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Dolphins work out veteran safeties

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  James Ihedigbo #32 of the Detroit Lions reacts after sacking Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins lost safety Reshad Jones for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury and they spent some time on Tuesday looking at veteran safeties who might be able to help them fill the hole that Jones left behind on their defense.

According to multiple reports, the Dolphins worked out James Ihedigbo, Major Wright and Sergio Brown.

Ihedigbo was a teammate of current Miami starter Isa Abdul-Quddus in Detroit and was actually benched in favor of Abdul-Quddus last season. He spent two years with the Lions and has also spent time with the Ravens, Patriots and Jets since entering the NFL in 2008.

Wright was cut by the Buccaneers in August and had a workout with the Panthers a short time later that ended without a contract. He played in 21 games and made nine starts for Tampa over the last two seasons. Brown spent a week with the Falcons this summer and played in 15 games for the Jaguars last season.

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Fan who fell from Sports Authority Field last night has died

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: A general view as fans cheer in the first half of the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

The fan who fell out of Sports Authority Field at Mile High while leaving last night’s game has died.

According to Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post, the office of the medical examiner confirmed the man’s death this afternoon.

The man fell last night around 11:44 p.m. ET, after the game with the Texans ended. He fell over a stairway railing from “an unknown height.”

Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends.

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Hue Jackson wants his (many) QBs to protect themselves

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 16:  Cody Kessler #6 of the Cleveland Browns  is sacked by Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns started the year with a quarterback who has always struggled to protect himself.

And now that they’ve used six in seven games, Browns coach Hue Jackson doesn’t need to be convinced of any of their fortitude.

Specifically, he said rookie Cody Kessler has to take better care of himself, after an improvised backhanded flip to tight end Gary Barnidge which caused him to take a hit which led to a concussion.

Cody has proved his toughness,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t have to do that all the time. He can do some things better to protect himself in those situations, but it was a heck of a play that he and Gary made that gave us the chance to go score a touchdown. I don’t want to take the fight out of him, but he also has to understand the situation he’s in.”

It’s uncertain whether Kessler will be cleared in time to play the Jets this week, which could leave Kevin Hogan at the helm.

Regardless, Jackson knows the situation his quarterbacks (plural) have been in, and that dubious offensive lines leave them vulnerable.

“You can’t do it,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, that’s what they’re going to learn because if not, you’re standing over there next to me or you’re in concussion protocol. You just can’t do it. That’s hard. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes. I used to have this thing where quarterbacks just had to say ‘uncle.’ You throw the ball away or you take a sack just because it’s the right thing to do for your football team. This is not about one individual. This is about your team.

“If you’re not playing, then we’re hurting the team. I don’t think Cody was trying to do anything to hurt his football team. He was trying to do everything he could to help his team score. There’s a fine line, but right now in the situation that we’ve been in losing quarterbacks, the quarterbacks all have to say to themselves, ‘Hey, look, maybe I need to throw this ball away or go down because it is the best thing for our team right now.”’

Sounds like advice that was given to Robert Griffin III. And Josh McCown. And Terrelle Pryor. And Charlie Whitehurst. And Hogan. And eventually Joe Callahan, who seems destined to get a turn this year.

OK, maybe not Whitehurst, he’s gone. But the point stands.

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Roethlisberger does individual work Tuesday, hopes for full return next week

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on the sidelines in the second half during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on October 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers held a practice on Tuesday before everyone scatters for the bye week and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a limited participant in the session.

Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan that he did individual work a little more than a week after he had surgery on the injured meniscus in his knee. He also said that he hopes to return to play against the Ravens in Week Nine, something that he thinks would require getting in a fuller practice session in the days leading up to the game.

“Typically I would say no, but it would be nice because I need to know what I can and can’t do,” Roethlisberger said. “Mentally, no, I don’t need it. But physically, just to know what I’m capable of doing … I think in this situation it would smart to get a good, full practice in.”

There were various reports about how long Roethlisberger would be out after he was injured against the Dolphins in Week Six with Steelers president Art Rooney II calling a 2-3 week timeline the best-case scenario.

