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Kyle Fuller, Riley Reiff and Reggie Bush all questionable for Turkey Day

Rhett Ellison, Jarius Wright, Kyle Fuller AP

The Bears and Lions have released their final injury reports before Thursday’s game at Ford Field and it finds key players on both sides questionable.

Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller drew the tag after hurting his MCL last weekend. He was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday after being deemed a non-participant on Monday and Tuesday. If Fuller doesn’t play, it would eliminate the possibility that he’d line up across from his brother and Lions wide receiver Corey at some point on Thursday. Their parents have crafted some custom jerseys for the occasion, so it would be a letdown emotionally and sartorially if one of their sons couldn’t go.

On the other side, Lions left tackle Riley Reiff and running back Reggie Bush both got in limited practices on Friday before drawing the questionable tag. It was Reiff’s first practice of the week while Bush worked every day and has been targeting this week to return from the ankle injury that’s sidelined him recently.

The Bears listed defensive linemen Jeremiah Ratliff and Trevor Scott as doubtful due to knee injuries, and they’ve ruled out linebackers Lance Briggs and Darryl Sharpton and wide receiver Chris Williams.

Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley and guard Larry Warford remain out.

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Shaun Phillps lands with Colts

Blake Bortles, Shaun Phillips AP

Linebacker Shaun Phillips has taken an overnight elevator ride from the basement to the penthouse in the AFC South.

Phillips was waived by the Titans on Tuesday and he’ll spend Thanksgiving as a member of the Colts, who announced that they added Phillips via a waiver claim on Wednesday. The move for Phillips, who has 81.5 career sacks, is a signal that the Colts would like to boost their pass rush off the edge.

The Colts currently rank 11th in the NFL with 27 sacks, seven of which have come from outside linebackers Bjoern Werner and Erik Walden. They hoped to have Robert Mathis for the final 12 regular season games, but he tore his Achilles while working out ahead of his reinstatement from a season-opening four-game suspension.

Phillips, who is signed through next season, had just two sacks in 11 games with the Titans, so he’s hardly been an impact player this season. Phillips did have 10 sacks last year with the Broncos, so a return to a team with postseason aspirations could be a boost to his productivity.

Linebacker Victor Butler has shuffled on and off the Colts roster a few times recently and he shuffled back off with Phillips’s arrival.

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Donte Whitner ruffles Fred Jackson’s feathers

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Safety Donte Whitner and the Browns will travel to meet the Bills on Sunday and Whitner’s not heading for the happiest of welcomes in the town he called home for the first five years of his career.

Whitner made a crack on Twitter over the summer about the Bills moving to Toronto, which made former Bill Darryl Talley quite upset and the bad feelings haven’t died down in Buffalo. Running back Fred Jackson said Wednesday that Whitner will “never get my respect” for what Jackson felt was talking down to people in Buffalo and in the organization.

“That’s just him being him,” Jackson said, via ESPN.com. “Donte is a guy that likes to ruffle feathers. He found any way he could to try and ruffle Buffalo’s feathers, knowing he had to come up to us. It’s just dumb for him to do, and talk about people like that, and talk about the city of Buffalo like that. But at the same time, you’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt and say it’s just some dude that’s being an idiot about some stuff.”

Whitner said he’s expecting a chilly reception from the fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but that he doesn’t care about hurting feelings if it might help the Browns win a game.

“[The Toronto Bills comment] wasn’t excessive. It wasn’t a joke. I knew that it would get to them. I knew it would ruffle a feather. If they’re over there talking about this, maybe we are in their heads. Maybe I’m in their heads. Maybe. We don’t know, but the goal is to go 1-0, the goal is to get them talking about things other than football, and I guess that’s what they’re doing.”

Whitner and Jackson should meet up at some point when Jackson gets hold of the ball and it will be interesting to see whose feathers are the most ruffled on the other side of a collision.

