49ers sign Jerry Attaochu to one-year deal

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The 49ers have signed outside linebacker Jerry Attaochu to a one-year deal, his representatives, SportsTrust Advisors, announced on Twitter.

The Chargers moved up in the second round in 2014 to select Attaochu, who left Georgia Tech as the school’s all-time sack leader with 31.5. But his four seasons with the Chargers were defined by injuries.

Attaochu, 25, played in only 38 games, including only 13 starts.

He injured his hamstring before last season and ended up playing only four games in an injury-plagued 2017.

Chiefs will induct Tony Gonzalez into team’s Hall of Fame

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The Chiefs announced they will induct former tight end Tony Gonzalez into the team’s Chiefs’ Hall of Fame in 2018. He becomes the 48th individual and 44th player to earn the honor, which the Chiefs will celebrate during the 48th annual 101 Awards banquet in Kansas City on February 24.

Gonzalez’s official enshrinement ceremony will take place during the team’s Alumni Weekend at Arrowhead Stadium this fall.

“Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end in the history of the National Football League and one of the greatest Chiefs of all time,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said, via a team press release. “In his 12 seasons in Kansas City, he revolutionized his position, and his record-breaking performances and commitment to the Kansas City community made him one of the most beloved players in the Chiefs’ Kingdom. As a family and as an organization, we are excited to have the chance to celebrate Tony and his incredible career in the coming season, and we look forward to adding his name to its rightful place in the Ring of Honor at Arrowhead this fall.”

Gonzalez finished his 17-year career with numerous NFL records for tight ends, including most career receptions (1,325), most receiving yards (15,127), most 100-yard receiving games (31) and second-most touchdown receptions (111) behind Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (114). While first among tight ends, Gonzalez’s 1,325 career receptions are second only to Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice (1,549) in NFL history.

“I’m so proud to have been a part of the Chiefs for 12 seasons and will always feel like a part of their family,” said Gonzalez, who finished his career in Atlanta. “Kansas City is dear to me and I am honored to be inducted into their Hall of Fame.”

Yannick Ngakoue fined $18,231 for hit on Tyrod Taylor

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The NFL fined Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue $18,231 for unnecessary roughness.

It was Ngakoue’s third fine this season. He was fined $24,309 for a roughing-the-passer penalty on a hit on Deshaun Watson in the season opener. And the league docked him $30,387 for contact with an official in a December 24 game against the 49ers.

His latest fine comes for hitting Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was sliding feet first. Officials flagged Ngakoue for the second-quarter hit, and the Bills scored their only points of the game on the drive.

Dolphins fire running backs coach, interview Eric Studesville

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Former Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville interviewed for the Giants head coaching position Wednesday. He interviewed for a Dolphins staff position Thursday, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports.

It is uncertain if the staff position is the running backs spot, but the Dolphins have fired running backs coach Danny Barrett, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports.

Studesville has 17 years experience as a running backs coach, including three seasons with the Giants (2001-03). The Broncos fired him as their running backs coach after the 2017 season.

In 2010, Studesville was 1-3 as the Broncos’ interim head coach after McDaniels was fired. The Giants are not expected to hire him as their head coach.

Jerry Jones apologizes for “inappropriate” comment

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has apologized for a racially insensitive comment from four years ago that surfaced this week.

“That comment was inappropriate,” Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s not who I am, and I’m sorry.”

Gossip website theblast.com posted the 2013 video of Jones at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas after a man with a smart phone asked the Cowboys owner to offer congratulations to his fiancee.

“Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he’s with a black girl tonight, don’t you?” Jones said, looking into the camera and laughing.

Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders defended Jones.

“I won’t cast judgment on one moment when a joke went south, to capture who this man represents in a lifetime commitment of love and compassion to all ethnicities,” Sanders said, via Hill. “He has gone beyond the call of duty of being an NFL owner for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and I know this to be a fact. A joke that was intended to add humor at the request of a fan in a light-hearted moment was taken totally out of intent. I’m sorry we’re in this state of mind as a country, but if you’re looking for a racist, Jerry Jones is not that guy.”

