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Duane Brown remains out for Texans

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 03: An injured Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans is carted off the field while playing agains the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter on January 3, 2016 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans have had left tackle Duane Brown on the practice field in recent days, but he’s not ready to make his regular season debut.

Brown has been out since having offseason quad surgery and was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Titans on Friday. Brown was a limited participant in practice this week, so his return to the lineup probably may not be far off. Chris Clark will continue to start in his place.

Linebacker Brian Cushing and safety Quintin Demps were also limited in practice on Friday and both have been listed as questionable for Sunday. Cushing was expected to miss 4-6 weeks after hurting his knee in the season opener, but expressed optimism this week that he’d beat that timetable. Demps is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Wide receiver Braxton Miller has been ruled out with a hamstring injury for the second straight week. Tight end Stephen Anderson and running back Jonathan Grimes will also be inactive this weekend.

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Dez Bryant not ruled out, but “we want to be safe”

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys aren’t ruling wide receiver Dez Bryant out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers, but it sounds like chances are good that he will miss the game.

Bryant suffered a hairline fracture in his right knee against the Bears last Sunday and his status for this week was clouded by a delay in taking an MRI until the middle of the week that, when coupled with Bryant’s absence from team meetings, led to a fine from the club.

Bryant said Friday that all is good with the team now and that everyone is trying to be “smart” about the best way to handle the injury so that Bryant returns as quickly as possible in good health.

“We want to be safe,” Bryant said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s a long season. I feel good. We’re going to go from there.”

Terrence Williams, Colt Beasley and Brice Butler would be the top wideouts if Bryant is indeed out of Sunday’s game with tight end Jason Witten also on hand as the Cowboys try to improve to 3-1.

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Antonio Brown planning to wear Arnold Palmer’s image on his cleats

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 07:  Honorary starter Arnold Palmer attends the ceremonial tee off to start the first round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined after Week One for wearing blue cleats, which is a violation of the league’s uniform rules, and he changed cleats at halftime last weekend after an official told him he wouldn’t be allowed to return to the game while again wearing shoes of the wrong color.

Brown is planning to wear black-and-gold cleats for Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs, which fits with the rule calling for shoes to be in team colors, but there will be a bit of a twist. Brown plans to have an image of the late golfing legend Arnold Palmer, who died last Sunday, on the shoes.

Brown said he wants to have “some motivation” and inspiration each week of the season and chose Palmer after spending time at Palmer’s house in Latrobe, Pennsylvania before this summer’s training camp.

“A guy like Arnold, his legacy and what he meant not only to the world, but to Latrobe, to Pennsylvania, his legacy will live on,” Brown said, via ESPN.com. “An inspiring guy. I’m glad I got a moment to share with him.”

Brown’s choice should win him the backing of Arnie’s Army along with the weekly support he and the rest of the Steelers get from the remnants of Franco’s Italian Army.

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Bill O’Brien confirms J.J. Watt out for rest of season

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  Head coach Bill O'Brien 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

There was a report on Thursday night that the Texans had determined that defensive end J.J. Watt wouldn’t return at any point this season after being placed on injured reserve and it’s safe to close the book on him until 2017.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien confirmed on Friday that Watt will not be able to return from his back injury this year. Watt had surgery on Thursday, marking the second time that he’s had an operation on his back in the last few months.

The loss of Watt is a big one for the Texans, obviously, and finding success in his absence will take better results across the board. Friday brought word that O’Brien will resume calling plays on offense to ensure that unit does its part, although O’Brien said that the key remains what happens after the play’s been sent in.

“I’m responsible for every play that goes into the game,” O’Brien said. “It doesn’t matter who calls the plays. It’s all about the execution.”

The Texans will try to execute better against the Titans this Sunday than they did against the Patriots in a 27-0 loss their last time out.

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Ryan Shazier, Eli Rogers among seven Steelers ruled out

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Eli Rogers #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to stiff arm Derron Smith #31 of the Cincinnati Bengals after making a catch in the first quarter during the game at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers had a lengthy list of injuries coming into the start of this week’s practices and the list remains long heading into Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs.

Pittsburgh has ruled out seven players for the game, including several starters. Linebacker Ryan Shazier won’t play because of a knee injury, slot receiver Eli Rogers will be out with a toe injury, safety Robert Golden has been felled by a hamstring injury and left guard Ramon Foster has a bruised sternum.

