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Gruden: RG3 has a concussion, will remain the starter

Washington Redskins OTAs Getty Images

Robert Griffin III was treated for a shoulder injury and a concussion after being sacked for the third time in four series Thursday night. After some initial confusion sparked by Joe Theismann saying on the team-owned broadcast that Griffin had been cleared, Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed after the team’s preseason win over the Lions that Griffin did suffer a concussion.

He didn’t want to say much else about it.

“Obviously won’t be fielding any questions (about it),” Gruden told reporters after confirming that Griffin had a concussion. “We’ll get a further exam and do all the things we have to do.”

Pressed on whether he thought about removing Griffin from the game after three series, 10 total yards and a handful of big hits the quarterback took, Gruden said “We felt confident in our tackle and our offensive line to try to get something going there in that fourth drive. Obviously it didn’t happen.”

Willie Smith started at left tackle in place of Trent Williams, who sat out with a right foot issue Gruden said was not serious.

Gruden said Griffin’s shoulder is OK — the initial diagnosis was “right-side stinger” — and said he anticipates Griffin returning to the starting lineup when he’s cleared.

“Depending on how long he’s out he’s going to be our starter,” Gruden said. “We have to go through the whole process and see how he recovers.”

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Redskins can’t get RG3 concussion story straight

Robert Griffin AP

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III left Thursday’s preseason game in the second quarter to be evaluated for a right-side stinger and a possible concussion.

Joe Theismann, a color analyst on the Redskins’ preseason broadcast, told viewers that Griffin had taken a concussion test and been cleared. That news was passed along by several outlets, including this one.

But at halftime a Redskins spokesman told others who asked that the team had no comment on Griffin’s health and that he had “no idea” where Theismann got the information he passed along. The Redskins said Griffin was out for the night — he wasn’t returning, anyway — but would not confirm anything regarding the concussion test.

The final answer is that it will be addressed by Redskins coach Jay Gruden after the game.

Griffin was sacked three times and took several other stiff shots in four series, three that ended in punts and one in a lost fumble, vs. the Lions.

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Browns down eight defensive backs tonight

Tramon Williams AP

The Bills are without their top three receivers for tonight’s preseason game in Cleveland, and the Browns will play without eight defensive backs.

If the game really meant anything, that would be a fair trade. As is, the Browns list 19 players out due to injury and eight of them are defensive backs. That’s an attention-grabbing number.

Sixth-round rookie Charles Gaines will start for Joe Haden (hamstring), and the first-team work can’t hurt Gaines in his quest to make the team. The Browns probably don’t want their other starting cornerback, 32-year old Tramon Williams, playing too much at this stage but they aren’t left with much choice.

Justin Gilbert needs the reps, too, but he suffered a hip flexor on Tuesday in practice. He started last week in Haden’s place, but the 2014 first-rounder played on the second team behind Pierre Desir early in camp when Haden got a veteran’s day off.

Desir, Robert Nelson, Tashaun Gipson, K’Waun Williams and De’Ante Saunders are also sitting. Jordan Poyer starts at safety in place of Gipson, who was leading the NFL in interceptions before getting injured late last November. The Browns came into camp expecting to have a strong secondary and they still can, but for now they’re just trying to find enough healthy bodies to make it through tonight’s game.

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Eifert gives Bengals a scare, walks off on his own

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Tight end Tyler Eifert gave the Bengals a scare when he went up for a pass in Thursday’s practice and landed flat on his back, but all indications are that Eifert is fine after spending a couple minutes with team trainers.

Geoff Hobson of tweeted that Eifert may have just lost his wind and needed some time to gather himself.

Eifert is having a strong camp and figures to play a prominent role if the Bengals can keep the 2013 first-round pick healthy and on the field.

An elbow injury in the 2014 opener ended Eifert’s season. The team was eager to move on from Jermaine Gresham after last season, though, and the thought of having a healthy Eifert in the middle and a healthy Marvin Jones on the perimeter to take some of the pressure (and extra coverage) off of A.J. Green is an exciting one for the Bengals. Most eyes are still on Andy Dalton (and Marvin Lewis) when it comes to winning the biggest games and getting the Bengals to the next level, but Dalton having a full complement of weapons in an offense that figures to run through power back Jeremy Hill is very important.

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Freeman, Coleman could play for Falcons Friday

Devonta Freeman AP

Just having them back at practice marks progress, and new Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters Thursday he won’t rule out having either Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman — or maybe both — in the backfield for Friday night’s preseason game vs. the Jets.