Markus Wheaton reportedly has torn groin

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Bears wide receiver Markus Wheaton has a torn groin and could miss four to six weeks, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Bears listed Wheaton as limited at Thursday’s practice.

Wheaton has had a rough year. He underwent surgery to repair a labrum in his shoulder in January; he had an appendectomy to start training camp; and he broke a finger on his left hand in August.

Wheaton has only one catch on nine targets for 9 yards in three games this season.

NFL’s touchback experiment may continue in 2017

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The NFL began an experiment in 2016, pushing the starting line following a kickoff from the 20- to 25-yard line as part of a stated effort to increase the number of touchbacks and decrease the number of player injuries.

Its experiment may continue.

At next week’s league owner meetings, the NFL Competition Committee will present the option to extend the one-year experiment to at least a two-year one. The committee was “pleased” with the 2016 results, said Dean Blandino, senior vice president of officiating.

“Touchbacks were up,” Blandino said in a media conference call Thursday. “The lowest rate of return in NFL history at 39.3 percent. We’re proposing that for another year to get another year’s worth of data and then evaluate that after the 2017 season.”

A second season will help determine if the 2016 touchback figures were a fluke. That possibility seems unlikely, considering each season provides a fairly amply sample size for kickoffs; there were more than 2,600 last year, not including onside kicks.

If the results repeat, the temporary rule may become a permanent one. This benefits offenses. The average starting position following a kickoff was the 24.8-yard line last season, a notable jump from 21.7 in 2015.

With Decker’s status uncertain, Jets try out a bunch of receivers


Maybe because they’re uncertain about the status of Eric Decker — and along those lines, Devin Smith — or maybe just because teams are always looking, the Jets worked out a bunch of wide receivers on Tuesday.

It was reportedd earlier Tuesday that the Jets had quarterback-turned-wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Corey Washington in for a workout. That workout also included wide receivers Josh Lenz, DaVaris Daniels, Titus Davis and Daniel Brown, none of whom have ever played in an NFL game.

Quarterback Bryn Renner, who spent the offseason and preseason with the Ravens, was also on the Jets’ tryout list and could have been there to throw to the receivers.

Pryor’s workout was previously scheduled; Washington tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he won’t be signing with the Jets. Jets Coach Todd Bowles said Tuesday that the team won’t know if Eric Decker can play this week until later in the week after Decker sprained his knee in Monday night’s win.

Smith, a second-round pick, suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung early in training camp and didn’t return to practice until the week of the season opener. He’s been inactive for both games as the Jets play it safe — and slow — with his recovery.

Packers hope extra rest benefits Adams, Lacy


The Packers are dealing with ankle injuries to two of their top playmakers, but not playing until next Monday night could help the team have running back Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams available against the Chiefs.

On Monday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team won’t practice again until Thursday because of the extra day, and only when he sees Adams and Lacy try to give it a go will he know more about their status for the next game. That’s an indication the team doesn’t believe either suffered a serious injury, as was reported Monday by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“I think any time you have ankle injuries, particularly with the perimeter players, until they get out there and hit the practice field, we really won’t know,” McCarthy said.

Adams returned to the game vs. the Seahawks Sunday night but Lacy was injured in the first half and missed the remainder of the game.

Decker leaves game with knee injury, will have MRI


The Jets had a really good night in Indianapolis, but wide receiver Eric Decker left the game in the second half with what the team is calling a knee injury.

Decker caught eight passes for 97 yards and the game’s first touchdown as the Jets had their way with the banged-up secondary of the Colts.

Decker was taken to the locker room in the fourth quarter. After the game, Jets coach Todd Bowles said Decker will have an MRI on Tuesday.

T.Y. Hilton limps off, but Colts finally score

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A bad night for the Colts got worse with a little over 11 minutes left when wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was slow getting up after a catch-and-run and limped to the sideline.