Foster will be replaced by B.J. Finney, who hurt his finger during Thursday’s practice but says he’s fine to play this weekend. Safety Sean Davis also looks set to play after returning to practice Friday despite the back injury that sidelined him the first two days of the week.

Fullback Roosevelt Nix, cornerback Senquez Golson and center Cody Wallace are the others who will miss the game with the Chiefs. None of them have played in a game yet this season.

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Bashaud Breeland, Josh Doctson out this weekend

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver Josh Doctson #18 of the Washington Redskins misses a catch against cornerback Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said this week that the team might shut down wide receiver Josh Doctson for a couple of weeks in hopes of getting him past the Achilles injury that has bothered him since the spring.

They are shutting him down for at least this weekend’s game against the Browns. The Redskins released their final injury report of the week on Friday and Doctson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

The team will also be without a pair of cornerbacks. Bashaud Breeland had to leave last weekend’s win over the Giants with an ankle injury and missed practice all week, which made Friday’s announcement that he’d miss the game an unsurprising one. Dashaun Phillips replaced Breeland last Sunday, but will miss the Browns game due to a hamstring injury. Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler and Kendall Fuller join Josh Norman as cornerback options for Sunday.

Left guard Shawn Lauvao left last week’s game with an ankle injury as well and he remains out this week. Arie Kouandjo will start in his place while Spencer Long will play center in place of Kory Lichtensteiger, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.

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“Major concern” about Sammy Watkins’ availability moving forward

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13:  Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball for a touchdown as Ed Reynolds #30 of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts to tackle him during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

Early last week, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins said missing games because of his surgically repaired foot was “out the window.”

At some point after that, Watkins’ foot was stepped on in practice and now worry is mounting that Watkins’ season may be out the window.

Watkins didn’t play in last Sunday’s 33-18 win over the Cardinals and he has been ruled out again this week after failing to get on the practice field at all. Beyond that, Bills coach Rex Ryan said in his Friday press conference that there is “major concern” about Watkins’ availability as the season moves forward.

There was a report to that effect from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News coming out of the first week of the season, although Watkins shrugged them off by saying that his foot was merely “tired.” He went on to play against the Jets in Week Two, but didn’t look like the same kind of downfield threat that he was in his first two seasons.

The Bills were able to adapt well enough to win without him last week, but the loss of Watkins would be a hard thing for them to overcome on a weekly basis while still winning enough to make a push for a long-awaited playoff bid.

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Marvin Jones practicing Friday and looks fine

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Marvin Jones #11 of the Detroit Lions runs past Mike Adams #29 of the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter of the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s leader in receiving yards through the first three weeks of the season popped up on Thursday’s injury report with a hamstring injury, but it looks like Marvin Jones will be good to go against the Bears this weekend.

Jones returned to practice on Friday and multiple members of the media attending the session report that he looks fine on the field. Jones was not on the Wednesday injury report, suggesting he tweaked the hamstring at some point during Thursday’s practice, which created some cause for worry given the relative lack of time before Sunday’s game.

As long as there’s no other flareup later on Friday, it would seem that Jones will be in the lineup without any limitations. Jones has 18 catches for 408 yards and two touchdowns in his first three outings as a member of the team.

While Jones’ presence is good news for the offense, it looks like Detroit will be playing without defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy again this week. Neither player is practicing on Friday, which will leave stopping the Bears’ low-octane offense to others on the Lions roster.

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Emmanuel Sanders: If you think I’m a diva, I don’t mind

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Denver defeated Cincinnati 29-17. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

Heading into last Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said there was “some frustration” with the amount of balls being thrown to him and Demaryius Thomas in the first two weeks of the season.

The Broncos won both of those games, something Sanders noted as a factor keeping the frustration at a low level and something that others might have felt showed diva-like tendencies from the wideout. That’s label isn’t something that bothers Sanders.

“Hey, one thing, I don’t mind being a diva,” Sanders said, via ESPN.com. “I am a diva. I am a diva. I like winning ballgames, I like catching passes. Every wide receiver in the world likes to catch passes; every wide receiver in the world likes to put up points. After that game when the defense scored two touchdowns and you’re looking and [cornerback Aqib] Talib has more touchdowns and the defense is holding us down, we’re looking at ourselves and saying offensively that we have to step it up.”