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Allen Robinson suggests Jaguars have better home-field advantage in London

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 23:   Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars fights for yardage after a catch as Reggie Nelson #27 of the Oakland Raiders closes in during the game at EverBank Field on October 23, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars fans in Jacksonville have supported the team steadfastly, despite nearly a decade of mediocrity. But with increased expectations in 2016 that aren’t being met, the locals are getting restless.

And that isn’t sitting well with receiver Allen Robinson.

“When you hear the atmosphere of when we step out on the field, when we go to punt or before halftime when Blake [Bortles] takes a knee and you hear the booing, it’s kind of funny to me,” Robinson said, via Michael DiRocco of “It’s funny that we get our best home-field advantage when we go to Wembley [Stadium].”

The Jaguars have been playing one home game in London per year, with the other seven played in Jacksonville.

The team has played six games this year, winning two but not performing on offense the way they did a year ago. The next chance to win comes on Thursday night against the Titans. Another loss could grease the skids toward major changes for the organization.

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Joe Namath says “my bad” after questioning severity of Geno Smith injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02:  Joe Namath talks with Phil Simms prior to start of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks  at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Joe Namath has issued an apology for something that didn’t require the advance consumption of Tic Tacs.

On Sunday, Namath questioned the severity of Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s knee injury.

“If you’ve got a right knee injury keeping you out of the game why are you standing on the sideline the entire 2nd half?” Namath tweeted. “How bad can it be?

As it turned out, pretty bad. Geno Smith has a torn ACL.

“Somebody tell Joe that the doctors have the final say on whether you can or cannot get back into the game,” Smith tweeted, “and also that I love him!”

Namath then issued an apology, although arguably half-hearted and incomplete.

My bad Geno,” Namath said. “In the dark ages we players had the say. I hope you heal and play as long as you choose!”

So, basically, Namath is saying that, in his day, players played with a torn ACL, if they wanted to. Presumably, they also played with various other ailments, if they wanted to. Including concussions, presumably.

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Doug Pederson concerned about fumbles, but not down on Ryan Mathews

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles fumbles the ball against Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles running back Ryan Mathews lost a fumble in the fourth quarter for the second time in three games against the Vikings, although the turnover didn’t wind up hurting the team in a 21-10 victory.

That wasn’t the case in Week Five against the Lions, when Detroit took advantage of Mathews’ miscue to drive for a go-ahead field goal in what became a 24-23 victory. Mathews lost three fumbles for the Eagles last year and has fumbled 20 times over the course of his career, although neither recent nor distant history have coach Doug Pederson feeling down about the back.

“Well, it’s definitely a concern and we don’t want to see it, especially in those situations – four-minute situations there at the end of the game,” Pederson said in his Monday press confrence. “We’ve got to continue to either find out if he’s tired, where he’s at at the end of the game; if we need to put Wendell [Smallwood] or Darren [Sproles] in there – we’ll find out more about that. But by no means am I down on Ryan at all. We just have to make sure that he understands that he can’t obviously do that and put ourselves in a situation where we’re giving the ball back to the opponent.”

Whether Mathews understands that it’s a negative to fumble the ball or not is secondary to whether he’s doing the right things to avoid turnovers that can make life more difficult for his team. His history says its an issue and it probably won’t take more than another fumble or two for the Eagles to rethink who is getting the ball down the stretch in games.

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Senior Bowl was glimpse of the future for Cowboys

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: North team's quarterback Carson Wentz #11 with North Dakota State looks to throw a pass during their game against the South Team on January 30, 2016 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys got a head start on scouting this week’s opponent, although when they were looking at Carson Wentz, it was with an eye toward the possibility he might be around for longer than a week.

The guy they coached at the Senior Bowl was taken before they had a chance to draft him, and as you may have heard, they found a rookie of their own they like in Dak Prescott. But make no mistake, they were convinced Wentz had the chance to be good.

He clearly loves football,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the Eagles quarterback, via Todd Archer of “He’s very passionate about it. He’s a smart football player. He’s a talented football player. I thought he grew over the course of the week, a real tribute to the approach that he took. He had a real command with his teammates. I thought he played well in practice, played well in the game. Very impressed by him.”

Wentz was able to go through the week under Cowboys coaches before they knew they’d be facing him twice a year, and he ran a scaled-back version of their offense. And they liked the way he was able to pick up things quickly, which would have made things interesting if he had somehow lasted until the fourth pick in the draft, as he was the highest-rated quarterback on their board.