Hilton injured his knee in the third quarter of the season opener and was officially listed as questionable by the team leading up to Monday night’s game vs. the Jets. He only practiced once last week.

The Colts previously lost tight end Dwyane Allen (ankle) and cornerback Vontae Davis (concussion) to injuries from which they won’t return to this game.

Their first points — and first positive moment since the first quarter, really — came two plays after Hilton limped off when Andrew Luck threw a touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief to cut the Jets’ lead to 10-7. Luck has turned the ball over three times, twice on interceptions.

Cowboys will take a look at veteran quarterbacks

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With Tony Romo out due to a broken clavicle, the Cowboys will explore veteran options at quarterback.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said during halftime of the Colts-Jets Monday Night Football broadcast that Josh Johnson, Christian Ponder and Matt Flynn are among the names expected to work out for the Cowboys this week. That meshes with a similar report by ESPN’s Ed Werder.

The Fort Worth-Star Telegram reported that the workout will take place Tuesday and will also include McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Brandon Weeden replaced Romo Sunday and is the quarterback for now. The Cowboys kept Romo and Weeden as their only active roster quarterbacks but have two on the practice squad, Jameill Showers and Kellen Moore.

Romo doesn’t plan to have surgery and is expected to be out for eight weeks.

Already short on corners, Colts lose Davis to concussion

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Already down three of their top four cornerbacks, the Colts lost the fourth in the second quarter Monday night when Vontae Davis was taken out of the game and back to the locker room to be examined for a possible concussion.

The team announced in the second half Davis had a concussion and won’t return.

Davis appeared to go helmet-to-helmet to with Jets running back Bilal Powell with a little less than four minutes left in the second quarter while dropping Powell for a short gain on a screen pass. He was escorted back to the locker room just before the two-minute warning, so he’s at least done for the first half.

The Colts already had injured cornerbacks Greg Toler and Darius Butler on the inactive list for the game due to injury and last week had to place D’Joun Smith on injured-reserve/designated for return.

Colts tight Dwayne Allen also left the game with an ankle injury and won’t return.

Mathis playing for first time in 20 months


A long road for Robert Mathis finally lands him back in a Colts uniform tonight.

Mathis suffered a torn Achilles while working out on his own during a four-game suspension last year. His presence for the Colts’ Monday night game vs. the Jets marks his first game since Jan. 11, 2014, in a playoff loss to the Patriots.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Mathis needed to have 10 surgical procedures over the last year to prevent infections and ensure that his Achilles healed correctly. While it’s understandable that the Colts played it safe with Mathis through camp and held him out last week, he’s had no known setbacks or complications over the last several weeks.

A fifth-round pick in 2003 who’s played his entire career with the Colts, Mathis has 111 career sacks. His career-best 19.5 sacks led the NFL in 2013.

Even if he’s not the same player at 34 and off a year-plus absence, the Colts think he can get to opposing quarterbacks and boost a defense that hopes to be playing with a lead and coming after the passer more than it’s not.

Hilton, Cromartie both active for Monday Night Football


The official inactive lists are out for Monday night’s Jets-Colts game, and the Jets will have cornerback Antonio Cromartie available.

Cromartie injured his knee in last week’s win over the Browns, but further testing revealed no major damage. Cromartie, a 10-year vet, has never missed a game in his career due to injury. The Jets listed him as questionable on their final injury report.

Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was originally feared to be out for a couple of weeks, but the Colts got him back for practice on Saturday and will have him in the lineup.

The game will also mark the return of Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles. Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2013.

As expected, the Colts will be without injured starting cornerback Greg Toler. Also inactive for the Colts are Darius Butler, Jonathan Newsome, Denzelle Good, Zach Kerr, Nate Irving, and T.Y. McGill.

Inactive for the Jets are Geno Smith, Devin Smith, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jarvis Harrison, Ben Ijalana, Deon Simon and Darrin Walls.