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Moreno may need knee surgery

Moreno AP

That “medical issue” with which Dolphins running back Knowshown Moreno reportedly is dealing presents nothing exotic or unusual.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Moreno has an issue with his knee.

The other knee.  Not the one in which he suffered a torn ACL in 2011.

The source says Moreno may need arthroscopic surgery on the knee, but that it’s nothing significant at this point.

If Moreno, who found a way to play through a cocktail of injuries in 2013, needs to have arthroscopic surgery on the knee, he’d likely be ready to go in time for training camp.

Moreno reportedly has struggled in his first offseason with the Dolphins, putting him behind Lamar Miller at least for now.

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DeAngelo Williams won’t play this week with high ankle sprain

Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams AP

The Panthers’ weekly game of Wheel of Running Backs won’t include DeAngelo Williams this week.

According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, Williams has a high ankle sprain, and has been ruled out of this week’s game against the Bears.

Williams is in a cast at the moment, which will be removed Friday. But the fact they’re willing to say now that he’s not playing should be a clear indication that it was never close for this week.

Jonathan Stewart did return to practice today, though it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play with a knee injury. Even fullback Richie Brockel and running back Fozzy Whittaker are still out of practice, leaving the cupboard bare.

They signed Chris Ogbonnaya as an emergency backup, to go with practice squad promotion Darrin Reaves.

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Carson Palmer misses practice to see shoulder specialist

Carson Palmer, Bruce Arians AP

The optimism that Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer expressed about his ability to play against the Broncos in Week Five appears to be evaporating by the day.

Earlier this week, coach Bruce Arians said that Wednesday would be a big day for Palmer to show that the nerve issue in his right shoulder has healed enough for him to return to the lineup after missing the last two games. It’s Wednesday, but things haven’t developed as Palmer would have hoped.

Arians said, via Darren Urban of the team’s website, that Palmer was excused from the team’s practice so he could go see a specialist about his shoulder. Arians explained that Palmer threw a lot late last week while the Cardinals were on their bye and that his condition has regressed since then.

That points to another start for Drew Stanton, who quarterbacked the team to victories over the Giants and 49ers before the team went on their bye week.

Arians added that the team doesn’t consider Palmer a candidate for season-ending injured reserve because they don’t feel that the quarterback is suffering from a long-term injury. He didn’t rule out injured reserve with the designation to return, however, and one imagines that possibility could grow based on what Palmer learns during his visit to the specialist.

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Bridgewater questionable for Thursday night

Teddy AP

He practiced a little on Wednesday.  Whether he plays at all on Thursday night remains to be seen.

Officially, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is questionable for the game at Lambeau Field with a sprained ankle.  It’s a game-time decision, which means we’ll all know within 90 minutes of kickoff.  Unless he doesn’t travel with the team to Wisconsin or someone blabs to Jay Glazer.

In the interim, watch for whether the Vikings activate McLeod Bethel-Thompson or Chandler Harnish from the practice squad to the active roster.

The status for the other injured Vikings is far more clear.  Linebacker Chad Greenway (hand) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) are out.  Fullback Jerome Felton (knee), linebacker Michael Mauti (foot), running back Jerrick McKinnon (ankle), cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (illness), receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring), and linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) are probable.

On the question of Bridgewater playing, the question becomes whether the Vikings would prefer a healthy and prepared Christian Ponder to a limited and unprepared (relatively speaking) Bridgewater.  It doesn’t take an orthopedic surgeon to know how Vikings fans would resolve that one; it may take an orthopedic surgeon to help the Vikings make the right call on whether the rookie should play on a short week.

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Jets expect Dee Milliner back this week

New York Jets v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Jets defense has had cornerback Dee Milliner in the lineup for part of one game in September because of ankle and quad injuries, but it appears October will be getting off to a better start.

Coach Rex Ryan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, at Wednesday’s press conference that Milliner will play against the Chargers this Sunday. Milliner last played in Week Two against the Packers, but left the game early after his sprained ankle tightened up in the third quarter.