Whether it was a case of a squeaky wheel getting some grease or the way the game played out, both Sanders and Thomas had big games in the 29-17 road win. They combined for 15 catches, 217 yards and three touchdowns in a performance that Sanders says shows what the offense is capable of doing this season.

“We can be dangerous,” Sanders said. “I think that’s the reason our articles last week said that Demaryius and me were frustrated, obviously because we know the potential of this offense. We know that we can have a balanced attack and we can go out and throw 300 yards and four touchdowns and we can also run the ball, too. We can rush for 150 yards. Obviously all of that comes with preparation out on the field and executing at a high level and maximizing our potential.”

The Buccaneers defense ranks around the middle of the pack in terms of both passing and rushing yards allowed, which should give the Broncos opportunities to make gains in both phases of the offense as they try for a 4-0 start to the season.

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Jaguars list Julius Thomas as questionable for Sunday

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Julius Thomas #80 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to elude Morgan Burnett #42 of the Green Bay Packers during their game at EverBank Field on September 11, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jaguars are set to get a couple of players back in the lineup after they missed last Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, but it won’t be until Sunday morning that we know if tight end Julius Thomas will be ready to go against the Colts.

Thomas, who has 11 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown, was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game. He was a limited participant in Friday’s practice after missing the first two days due to an elbow injury.

Linebacker Dan Skuta is also questionable due to a hip injury. Defensive end Jared Odrick will miss another week with a tricep injury and tight end Ben Koyack has been ruled out with a knee issue.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara is set to play for the first time since the season opener as his hamstring injury cleared up enough for two full practices to close out the week. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum is also good to go after missing last week with a concussion suffered against the Chargers in Week Two.

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Receivers get some time at safety during Giants practice

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11:  Dwayne Harris #17 of the New York Giants carries the ball during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Nat Berhe appeared on the Giants injury report with a concussion on Thursday, leaving the team with two healthy safeties for practice.

Berhe and Darian Thompson, who has a foot injury, may both be out for Monday’s game against the Vikings and the team was also working without cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, forcing them to do a little improvising. Wide receivers Dwayne Harris, Geremy Davis and Darius Powe all saw scout team time at safety and Harris said the coaches have told him that he might get time there in Monday’s game as well.

“They mentioned to me, ‘We might possibly need you on defense.’ But they haven’t really said anything to me like it’s set in stone right now,” Harris said. “So I don’t know what way they’re going, what they’re going to do about it. As far as right now, I’m just keeping an open mind with it. If they need me, they need me. If not, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing. … I’m pretty sure I could do it. I’m pretty sure it’s not that hard — tackle somebody and if the ball comes to you, intercept it. Sounds easy.”

Harris said he last played defense for four snaps in middle school, so it may be a bit more difficult than that. For now, Landon Collins and Andrew Adams are the safeties, although there might be one other offensive option.

Odell Beckham has more recent experience playing safety as he got some snaps at the position during last February’s Pro Bowl, although opinions will vary about whether or not that amounts to more than a middle school level of intensity. Coach Ben McAdoo said, via the New York Post, “never say never” when asked if Beckham could be out there again.

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Brock Osweiler: Criticism of play is “hilarious”

Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) passes against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) AP

Quarterback Brock Osweiler has started his Texans career with three touchdown passes and four interceptions in his first three games, which isn’t quite the ratio that people in Houston were hoping to see from their big-ticket free agent acquisition.

That’s led some to criticize Osweiler’s ability to read defenses and make the right choices in the face of defensive pressure, but Osweiler said he isn’t losing any sleep about those opinions.

“I think that’s hilarious, to be honest with you,” Osweiler said, via the Houston Chronicle. “The critique comes from a whole lot of people that don’t know my read on that play. They’ve probably never actually sat in an offensive meeting in their life, let alone a quarterback meeting in the National Football League. … I’m very comfortable with my reads. Certainly, I know I need to clean up my ball security issues of having four interceptions through three games, and that’s something I will clean up.”

Osweiler added that he feels he’s doing a “great job” of progressing in Bill O’Brien’s offense and it hardly seems like a controversial opinion to suggest that things will run more smoothly the longer he’s been in the system. A good start to that process would be cleaning up the mistakes from last week’s 27-0 loss to the Patriots at home against the Titans this week.

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Friday morning one-liners

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

LB Zach Brown finds himself in the starting role he hoped to have when he signed with the Bills.

Are the Dolphins playing for now or evaluating players for future teams?

