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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

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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

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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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Browns backup QB Connor Shaw needs thumb surgery

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Browns backup quarterback Connor Shaw, who started the team’s 2014 finale, is headed for surgery after sustaining an injury to his right thumb during the team’s preseason opener.

Shaw was an undrafted rookie who spent the first 15 weeks of last season on the practice squad before being promoted to start in Baltimore. The team said he’ll miss an “extended period” of time with this injury.

The Browns brought four quarterbacks to camp, so Shaw’s injury doesn’t force them to make a move. But events of the last week — the Geno Smith situation, for example — have served as a reminder that there just aren’t many, if any, realistic quarterback options still for hire.

Shaw was probably headed to the practice squad again before the injury; the team hasn’t announced (and probably hasn’t decided) how it will handle Shaw’s injury in regards to the 90-man camp roster. Assuming the other quarterbacks stay healthy, Browns coach Mike Pettine has been clear that Josh McCown is the starter and Johnny Manziel is the backup. Shaw’s injury leaves Thad Lewis as the guy who will get cleanup work in the remaining three preseason games and ultimately leave the Browns with a decision on whether or not to keep a third quarterback on the initial 53-man regular-season roster.

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Report: Loadholt suffered torn Achilles

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The 2015 season for Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt is in jeopardy after he suffered an apparent Achilles injury just two plays into the Vikings-Bucs preseason game Saturday night.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, citing a source, was first to report the nature of the injury.

Loadholt limped off with the assist of a member of the Vikings training staff. Soon after, a report on the TV broadcast by former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said the injury was “not good” and that Loadholt had tears in his eyes while awaiting the cart to be taken to the locker room.

Loadholt had started 89 of 91 career games before he missed the final five games of 2014 with a torn labrum. A powerful run blocker who’s listed at 6’8, 345, his loss is a significant one for a Vikings offense that plans to welcome back running back Adrian Peterson for the regular-season opener.

He was replaced by fourth-round rookie T.J. Clemmings, who played right tackle at Pitt.

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Loadholt limps off; initial report “not good”

Phil Loadholt AP

Just two plays into their preseason game Saturday night, Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt limped off the field with the assist of the team’s medical staff.

So, it probably won’t be long until Mike Zimmer yanks the rest of his offensive starters from the game against Tampa Bay. There’s just not enough to gain in these early preseason games.

A sideline report on the broadcast by former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said Loadholt was helped on to a cart with tears in his eyes as trainers worked on his left foot or ankle.

“He knows it’s something not good,” Leber said.

A starter since he was drafted in 2009, Loadholt was replaced by T.J. Clemmings, a fourth-round rookie out of Pitt. Loadholt missed the final five games of 2014 with a torn labrum.

The Vikings made a pressbox announcement that Loadholt is out for the game.

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Eagles will sit Bradford in preseason opener

Chip Kelly, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow AP

Considering his injury history, it’s no surprise that Eagles coach Chip Kelly announced Friday that the team will keep its new starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, on the sideline Sunday for the most meaningless of the preseason games.

Mark Sanchez, who re-signed with the team in March just before the Eagles traded for Bradford, will start Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, but Kelly said he’ll quickly be followed by Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow.

“We want to see Barkley and Tim play a while,” Kelly said.

Kelly said it’s his decision to keep Bradford out and “bring him along at the right pace,” and though he said Bradford isn’t happy about it, Kelly said it was “not a debate.”

Bradford hasn’t seen game action since last August, when tore his ACL for the second time in nine months during a Rams preseason game in Cleveland. Kelly said Bradford will debut with the Eagles Aug. 22 vs. the Ravens, marking exactly 52 weeks since that injury.

The Eagles will also be without their other big-name offseason acquisitions Sunday, running back DeMarco Murray and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Kelly is holding Murray out, while Alonso is recovering from a torn ACL and also needs to clear concussion protocol before returning to the practice field, something the team sees no reason to rush.

Tight end Zach Ertz will miss “a few weeks,” Kelly said, as he returns from a groin injury.

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Niles Paul suffers season-ending injury

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A gruesome first-quarter leg injury suffered by Niles Paul will end the veteran tight end’s season, Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed late Thursday night.

Paul’s left leg was rolled up by Browns linebacker Craig Robertson, and Gruden said after the preseason opener for both teams that Paul has a fractured and dislocated ankle.

“A huge loss for us,” Gruden said. “He’s a great player and leader.”

