, 23-11.

It’s hard not to regard Tuck’s words as a shot at quarterback Eli Manning, a guy who never has been wired to be demonstrative or demanding like his older brother, Peyton.

“I hate to use the word ‘leader,’ because there are guys that lead in certain aspects on that football team, but every team [I was on] could point to a guy or couple guys . . .  and I don’t know if I see that right now,” Tuck said.

Tuck seems to hope that he’ll provide the spark, from outside the building.

“If I have to be the bad guy, so be it,” he said.

Currently, the Giants are on track to once again be forced to try to get to the Super Bowl the hard way. Even if they finish the sweep of the Cowboys on Sunday night, they’ll need to make up two games with three to play. Which means that they’ll be hitting the road in the wild-card round, heading to a place like, say, Tampa.

Of course, Tampa is where the 2007 Super Bowl run began, followed by trips to Dallas and then to Green Bay. It could play out that same way for the Giants in 2016 — possibly culminating in a third Super Bowl rendezvous with the Patriots.

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Dolphins Laremy Tunsil “hurting bad” with shoulder injury

FILE -  In this Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 file photo, Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil takes instructions on the sideline in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. With three starters hurt, the Miami Dolphins will likely have a patchwork offensive line when they try for their sixth consecutive win Sunday against the 49ers. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File) AP

Miami Dolphins rookie guard Laremy Tunsil is trying to stay on the field despite significant pain from a shoulder injury.

I mean, I’m hurting,” Tunsil said Thursday,via Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post. “I’m hurting bad, but you know I’m going to fight through it. I’m going to give it all I’ve got.

The injury forced Tunsil to miss the Dolphins game against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago. He returned to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and managed to play all 62 offensive snaps despite the injury.

“At the end of the day, I’m here to help the team any way I can,” Tunsil said. “We’re trying to win games. We’re trying to get to the playoff spot, so whatever I can do, I’m going to help.”

Tunsil has started 10 games for Miami this season.

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Derrick Johnson suffers ruptured Achilles tendon

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 08:  Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs is helped off the field after an injury during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid told reporters after Thursday night’s 21-13 win over the Raiders that Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and is done for the season.

It’s a sad deal,” Reid said.

Johnson, 34, has played his entire career with the Chiefs and will be missed on and off the field. A first-round pick in 2005, Johnson was named to the Pro Bowl last season for the fourth time and had started every game this season and last season.

Johnson suffered the injury in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game. He seemed to know immediately that something was wrong, tossing his helmet as he awaited attention from the team’s medical staff.

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Thursday Night Football recap: Chiefs get big plays from Hill, hang on late

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 8: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs breaks beyond the Oakland Raiders last line of defense en route to a punt return touchdown at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) Getty Images

Two touchdowns by dynamic rookie Tyreek Hill and a dominant defensive effort helped the Chiefs score a 21-13 win over the Raiders Thursday night.

Both teams are now 10-3, and since the Chiefs have swept the season series they have the inside track towards winning the AFC West and also a first-round playoff bye.

The Chiefs never allowed Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to get comfortable in cold conditions, and the Raiders mounted just two significant drives all night. They scored on the first one, late in the first half, but turned the ball over on downs with two minutes left in the game and didn’t get it back.

The Raiders got just three points out of two Chiefs turnovers early in the second half, and that was the story of the night. The Chiefs made the few big plays in the game — on both sides of the ball — while the Raiders kept coming up a play or a step short.

The Chiefs scored all their points in a span of 8:26 in the second quarter. Hill got the game’s first touchdown on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith early in the second quarter, then returned a punt 78 yards that made it 21-3.

Carr was 17-of-41 passing for 117 yards, and the Chiefs’ defense kept answering the call. The Raiders were 5-of-18 in trying to convert third downs, 1-of-3 on fourth down and finished with 244 total yards on 73 offensive plays.

The Raiders had a six-game win streak snapped and fell from No. 1 to No. 5 in the AFC projected playoff standings. The Chiefs won despite turning the ball over three times because of Hill’s big plays and their defense.

The Raiders got 15 yards or fewer on four of their six possessions in the second half. They got their only second-half points after moving only four yards early in the third quarter after a T.J. Carrie interception.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw for 202 yards in the first half and finished with 264. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had his fourth straight game over 100 receiving yards, and backup running back Charcandrick West ran for the Chiefs’ other touchdown.

The Raiders played without guard Kelechi Osemele, a late scratch due to illness, and outside of Latavius Murray running 22 times for 103 yards they never established much of anything offensively. With a little over nine minutes left Carr threw the ball deep on third down, and Amari Cooper was wide open. It wasn’t clear if Cooper lost the ball in the lights or just didn’t catch it after getting behind the defense.

It was that kind of night for the Raiders, and Hill’s big plays left them chasing, unsuccessfully, for the game’s last three quarters.

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Raiders’ defense holding up its end of the deal

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 8: Wide receiver Amari Cooper #89 of the Oakland Raiders is tackled on a reception attempt by strong safety Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders started the third quarter by forcing two turnovers, and they feel they should be closer than they are.

Two turnovers only led to three points, and the Chiefs lead midway through the third quarter, 21-13. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 33-yard field goal after a T.J. Carrie interception to start the second half.

Raiders All-World linebacker Khalil Mack had a strip-sack of Alex Smith on the next possession, but the Raiders couldn’t generate any offense off of it. On the second field goal try it appeared there was a bad snap. By the time Raiders punter Marquette King gathered it, he was forced to try to run and he ended up going nowhere.

The Chiefs led, 21-3, midway through the second quarter. The Raiders closed it to 21-10 late in the second quarter on a Latavius Murray touchdown run.