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Josh Gordon on suspension: Lowest point was disassociation from teammates

Josh Gordon, Greg Little AP

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon looked like he hadn’t missed a beat during his 10-game suspension during last Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

Gordon caught eight passes for 120 yards to help the Browns improve to 7-4 with a 26-24 victory, but the time during his suspension wasn’t as smooth as his return to the field. Gordon spoke to former Browns teammate Nate Burleson for NFL Network about feeling alienated from his teammates during the ban he received for violations of the substance-abuse and personal conduct policies.

“The lowest point of all this I think was the disassociation from a lot of friends you thought were close or you thought you were kind of cool with really not checking on you anymore, [not] hitting you up anymore, [not] wanting to hang out,” Gordon said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “As far as even people in here [with the Browns]. I don’t want to throw names around but I can see it. I’m definitely really observant so I see how people might just be more standoffish as they were before. It’s kind of like a disease. People they want to see it but they don’t really want to touch it.”

Gordon’s description of the limbo he found himself in for the first 10 games of the season sounded right to coach Mike Pettine, who called it an “uncomfortable” situation that left players who are suspended or injured on the outside looking in at the rest of the team. Pettine added that he thought any of what Gordon felt was a product of the circumstances and not anyone’s feelings about Gordon.

“Knowing the quality of the people in this building, I doubt there would be any overt maliciousness or, basically, just what’s being described,” Pettine said. “I know Josh is well liked by his teammates.  He’s certainly well-liked by the coaching staff and he’s come a long way.”

The comparison to an injured player seems like an apt one based on the way players knocked out for the season have described their experiences. Gordon was healthy and in meetings, but he wasn’t part of the team for practice or games and that’s going to make for the uncomfortable moments that Pettine mentioned. As long as everyone feels comfortable now, and it looked like Gordon did, all should be well on that front.

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Josh Brent not expected to play this week

Josh Brent AP

Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is listed as probable on the team’s injury report with a calf injury, but it doesn’t sound like that will be enough to get him a spot on Thursday’s 46-man roster.

The Cowboys placed defensive lineman Jack Crawford on injured reserve Wednesday, but coach Jason Garrett indicated defensive tackle Terrell McClain would play after joining Brent on the inactive list last weekend. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli sent a similar message about Brent’s chances of facing the Eagles.

“He’s coming along fineS,” Marinelli said, via the Dallas Morning News. “It’s just that we have some guys who are playing pretty well for us right now, too. So we’ll keep you updated when we feel he’s ready to go and I’ll alert you.”

Wide receiver Terrence Williams is also probable after hurting his finger against the Giants and practicing in full on Friday.

Cornerback Tyler Patmon is out with a knee injury, linebacker Dekoda Watson is out with a hamstring injury and safety Jeff Heath is doubtful after having thumb surgery earlier this week. Crawford also had thumb surgery and the team promoted linebacker Keith Smith from the practice squad to fill his spot on the roster.

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Latavius Murray practicing after last week’s concussion

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Raiders running back Latavius Murray had an eventful Thursday night against the Chiefs.

Murray saw his profile grow exponentially when he scored on 11- and 90-yard touchdown runs in the first half of the Raiders’ nationally televised first win of the 2014 season. Just as a wider group of people were getting to know who Murray was, things took a negative turn when Murray was forced out of the game with a concussion.

Sunday’s game against the Rams won’t have quite as big a viewing audience, but it looks like there’s a good chance that they’ll see Murray. According to multiple reports from Oakland, Murray was on the field and taking part in the team’s first practice of the week. That doesn’t mean he’s cleared to play Sunday, but it puts him on the right track to follow up on his four carry,112 yard breakout.

The Raiders also announced a roster move on Wednesday. Tight end David Ausberry was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury and promoted defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from the practice squad. Ausberry had two catches in six games this season and missed all of last season.

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Emmanuel Acho questionable for Thursday

Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Eagles only have one player whose status is in doubt for Thursday’s game in Dallas and it looks like the call on linebacker Emmanuel Acho will wait until the last possible moment.