The Redskins listed Paul first on the initial depth chart earlier this week, ahead of Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen, both of whom missed the preseason opener with injuries. First-year tight end Je’Ronn Hamm suffered an eye injury in the game, meaning the Redskins will be scanning the waiver wire and/or calling free agents immediately.

Paul had 39 catches for 507 yards last year, the most productive of his career.

The Redskins also lost running back Silas Redd Jr. to a knee injury in the game. Gruden said the team believes Redd has an ACL or MCL injury but won’t know the extent until Redd undergoes an MRI.

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Sluggish start for RG3, Redskins includes Niles Paul injury

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Robert Griffin III played two series in the Redskins-Browns preseason opener Thursday night, completing 4-of-8 passes and taking a bunch of stiff shots after delivering those throws.

The Redskins got three points to show for his work. Pierre Garcon dropped what might have been a touchdown and certainly would have been a gain of 40-plus yards on the first drive after getting behind Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert.

Griffin’s pass was on the money, too, but Garcon didn’t finish the play. That drive ended when Griffin really had no one open on third down and tried to force one to rookie Evan Spence.

On the second drive Grffin completed a pass for no gain on a third and one but Alfred Morris kept the drive alive on fourth down. The Redskins settled for a field goal after that; on a third down miss Griffin took a big shot from blitzing Browns cornerback K’Waun Williams.

Griffin finished with 36 passing yards, all of those coming on three completions to Ryan Grant.

The Redskins lost tight end Niles Paul to injury late in the first quarter. He was carted off with a left leg injury after being rolled up on by Browns linebacker Craig Robertson. Trainers immediately placed an air cast on Paul.

Paul had the best season of his career with 39 catches last year. The Redskins held their other two veteran tight ends, Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen, out of the game with injuries.

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Browns holding Thomas, Haden out of preseason opener

Joe Thomas, Mike Pettine AP

Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who’s never missed a regular-season snap in his eight seasons with the Browns, will sit out tonight’s preseason opener vs. Washington, three days after he gave the team a scare when he went down in practice holding his knee.

The Browns say it’s not an injury but coach Mike Pettine’s decision to keep Thomas out tonight.

It might even help the team in the long run. Starting in his place will be first-round pick Cameron Erving, who can play multiple positions but doesn’t currently have a position in the team’s starting lineup.

It’s as simple as Erving needs the experience and Thomas doesn’t. The Browns immediately called the practice-field injury to Thomas minor, said it wouldn’t require and MRI and said they would proceed accordingly.

With Thomas and center Alex Mack, who broke his leg last October, the Browns have the makings of a very good offensive line and potentially one of the league’s best. Getting Erving some full-speed experience can’t hurt, so sitting Thomas in the most meaningless of the meaningless preseason games was probably an easy call.

The Browns have 18 players not dressing for the game. Among the other notables are wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor and cornerback Joe Haden. The team lists Haden as having a hamstring injury and will start 2014 first-round pick Justin Gilbert in his place.

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Peterson’s injury just a bruise; he won’t rush back

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Adrian Peterson missed Wednesday’s practice due to a thigh bruise, but he says there’s no reason for alarm and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says the same.

After having him in the lineup for just one game last year, the Vikings want Peterson for the games that count. He wasn’t going to play in Saturday’s preseason opener anyway.

Peterson, 30, has rarely played in the preseason in recent years, and there’s no real reason for him to play this August, either. So, pencil in the Sept. 13 opener at the 49ers as his return date.

“Maybe about two weeks (before the game), then I’ll start counting down the days,” Peterson said. “Right now, I’m just enjoying myself and making sure our preparation is where it needs to be.”

There’s no reason to rush a guy who has six seasons of more than 1,200 rushing yards.

Peterson admitted the thigh bruise he suffered Tuesday was “painful” and that’s why he stayed on the ground after taking a shot while the team’s medical staff worked on him. But he knew it was nothing more than a bruise — and a quick scare for the Vikings as a whole.

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John Siegal, oldest former Bears player, dies at 97

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John Siegal, an end that was selected to three Pro Bowls and helped the Chicago Bears win three NFL titles in the 1940s, died this week at the age of 97.

He was the Bears’ oldest former player, per the team’s announcement.

Siegal played just five years in the NFL from 1939-43. However, it was plenty of time for Siegal to be named a Pro Bowler in three straight years from 1940-42 and win three championships in 1940, 1941 and 1943.

Siegal caught 31 passes for 637 yards and six touchdowns while appearing in 43 games with 16 starts.

Siegal then went on to serve in the Navy during World War II.

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