There’s no word on how expansive a role Milliner might play against San Diego, but any help will be welcomed as the Jets try to slow down Philip Rivers. The Jets have rushed the passer well through the first four weeks and have posted the highest percentage of sacks per drop backs in the league, but opposing offenses have found plenty of places to go with the ball if the rush doesn’t get home.

Milliner can’t fix that all by himself, but his healthy presence should alleviate some of the problems. Safety Calvin Pryor, who left last Sunday’s game with a thigh injury, took part in practice and is also on track to play this week.

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Whisenhunt shoots down talk that Titans could trade Justin Hunter

justinhunter AP

There’s been talk in Tennessee that the Titans could trade receiver Justin Hunter. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt says that talk is preposterous.

“Are you kidding me? That’s not something even in consideration,” Whisenhunt said of trading Hunter, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

Wyatt has written that the Titans are disappointed with Hunter’s inconsistency and want more out of him. And considering how much talent Hunter flashed in the preseason, his statistics — nine catches for 138 yards and no touchdowns — are short of expectations so far this season.

Of course, those issues point to exactly why other teams aren’t likely to give up much of anything to acquire Hunter in a trade. So the Titans will hold onto him, and hope he’ll do more in the future than he’s done since the Titans drafted him last year.

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Steve Smith unloads on Panthers G.M., coach, Greg Hardy

STEVESMITHAWARD-NC Getty Images

The blood and guts arrived a few days later than many expected.

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith mostly played nice as his new team beat his old one Sunday. But he unloaded on his old bosses Wednesday, taking shots at both General Manager Dave Gettleman (who we knew he didn’t like) and coach Ron Rivera (who we didn’t suspect created that kind of animosity).

Smith called in to WFNZ’s “Bustin’ Loose” with Frank Garcia and Mark Yarbro, and fired several volleys in the direction of the team he gave 13 years to, saying neither Gettleman nor Rivera were straight with him.

“Every time I keep reading stuff and reports come out, I just think I was stabbed in the back,” Smith said. “Just like coach Rivera said he wasn’t a sore loser, but yet he never even spoke to me through the whole ordeal. Not one time. He didn’t look at me man-to-man and said this was going down. He said he’s a players’ coach but he never came in and said, ‘Hey Smitty, this is going on. Wanted to give you a heads up.’ He hid in his office.

“Then you come at the end of the game and I play decent and then you come and shake my hand and say, ‘Congratulations. I hope the family’s well. Good luck.’ But we were supposed to be boys and respected me. You would have done it from the jump. You don’t do it at the end. And then you tell the media. Why? So you can look a certain way.”

That was a little surprising, less so was his criticism of Gettleman, who got the ball rolling at the Combine by saying he was “evaluating,” Smith’s play, and then came home to tell Smith he was gone.

Smith said Wednesday that Gettleman referred to him as a “shadow” of his former self.

“He doesn’t even have the cojones to tell us to our face [about being released],” Smith said. “We have to hear it from someone else. Then he calls and says it wasn’t personal. If the first thing that comes out is ‘Well it wasn’t personal,’ then guess what? It was personal.”

Smith also made it clear he wasn’t happy with being portrayed as a distraction, pointing to the team’s willingness to hang onto defensive end Greg Hardy with a $13.1 million franchise tag. He referenced the three teammates he punched, but said that was not comparable to the current situation.

“I’ve always been a distraction?” Smith said. “But I didn’t hit my wife. Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago but I didn’t beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles. …

“All I did was charity work in Charlotte. I made mistakes. But building this big ol’ crutch about it like as if I pushed their hand?”

The reasons the Panthers cut Smith have been obvious. He didn’t play well with others, specifically quarterback Cam Newton.

But his frustration on the way out the door speaks to tensions with Gettleman that indicate there was more than one personality at play in the decision that sent him to Baltimore.