Acho is listed as questionable because of a groin injury that has left him as a limited participant during the team’s short practice week. Acho said that the nature of the injury was such that he won’t know until Thursday whether he will be feeling well enough to take the field.

“I made major strides from [Monday] to [Tuesday],” Acho said, via the Eagles website. “But with it being on Thursday, I can’t make a call on Wednesday, because who knows how I’ll feel when I wake up Thursday morning. So it’ll probably have to be a Thursday decision.”

If Acho doesn’t go, Casey Matthews will see increased time next to Mychal Kendricks at inside linebacker.

Quarterback Nick Foles (collarbone) is the only player ruled out for Philadelphia. Six other players, including wide receiver Jordan Matthews (knee) and left tackle Jason Peters (quad), are probable.

 

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No practice for Larry Fitzgerald on Wednesday

Larry Fitzgerald AP

The Cardinals played without wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in last Sunday’s 19-3 loss to the Seahawks and they opened this week of practice without him as well.

Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, that Fitzgerald’s sprained MCL is improving, but the wideout isn’t ready to resume a practice schedule yet.

The Cardinals listed Fitzgerald as questionable after he missed all three days of practice last week, although it doesn’t seem like he was all that close to playing. Arians said after the loss that Fitzgerald couldn’t run during pre-game warmups, which indicates that there’s a lot of room for improvement before Fitzgerald will be given the green light to return to a full workload.

Fitzgerald is tied for the team lead in catches and leads the team in receiving yards. His presence may not have made for a different result last Sunday, but it wouldn’t have hurt the team’s efforts to gain more than 140 yards through the air during the game.

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Bears place Brian de la Puente on injured reserve

Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Among the many problems that have plagued the Bears this season is an inability to keep the same offensive line together for long stretches because of injuries.

Left tackle Jermon Bushrod has missed two games, left guard Matt Slauson is on injured reserve, center Roberto Garza has missed four games and right tackle Jordan Mills has been out the last two games, leaving right guard Kyle Long as the only player to start every game. More shuffling is coming.

Brian De La Puente, who played center when Garza was out and has been at left guard for the last two weeks, is headed to injured reserve because of an ankle injury. Michael Ola, who has been filling in for Mills, is expected to step in for de la Puente with Mills on track to return to the lineup against the Lions on Thursday.

The Bears signed de la Puente before the start of this season and he can become a free agent next year if the Bears don’t re-sign him before the market opens.

Defensive tackle Brandon Dunn has been promoted from the practice squad to bring the roster back to 53 players.

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Jordan Cameron practices, remains day-to-day

Jordan Cameron AP

The Browns got wide receiver Josh Gordon back in the lineup last Sunday and they could have tight end Jordan Cameron to help their offense this week.

Cameron has missed the past four games due to a concussion, but he was able to get some practice time in last Friday. Cameron was a limited participant in practice again on Wednesday and coach Mike Pettine said that the team would take its time determining his status for Sunday’s trip to Buffalo.

“We’re looking for him to practice symptom-free for a couple of days in a row. Still day-to-day,” Pettine said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Gordon and Cameron had 167 catches between them last season, but Gordon’s suspension and Cameron’s concussion have limited them to 21 catches this season. Having both back in form for the stretch run should only help as the Browns try to end their long playoff drought.

Linebackers Karlos Dansby (knee) and Jabaal Sheard (foot) both sat out Wednesday’s practice, although Sheard was able to play against Atlanta last weekend.

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PFT Live: Jets talk with Manish Mehta, Week 13 picks

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Jets have decided to go back to quarterback Geno Smith after Monday night’s 38-3 thrashing at the hands of the Bills in a move that some have reported is the opposite of what head coach Rex Ryan wanted to do at the position.

One of those reports came from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News and he’ll join Mike Florio on Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss the latest episode in the never-ending soap opera that is the Jets. They’ll discuss the reasons for going back to Smith, the machinations that went on in coming to that decision and what it all means for the futures of Ryan, General Manager John Idzik and Smith with the franchise.