The Falcons struggled to run the ball last year with Steven Jackson as the lead back and came into camp with the lead back’s job open. Freeman played in all 16 games as a rookie, rushing 65 times for 248 yards and a touchdown.

Coleman, a third-round rookie for whom the team has high hopes, was injured Aug. 5. Freeman was injured the next day. Both returned to practice earlier this week.

Injuries to those two and Antone Smith have opened the door for third-year pro Michael Ford and undrafted rookie Terron Ward to get more opportunities in camp.

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“So far, so good” for Clowney in restricted practice

Jadeveon Clowney AP

Three practices into a comeback from December microfracture surgery, Jadeveon Clowney is getting more work and starting to look more like the player the Texans selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

“So far, so good,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien told reporters of Clowney’s progress Wednesday.

Clowney was activated from the physically unable to perform list Monday, a date the team had targeted, and participated in individual drills. He played in four games, starting two, but did not record a sack in his rookie season.

The 6’5, 266-pound Clowney was featured on Tuesday night’s second episode of Hard Knocks. The segment was mostly about his rehab and showed video from last week of Clowney working with trainers after the rest of the team had finished practice.

The show also featured an in-practice conversation during which Clowney told J.J. Watt that he would definitely be on the field for the season opener.

Having him back alongside Watt for the games that count has been the goal all along.

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Kelvin Benjamin carted off the practice field, will undergo MRI

Adam Jones, Kelvin Benjamin AP

Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was injured during Wednesday morning’s practice and eventually carted off.

According to tweets from the scene, trainers were working on Benjamin’s left leg. He was working against Reshad Jones in a one-on-one drill when he suffered what appears to be a non-contact injury.

After practice, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Benjamin had a knee sprain and would get an MRI in Charlotte later Wednesday.

Benjamin had 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. After being the most targeted rookie leaguewide and getting the seventh-most targets of any player in the NFL, Benjamin came to camp lighter this year in hopes losing weight would help him beat nagging hamstring injuries.

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Zack Martin injured during practice with Rams

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Cowboys right guard Zack Martin gave the team a scare during Tuesday’s joint practice with the Rams when he went down on the field for several minutes.

According to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, trainers initially called for a cart but Martin eventually sat up and walked off on his own. Williams tweeted that Jerry Jones came to check on Martin while he sat on the field.

Several tweets indicated that trainers were working on either Martin’s shoulder or neck.

A first-round pick in 2014, Martin’s immediate success helped the Cowboys become one of the NFL’s best offensive lines a year ago.

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Justin Gilbert injured early in final Browns-Bills practice

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Second-year Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert had quite a day Monday when the Browns and Bills held a joint practice in Rochester.

Tuesday, he had a much shorter day. Gilbert left early in the teams’ final joint practice session after going down and needing an assist from team trainers to get up and head to the sideline.

Trainers placed ice and a protective wrap on Gilbert’s right quad, and he watched the rest of practice from the sideline. After practice Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters Gilbert suffered a hip flexor.

The Browns were hoping Gilbert, the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft, would bounce back from a lost rookie season, but he’s struggled in camp and in last week’s preseason opener. The Browns spent $7 million for this season to bring in veteran cornerback Tramon Williams in case Gilbert didn’t catch on quickly, and though it’s early, that looks like a sound decision.

If his injury lingers, the Browns will likely be really short on cornerbacks Thursday when the Browns and Bills play a preseason game in Cleveland. Joe Haden and Pierre Desir, a 2014 fourth-rounder, sat out both practices with the Bills, and second-year nickelback K’Waun Williams also sat out Tuesday.

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Harbaugh: Perriman MRI “normal,” recovery slow

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Though rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman remains out with a knee injury he suffered on the first full day of training camp, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that an MRI came back “normal” for Perriman and that his recovery is moving more slowly than anticipated.

Torrey Smith’s offseason departure for San Francisco left Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco without his top deep ball threat and probably made Perriman more appealing to the Ravens, who took the former Central Florida speedster at No. 26 in this year’s draft.

Though he’s missing valuable practice time, the MRI should ease concerns within the organization that Perriman had suffered significant damage to the knee.

“I hate that he’s not out here,” Harbaugh said over the weekend. “I have a knot in the pit of my stomach in some ways about it. In other ways, I know it’s all out of our control, and I’ll put it in God’s hands and let him take care of it. To me, that’s the best strategy, right there.”