“I’m not so sure he had ever lost a game, maybe one or two,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “The thing that blew me away was he never made anything lower than like an A in school. I said, ‘Well, you broke my record. I didn’t make it through kindergarten without getting a B.’ But he was really sharp. And he’s a really talented kid. I’m not surprised he’s doing well at all.”

But the Senior Bowl was also when the Cowboys met Prescott, who was playing for the South team that week. And while Wentz got off to the high-profile start, Prescott has shown himself more than able to be a starter, now and in the future.

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Gase attributes surge to healthy o-line, tunnel vision

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head coach Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins confers with some of his players against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Dolphins were 1-4, plenty of their fans were ready to abandon ship. But first-year coach Adam Gase continued to believe.

His belief has paid off with a pair of wins, heading into the bye week. Appearing on Monday’s PFT Live, Gase attributed the surge to one primary factor.

“I think the fact that we got our five starting offensive lineman back has been obviously a big part of that,” Gase said. “It’s changed the whole way that we’ve been able to play the game where the offense is staying on the field for a longer period of time. We have better time of possession. Our defense is actually getting to do what we built it to do, which is rush the passer and really not play 75 to 80 plays a game. It was a little ridiculous there for the first five games of the season where they were playing just way too many snaps.”

Gase helped weather the early-season storm by shutting out the noise.

“I think it’s easy when you don’t look at the Internet and don’t look at Twitter and don’t listen to radio and don’t watch TV,” Gase said. “So that makes it easy. You just kind of live in your own little bubble and just keep working every day. Our players, I think, did a great job of trying to do the same thing. I know it’s a little tougher for them because they’re out in the public a lot and people have family members and agents and fans. They have more access to them so they probably have to hear a little bit more than what a lot of our coaching staff has to hear. So I’m sure it’s a little tougher to just kind of stay in that tunnel and just keep fighting.”

Why doesn’t Gase consume any media about his team?

“I think it’s just putting negativity in your head,” Gase said. “I just stay away from it. I think we’ve been so busy, there’s so much going on for us right now as far as kind of what we’re trying to do down here. I know our coaching staff is working really hard to keep coming back every day and giving our players a great plan and try to put them in a good position. We haven’t had a lot of time for anything out side of football.”

Whatever they’re doing (or not doing), it’s currently working. And with some extra time to further heal up and plan for the final nine games of the season, Gase and the Dolphins could still make plenty of noise in the AFC.

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Ravens designate Matt Elam for return from injured reserve

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 26 :  Matt Elam #26 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after making a defensive stop during the second quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 26, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens have made their choice for a player to return from injured reserve this season.

The team announced on Tuesday that it will be safety Matt Elam, who was placed on injured reserve after injuring his knee and having surgery in the preseason. He is practicing with the team on Tuesday and Baltimore will have three weeks before they’ll have to add him to the 53-man roster or lose him for the rest of the year.

Elam, the team’s 2013 first-round pick, has not played in a regular season game since the 2014 season. He missed all of last season with a biceps injury and will have the extra time provided by the bye week to get back up to speed.

The Ravens have suffered several injuries in the secondary over the course of the season and placed safety Kendrick Lewis on injured reserve last week. Lardarius Webb also left last Sunday’s loss to the Jets with a hamstring injury.

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Pete Carroll optimistic Seahawks run game is coming around

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Pete Carroll is optimistic, primarily because Pete Carroll is optimistic.

But the Seahawks coach is convinced that his team’s moribund run game is going to improve soon, and maybe the reason is that it just can’t get much worse.

Via Sheil Kapadia of, Carroll said he hopes the return of running back Thomas Rawls from his fibula injury the week after next will spark an offense that is a shell of its former self.

This is what we’re counting on right now,” Carroll said. “We’re counting on him running this week, and then next week [against the Bills] preparing to play. That’s what we’re counting on unless something changes.”

That won’t help them this week against the Saints, but they’re playing the Saints, whose defense is historically bad. But the Seahawks are averaging a meager 3.12 yards per carry, which is next to last in the league.