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More big plays from Tyreek Hill spark Chiefs to lead

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 8: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs catches a pass on his way to a touchdown in front of cornerback David Amerson #29 of the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders showed some life late in the first half, and it’s a good thing they did. Thursday night’s game was on the verge of getting really ugly.

The Chiefs dominated for much of the first half, and at halftime they hold a 21-10 lead. The Raiders trimmed the lead on a Latavius Murray touchdown run with 14 seconds left in the half.

A 36-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Tyreek Hill early in the second quarter gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead. After a quick stop the Chiefs drove again with big passes to Travis Kelce and Chris Conley to set up a Charcandrick West touchdown run and make it 14-3.

Hill had a 78-yard punt return to make it 21-3. It was the ninth touchdown the speedy rookie has posted this season.

Smith was over 200 yards passing a little over 20 minutes into the game. Midway through the second quarter the Raiders had 35 yards of offense, and three Chiefs receivers had more than 35 receiving yards.

At halftime, Smith has 202 passing yards vs. just 77 for his counterpart, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Hill has three catches for 53 yards in addition to his punt return.

Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson left in the second quarter with what the team announced as an Achilles injury. He won’t return.

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Chiefs dominating, hold 14-3 lead

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after returning a kickoff for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

A 36-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Tyreek Hill early in the second quarter gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead on the Raiders. After a quick stop the Chiefs drove again with big passes to Travis Kelce and Chris Conley to set up a Charcandrick West touchdown run and make it 14-3.

Smith is over 200 yards passing a little over 20 minutes into the game.

Hill’s touchdown capped a five-play, 70-yard touchdown drive for the Chiefs, who are dominating the yardage and time of possession. Hill has eight total touchdowns this season.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is off to a 3-of-9 start for 10 yards.

The 10-2 Raiders have won six straight. Dating back to last season, the 9-3 Chiefs have won eight straight AFC West games.

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Raiders get early turnover, big defensive stand

Khalil Mack, Sio Moore AP

It’s cold in Kansas City, and Thursday night’s Chiefs-Raiders game is off to a strange start.

After a puzzling challenge by the Chiefs and then an automatic turnover review two plays later, the Raiders kept the ball — the original call was a catch and fumble by Amari Cooper — and then got a 44-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski to take 3-0 lead.

The Chiefs came right back, getting a 39-yard pass to Chris Conley to move into Raiders’ territory, but then turned the ball over on downs following two rather lame and predictable runs right into the middle on third and fourth downs.

The Raiders went three and out to open the game, but Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill fumbled the ensuing punt and Raiders backup linebacker James Cowser recovered at the Chiefs’ 38-yard line.

Janikowski has not missed from under 45 yards this season.

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Kelechi Osemele won’t play due to illness

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele #70 of the Oakland Raiders blocks against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter on October 16, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Chiefs won 26-10.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele will not play Thursday night at Kansas City due to an illness.

Osemele, who’s in his first year with the Raiders after signing as a free agent last March, has been a key player for one of the league’s best offensive lines. He had been listed on the injury report as questionable due to a knee injury, not an illnes.

Osemele has not missed a game this season. Jon Feliciano, a second-year player, is listed as the No. 2 left guard on the Raiders’ unofficial depth chart, but the team is listing Vadal Alexander as the unofficial starter in his place.

The Raiders had previously ruled safety Karl Joseph, outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun and defensive tackle Stacy McGee as out due to injuries.

The Chiefs are healthy and have no injury-related inactives. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin returns, as expected, from a three-game absence.

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Jordan Reed thinks he can deal with the pain, play Sunday

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Tight end Jordan Reed #86 of the Washington Redskins reacts to a play against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at FedExField on January 10, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was again a limited practice participant Thursday, and after practice Reed told reporters he’s “optimistic” about his chances of playing Sunday at Philadelphia.

Reed suffered an AC joint separation in his left shoulder at Dallas on Thanksgiving. Though he returned and finished the game, he didn’t play last week.

Reed, who shares the team lead with 59 receptions, told reporters he’s feeling better and hopes he’ll get the go-ahead to play Sunday as the Redskins need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

It’s painful but something I can deal with,” Reed said.

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Rams have no comment on report of dysfunction

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams stands on the sidelines during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Thursday began with a bit of a bombshell from Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com regarding the extent of the dysfunction in the Rams organization. Recent comments from coach Jeff Fisher deemed critical of the team’s personnel function became the catalyst for anonymous quotes from an unnamed Rams source criticizing Fisher for an apparent effort to shift blame.

The Rams have no comment regarding the report, pointing out that Fisher likely would address the situation at his next press conference. It’s scheduled for Friday at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

Fisher, who faced repeated questions last week regarding Eric Dickerson’s relentless effort to get Fisher fired, surely will be pressed for his reaction to the news that someone in the organization criticized him without attaching a name to it.

“It pissed me off because I knew it was meant as a shot,” the unnamed Rams source told Breer regarding Fisher’s apparent attempt to shirk blame for the quality of the roster. “You see it under that umbrella — ‘We need to do a better job in personnel.’ OK, but you want everyone to think that you have full control. You can’t have it both ways, and it can’t always be the talent. Look at the roster, 2012 to now. In ’12, Jeff did a masterful job with what he was given. But we’ve gotten more talent, and we’ve gotten worse.”

There can be little doubt that Fisher wanted, and acquired, full control in 2012. After Fisher picked the Rams over the Dolphins, he told Michael Silver (then of Yahoo! Sports) that Fisher wanted to be able to run the show.

“At the end of the day I wanted the ability to have final say, with a General Manager I could build something with,” Fisher said.

So, basically, all roads lead back to Fisher, both as to coaching and as to personnel. If there’s a problem with coaching, it’s ultimately on him. If there’s a problem with personnel, it’s ultimately on him.

On Friday, it’ll be interesting to see how questions from reporters about these realities ultimately are answered.

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