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Jarrett Boykin out for Packers on Thursday night

Green Bay Packers v St Louis Rams Getty Images

The Packers kick off Week Five against the Vikings on Thursday night and they won’t have wide receiver Jarrett Boykin’s help as they try to get a leg up on their NFC North rivals.

Boykin has been ruled out for the second straight week because of a groin injury. Coach Mike McCarthy indicated that Boykin’s injury is more sever than the team originally thought and that it might keep him out through the Week Six game against the Dolphins as well.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be ready for Miami. That’s a long time away. It’s a little worse than we thought,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Rookie Davante Adams took over the third receiver duties against Chicago and should fill the role again this week.

Linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Boyd (knee) have both been listed as doubtful for the game while linebackers Clay Matthews, Mike Neal and Brad Jones join guard T.J. Lang as probable to play on Thursday.

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Knowshon Moreno says he’s four weeks away from returning

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

When Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno suffered a dislocated elbow in Week Two against the Bills, the timetable for his return was set at four weeks.

That would have put him in position to return after this week’s bye for the Week Six date with the Packers, but it doesn’t look like that timetable has held up. Moreno said on Wednesday that it is looking more like Week Eight for his return to field.

“I probably got like four more weeks,” Moreno said, via the Palm Beach Post. “About four more weeks and I’ll be good.”

The absence of Moreno, who had a big game when the Dolphins knocked off the Patriots in the season opener, is a bit less painful after Lamar Miller’s strong outings in Weeks Three and Four. With the Bears and Jaguars following the Packers on the schedule, there should be running room for Miller in the coming weeks if the line can hold up its end of the bargain.

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Murphy says Washington name has been discussed “at the league level”

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Getty Images

Supplanted of late by other controversies, the debate regarding the Washington name lingers.  On Tuesday, Packers CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged that the debate also has migrated to the upper reaches of the NFL.

There have been discussions at the league level,” Murphy said Tuesday at Marquette Law School, via Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “We have had some discussions at owners’ meetings. Dan [Snyder] has made presentations.  Quite honestly, I think with all the issues we are facing, with domestic violence and concussions, it’s probably not at the top of the list.”

He’s right, but eventually it will be.

Murphy added that he’s “very sensitive” tp the subject, given Green Bay’s proximity to the Oneida Nation.  Murphy pointed out that, while serving as Athletic Director at Colgate, he presided over the change of the team’s nickname from the Red Raiders to the Raiders.

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Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Davis return to practice

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

The Panthers probably aren’t going to have running back DeAngelo Williams on the field against the Bears this Sunday and they definitely won’t have Mike Tolbert, but the backfield may not be totally devoid of veteran presence.

Jonathan Stewart was in full pads at Wednesday’s practice, a few days after he missed the team’s loss to the Ravens with a knee injury. That’s a good sign for his chances of keeping the Panthers from relying on Darrin Reaves, Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker, who didn’t practice Wednesday, for their ground attack as they try to avoid a third straight loss after a 2-0 start to the season.

Stewart wasn’t the only player back at practice on Wednesday after missing Sunday’s loss. Linebacker Thomas Davis’s hamstring was feeling well enough for him to suit up for the session, raising hopes that the Panthers will have one of their defensive leaders back in place against the Bears.

Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards also sat out Wednesday’s practice for Carolina.

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Bears sign speedster Teddy Williams to play corner

Atlanta Falcons v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Bears shuffled the deck and added some speed.

The team announced they signed cornerback Teddy Williams off the Arizona practice squad, and released linebacker Terrell Manning.

Williams is a fascinating player because of his pure speed, which has caused teams to try him at wide receiver as well.

He’s played in 10 games over two seasons with the Colts and the Cardinals. He spent parts of 2010 and 2011 on the Cowboys practice squad.

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Calvin Johnson feeling better, ready to face off with Jim Schwartz

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was held to just two catches for 12 yards in Sunday’s game against the Jets, as a sprained ankle had him at far less than 100 percent. But Johnson says this week is different.