CB Logan Ryan’s importance to the Patriots has grown over time.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is “thankful” that the Jets picked him up.

The Ravens may need a new left side of the offensive line this week.

A lack of touchdowns was the only negative for the Bengals on Thursday night.

Browns K Cody Parkey is confident he’ll rebound from last week.

Some new faces will have a chance in the Steelers defense.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien is looking for improvement on special teams.

Living in London as a kid had an impact on Colts QB Andrew Luck.

Jaguars RB Chris Ivory has played well in past games in London.

What would Kendall Wright’s return mean for the Titans wide receivers?

Michael Schofield has been a jack of all trades for the Broncos offensive line.

The Chiefs were missing a pair of cornerbacks at Thursday’s practice.

Will the Raiders defense turn in another good performance this week?

Chargers T Chris Hairston is trying not to let anger get the best of him on the field.

It’s unclear if the Cowboys will have T Tyron Smith in the lineup this week.

Is Ereck Flowers the long-term answer at left tackle for the Giants?

With the Eagles 3-0 in Doug Pederson’s first year as coach, here’s a look at other coaches who have won their first three games.

Illness kept CB Josh Norman out of Thursday’s Redskins practice.

Young members of the Bears defense know more progress is needed.

The Lions are on the other side of the field from RB Joique Bell this week.

P Jacob Schum is settling into life with the Packers.

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph has become a favorite target of QB Sam Bradford.

The Falcons have some injury issues at running back.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis won’t miss the Georgia Dome.

The Saints don’t think T Terron Armstead will be sidelined for a long time.

The Buccaneers are preparing for the Broncos pass rush.

WR Michael Floyd hasn’t picked up where he left off for the Cardinals.

Rams DE Robert Quinn looks like he’s back on form.

Carlos Hyde will be one of two Ohio State running backs on stage when the 49ers play the Cowboys.

RB C.J. Spiller went through his first practice with the Seahawks.

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Vontaze Burfict: I think I did alright in return

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 29:  Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals calls a defensive play during the first quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said before Thursday’s win over the Dolphins that linebacker Vontze Burfict “raises the level” of the team’s defense as part of a discussion of Burfict being thrown back into the lineup at the end of his three-game suspension.

Thursday night was a very good one for the Bengals defense, which turned around from a shaky outing against the Broncos to shut down the Dolphins outside of one play on the first drive of the game. Burfict can’t take sole credit for that turnaround, but the upgrade in play speaks well of his impact even if Burfict had a modest review of his efforts.

“Football shape is different, but I think I did alright,” Burfict said, via the team’s website. “I felt I could have done more, but the coaches had a plan for me and switched me in and out with Vinny [Rey] and Karlos [Dansby] and they did a good job of that. At the end of the game, I started to feel my wind catching up, but every game I’ll feel like I’ll get better and better and get my legs up under me.”

Burfict had three tackles and knocked away a pass intended for Jarvis Landry, but the most important stat is the zero flags thrown against him during the game. Burfict is a big plus for the Bengals defense when he’s on the field and he needs to continue to avoid the personal foul penalties that kept him from being there to open the season.

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Darrelle Revis “not going there” on Richard Sherman questions

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 19:  Cornerback Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets celebrates his 1st half interception against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on August 19, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Jets 22-18.  (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) Getty Images

Several years ago, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took aim at Darrelle Revis in an attempt to make the case that he was the best cornerback in the league.

Revis wasn’t a big fan of that approach, saying Sherman ran his mouth like a girl and the two continued to snipe back and forth through the Super Bowl between the Seahawks and Patriots. Sherman had a laugh at Revis’ expense in that game, but Revis got the last one and a Super Bowl ring.

Revis is back with the Jets now, which means that he and Sherman will be on the same field for a game for the first time since that Super Bowl. Revis isn’t interested in rehashing the past issues between the two players, passing on several questions about Sherman on Thursday while saying he was willing to talk about the Seahawks he’ll be facing off against on Sunday.

“No opinion,” Revis said, via ESPN.com. “We’re not going there. We’re not going there. Seahawks’ offense.”

Revis’ play has been well scrutinized already this season without any commentary from or comparison to Sherman and the reviews haven’t been good, which doesn’t make getting into a slap fight about who’s better seem like too good an idea. Perhaps the feeling will be different if Revis’ side comes away victorious in his second “must-win” game against a team with Sherman in the lineup.

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