The absence of Rawls and the limitations of quarterback Russell Wilson because of his knee and ankle injuries have kept them from running effectively, but Carroll said Wilson was improving.

“He is getting better,” Carroll said. “He got out of this game maybe for the first time, he felt nothing of carryover on his ankle or his knee, which is really good. There’s always a little bit of aftermath. He didn’t feel that from what I understand.”

Of course, they’re going to have to try to fix things with another patchwork offensive line, as left tackle Bradley Sowell is going to miss some time with an MCL sprain. Whether that negates the return of Rawls and Wilson’s getting healthier will be seen, but the best answer this week might just be their opponent.

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Donte Moncrief expected back at practice this week

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 08:  Donte Moncrief #10 of the Indianapolis Colts reaches to catch a pass during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Colts are 3-4 after the first seven weeks of the season, but still sit firmly in the mix for the AFC South title with the Texans currently leading the division with a 4-3 record.

Their chances of moving up in the pecking order would likely increase with a healthier roster and there are some good signs on that front heading into Week Eight. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said that the team expects to have wide receiver Donte Moncrief on the field at practice this week.

“Moncrief has a good chance to get back into the swing of things,” Pagano said, via the team’s website. “I think he will get on the field on Wednesday in a limited capacity.”

Moncrief has not played since Week Two due to a fractured scapula and he only took nine snaps in that game before getting hurt, so he hasn’t had much of a presence on the field for Indianapolis this season. Moncrief was second on the team in both catches and receiving yards last season.

There may be others rejoining the team this week. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury and Pagano said he is “trending in the right direction.” Defensive linemen Henry Anderson and Zach Kerr are also expected to work this week as the Colts prepare to face the Chiefs.

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Jaguars lose Roy Miller to torn Achilles

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Roy Miller III #97 of Jacksonville Jaguars makes his way to the pitch during the NFL game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at Wembley Stadium on October 25, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jaguars have lost a starter on their defensive line for the rest of the season.

The team announced Tuesday that nose tackle Roy Miller tore his right Achilles in last Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. Miller will have surgery and be placed on injured reserve.

Miller started all six games for the Jaguars this season and 50 games overall for the Jaguars since joining the team in 2013. He had 10 tackles this season and had 94 tackles and five sacks during his three previous seasons with the team.

While Miller was the starter, the Jaguars have used a variety of defensive linemen this season and he played on just over 36 percent of the snaps through the first six games. Sen’Derrick Marks, Abry Jones and rookie Sheldon Day are still on hand to play with Malik Jackson on the interior of the Jacksonville line.

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Logistical issues plague possible China game

images Getty Images

The NFL is ready to play a regular-season game in China. The challenge arises primarily from what happens after the game played in China.

“The main focus of the work now is as much about how does a team come back from China and then play and be competitive after a trip like that?” NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller told Alex Marvez of Sporting News. “It’s less of the focus on the game in China itself.”

Some would say the focus shouldn’t be China at all, and that the NFL should focus on the “National” aspect of its title. At a time when TV ratings are sharply down domestically, the league could keep mining for gold in other countries, or it could devote assets to renew the zeal and passion of existing fans.

It’s far cheaper and simpler to keep existing customers than to harvest new ones. Maybe China, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, England, and elsewhere should take a back seat to the United States, with the overriding goal being to make American football great again.


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Steelers expect Ladarius Green to practice today

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (80) stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL exhibition football game against the Detroit Lions in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

The Steelers haven’t gotten anything from tight end Ladarius Green since signing him as a free agent this offseason due to an ankle injury that led him to the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.

That may change once the team returns from their bye week, though. The team announced that Green is expected to practice with the team on Tuesday.

Green said he’s been able to keep up on the mental end of things while he’s been rehabbing his ankle, but that on-field work will represent a significant change.

“It’s a big difference,” Green said, via the team’s website. “You can learn as much as you want to but until you go on the field and actually go through it, it’s a big difference. I had a good while to learn the playbook. I learned it pretty much and am pretty good at it. Until you go on the field and run it, it’s a totally different animal.”

Returning to practice opens up a 21-day window for the Steelers to decide whether to activate Green or shut him down for the rest of the season. Jesse James and Xavier Grimble have been the tight ends for the Steelers in Green’s absence and they’ve combine to catch 30 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

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