Johnson told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press he’s feeling “definitely better than at this time last week.” Johnson will, from all accounts, be ready to go on Sunday against the Bills.

And when the Bills come to town, that means the return of Jim Schwartz, the Buffalo defensive coordinator who was Detroit’s head coach for the last five years. Johnson said he and Schwartz frequently discussed how Schwartz would cover Megatron if Schwartz had to devise a game plan to stop him. Schwartz told Johnson double coverage would always be Schwartz’s strategy.

On Sunday we’ll get to see if Schwartz, who coached Johnson when he set the all-time NFL record for receiving yards in a season in 2012, can come up with a plan to slow Johnson down.

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Owners overseeing Mueller investigation aren’t talking about it

Transluceny Getty Images

On Tuesday, Packers CEO Mark Murphy said there was “hope” the Robert Mueller investigation would be completed by next week. The two owners charged with overseeing the Mueller investigation would not confirm that. Or deny that. Or say anything else about it.

Steelers and Giants spokesman tell PFT that Steelers president Art Rooney II and Giants co-owner John Mara, respectively, have no comment about the status or timetable of the Mueller investigation.

And so at a time when the NFL has vowed to utilize more transparency regarding domestic violence allegations, the league isn’t even opting for translucency when addressing the simplest of topics regarding perhaps the most important internal investigation the league ever has conducted.

While none of it will matter once Mueller issues his findings and the media begins scrutinizing every word he has written, persistent talk of change has yet to become action when it comes to the question of whether the process of generating a public report will be an equally open book.

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Cardinals bring back veteran linebacker Desmond Bishop

Desmond Bishop, Marion Grice AP

The Cardinals took a look at veteran linebacker Desmond Bishop in the preseason.

And after a month of regular season, they decided they wanted him back.

The team announced Bishop had been re-signed, filling the roster spot created by the release of linebacker Victor Butler.

The Cardinals are largely healthy now, but that’s after free agency, injuries and suspensions ravaged their defense. Losing Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby among others left them thin.

Plugging a solid pro like Bishop makes sense, especially since he’s had more time to recover from last year’s torn ACL with the Vikings.

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Bill Belichick says Patriots are “on to Cincinnati,” repeatedly

Belichick Getty Images

Bill Belichick never hides his disdain for the media, typically approaching the process of answering questions like a bad ventriloquist.  Even at times when perhaps it would be a good idea to curry the favor of the folks who are in position to heap criticism on the man who has presided over the erosion of the New England roster, Belichick continues to display condescension and irritation when dealing with reporters.

To his credit, Belichick is consistent.  He’s unwilling to cooperate when things are going well, and he’s unwilling to cooperate when they aren’t.

Case in point:  His Wednesday press conference, with memories still fresh of Monday night’s debacle at Arrowhead Stadium.  Here’s the relevant exchange, from the transcript provided by the team.

Q: Your team has been successful for so long. How difficult is it to adjust to the adversity of Monday night’s game and get back on track? This team and organization hasn’t had these sort of issues in the past.

Belichick: We’re on to Cincinnati.

Q: You mentioned Tom Brady’s age at the draft –

Belichick: We’re on to Cincinnati.

Q: Do you think having a 37-year old –

Belichick: We’re on to Cincinnati. It’s nothing about the past, nothing about the future. Right now we’re preparing for Cincinnati.

Q: Do you think the talent you have here is good?

BB: We’re getting ready for Cincinnati.

Q: Do you think you’ve done enough to help Tom Brady?

Belichick: We’re getting ready for Cincinnati. That’s what we’re doing.

It was ultimately a useless exchange. The answers suggest that the reporters were trying to get Belichick to focus on what went wrong against the Chiefs. The questions actually focused more on the future, with a 37-year-old quarterback, real concerns about the quality of the roster, and real questions about Belichick’s personnel decision.

At least he didn’t say, “I’m trying to be a good teammate.”

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