Harbaugh has said for more than a week that he hopes Perriman will be back “soon,” but the delay in his recovery from the July 30 injury means he’ll miss three joint practices with the Eagles this week and at least one more preseason game.

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Anthony Barr back on the practice field

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Outside linebacker Anthony Barr is back on the practice field, and the Vikings hope to have the 2014 first-round pick back in action for the rest of the preseason.

Barr had four sacks last year before having season-ending knee surgery in November. A separate knee issue kept him out for much of the spring, and he’s missed the team’s first two preseason games.

He’s feeling good,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “We should get him some reps this week (vs. Oakland).”

The Vikings lost starting right tackle Phil Loadholt to a torn Achilles tendon two plays into last weekend’s preseason game. Running back Adrian Peterson’s return to action likely won’t come until the Sept. 13 season opener.

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Bills lose backup linebacker to torn ACL; two receivers leave due to heat

Marquise Goodwin, Terence Newman AP

Bills wide receivers Chris Hogan and Marquise Goodwin left Monday’s practice with the Browns due to heat-related issues, Bills coach Rex Ryan said.

Goodwin collapsed on the sideline at one point, sending trainers scrambling to assist him. Ryan said after practice that he was told Goodwin and Hogan were feeling better and would be available for Tuesday’s Browns-Bills practices, which will be held in the evening and presumably in cooler conditions.

With Sammy Watkins also leaving the practice due to a sore glute, the Bills were left thin at receiver in a practice during which they also lost backup middle linebacker Ty Powell to a torn ACL.

“Terrible news,” Ryan said of Powell.

Rookie running back Karlos Williams woke up Monday morning “in a lot of pain,” Ryan said, and is in a local hospital. What exactly is ailing Williams isn’t yet known.

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Chiefs LT Fisher limps off practice field

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Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft and the starting left tackle for the Chiefs, limped off the practice field Monday morning and was eventually taken by cart for further examination.

Fisher rode in the front of the cart, which is a good sign, after team trainers worked on his left ankle.

The Chiefs moved Donald Stephenson from right tackle to left tackle for the rest of practice and Jarrod Pughsley, the second-team left tackle on the depth chart, took over on the right side. The Chiefs have been practicing without starting right guard Jeff Allen; 2014 sixth-round pick Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was in his place Monday.

It’s a big year for Fisher, who shed “20-30 pounds” of body fat in the offseason, thanks in part to boxing. Fisher and the Chiefs feel he made “big strides” last season, his first back at his natural left tackle spot, and that he’ll continue to progress. For now, though, both Fisher and the team are hoping he just has a minor injury.

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Apparently desperate Giants sign Brandon Meriweather

Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Getty Images

The Giants have been losing defensive backs to injury seemingly by the hour, and it’s gotten to the point that the team signed veteran safety Brandon Meriweather on Sunday.

Meriweather has twice served suspensions for hits involving his helmet and/or hits on defenseless players. A two-game suspension served last season for a preseason hit was based on his history of such incidents.

The Giants need warm bodies and experience, so Meriweather fits as a low-cost addition. Rookie safety Mykkele Thompson was placed on injured reserve this weekend after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the preseason opener in Cincinnati, and fellow safeties Landon Collins and Nat Berhe are day-to-day with injuries. Four Giants cornerbacks have been in and out of practice with their own ailments.

Meriweather, 31, started all 10 games he played for the Redskins last year. He’s played in 99 games since New England made him a first-round pick in 2007. He made two Pro Bowls with the Patriots.

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Jets rookie WR Smith hopeful he’ll be back for opener

Devin Smith AP

Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith told reporters Sunday he hopes to be healthy and ready to play in the team’s Sept. 13 regular-season opener.

It’s probably not up to Smith, though he said he’s been told the punctured lung he suffered in an early August practice is healed, and that all he can do with his broken ribs is rest and wait for the team’s medical staff to clear him.

The pain was so bad, Smith said, that until recently he couldn’t sleep in a regular bed and instead had to be propped up on a hospital-type bed.

The Jets initially said Smith would miss 4-6 weeks but coach Todd Bowles said he hoped Smith would “come back sooner than that” from what he called “a freak accident.” Smith was hit in the back by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett after catching a deflected pass.

A second-round pick, Smith was the best deep ball receiver in the 2015 draft class and one of the fastest receivers of the bunch, too. He also will help on special teams eventually, too; in addition to having return ability, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said on multiple occasions last season he told NFL teams that Smith was one of the best punt gunners he’d ever coached.

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