We usually do the weekly picks on Thursday, but Thanksgiving is a day for stuffing turkeys and watching football so Florio and MDS will discuss this week’s slate of games during Wednesday’s program.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Anthony Dixon named AFC special teamer of the week

Anthony Dixon AP

The Bills ransacked the Jets 38-3 in Detroit on Monday night by dominating them on offense, defense and on special teams.

Their biggest play on special teams came when a blocked punt extended a 17-3 lead in the third quarter and turned the game into a laugher. Linebacker Manny Lawson fell on the ball in the end zone, but it was running back Anthony Dixon that came up with the block and came home with some recognition from the league.

Dixon was named the AFC special teams player of the week thanks to his block of Ryan Quigley’s punt. It’s the second punt he’s blocked this season and the first time he’s won weekly honors, although it is the third time that a Bills special teamer has received recognition this season. Kicker Dan Carpenter won in Week One and running back C.J. Spiller took it home in Week Two for his work as a kickoff returner.

In addition to his punt block, Dixon also capped the Bills’ scoring for the night with a 30-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

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Belichick on Brady/Rodgers similarities: They both wear No. 12

Detroit Lions v New England Patriots Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers correctly pointed out on Tuesday that Sunday’s game against the Patriots is not about a matchup between him and Tom Brady because they won’t be on the field at the same time barring some really strange coaching decisions.

That doesn’t mean that people are going to stop focusing on the two quarterbacks ahead of their first meeting, however. It also doesn’t mean that anyone involved with the game has to play along any more than Rodgers did. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about similarities between Brady and Rodgers at his Wednesday press conference and the one he found came without the deep analysis his questioner may have been looking for.

“They both wear No. 12,” Belichick said in comments distributed by the team.

Belichick said that he didn’t think there was much benefit or disadvantage to Rodgers never having faced one of his defenses — “Whatever hasn’t happened hasn’t happened” was his take — but he made it clear that he thinks highly of the Packers quarterback when asked what makes him different than others that Belichick has faced.

“It’s just, he’s great,” Belichick said. “He’s quick, he’s big, he throws the ball very accurately, has great vision down the field. He finds guys that there’s not a lot of space, but he finds them and he hits them. He’s really good. I’m not taking anything away from anybody else, but this guy is a really good player.”

And Sunday has all the makings of a really good game thanks in large part to the guys wearing No. 12.

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Justin Forsett is AFC offensive player of the week for second time in November

Justin Forsett AP

It’s been a good month for Ravens running back Justin Forsett.

In Week 10, Forsett ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore’s victory over the Titans and was named the AFC offensive player of the week in recognition of his exploits. Forsett couldn’t win the award in Week 11 because the Ravens were on a bye, but he did the next best thing.

Forsett ran for a career-high 182 yards on 22 carries while scoring twice more in Baltimore’s 34-27 victory against the Saints in New Orleans on Monday night. His second touchdown came in the fourth quarter to extend the Ravens lead to 14 points, an edge they’d need after Jimmy Graham caught a touchdown pass later in the proceedings.

That effort left Forsett with 903 yards and seven touchdowns on 155 carries this season, which is easily the best production of his professional career and a big reason why the Ravens have a 7-4 record at this point in the season.

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Kam Chancellor named NFC defensive player of the week

Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said this week that he hasn’t enjoyed taking a look at his film from earlier in the season because of the way he played while trying to battle through ankle, groin and hip injuries.

Chancellor missed a couple of games, but has been in the lineup for Seattle the last two weeks and he’s putting better work on film. His work last Sunday in Seattle’s 19-3 win over the Cardinals was good enough that the NFL named him the NFC defensive player of the week.

Chancellor didn’t put up any gaudy numbers in the game, but he had eight tackles while the Seahawks were holding the Cardinals to just 204 yards over the course of an afternoon that left the Seahawks feeling like they had their swagger back.

Whatever Chancellor’s issues are with his work earlier this season, it’s not like he’s always been off his game. He was also the NFC defensive player of the week for the third week of the season.

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