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As expected, Gronk officially in, Garoppolo officially out

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots watches during pre game drills before a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots submitted their inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff Thursday, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is officially out.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is active and will make his season debut. He missed the first two games with a hamstring injury and had been listed as questionable.

Garoppolo had been listed as doubtful. Rookie Jacoby Brissett will start at quarterback, and wide receiver Julian Edelman will be the emergency quarterback.

Also inactive for the Patriots are linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Eric Rowe, running back D.J. Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, tight end A.J. Derby and offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper.

There were no surprises among the Texans’ inactives as linebacker Brian Cushing, tackle Duane Brown and wide receiver Braxton Miller were previously announced as out. Also inactive for the Texans are defensive tackle Devon Still, quarterback Brandon Weeden, offensive lineman Oday Aboushi and safety Eddie Pleasant.

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Bosa practices again, still listed as limited

San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa (99) and teammate rookie defensive tackle Carlos Wray train during an NFL football rookie training camp Friday, May 13, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) AP

Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa participated in practice again Thursday, and the Chargers again listed him as a limited participant.

Though there’s no indication that Bosa will be healthy enough to make his debut Sunday vs. the Colts, participating in two straight days of practice is a sign of progress. As Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweeted, Bosa hadn’t practiced on consecutive days since early June.

Wednesday marked Bosa’s first practice in pads. The No.3 pick in the 2016 draft missed almost all of training camp and the preseason due to a contract dispute, then got injured in his first practice back in late August and didn’t return to practice until this week.

The Chargers have listed him on the injury report last week and this week with a hamstring injury. On Friday’s injury report, they’ll made some sort of unofficial/official declaration of his status for Sunday.

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Edelman has history at QB — and in doing whatever’s asked

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

In his Patriots career, Julian Edelman has been a return specialist and a wide receiver, has lined up in the backfield, has filled in at defensive back and has served an emergency quarterback.

Thursday night, the Patriots are one snap from dealing with an emergency. With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo injured, the Patriots are starting rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and didn’t add another quarterback to their roster. That means Edelman, a quarterback at Kent State before the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round in 2009, is their No. 2 quarterback.

He was a 54.5 percent passer over three seasons at Kent State, where he excelled running the option and was more battering ram than pure quarterback. He finished his college career with 30 passing touchdowns and 31 interceptions, a ratio he offset by rushing for 22 touchdowns at a career average of 4.9 yards per rush, which is extra impressive considering yards lost on sacks count against a player’s rushing yards in college.

Edelman has a 51-yard touchdown pass in a playoff game on his diverse and impressive NFL resume, but at a listed height of 5-foot-10, he wasn’t going to be an NFL quarterback. He followed former Browns Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs at Kent State after Cribbs had set all sorts of records for combined rushing and passing yards at the college level, and it was clear that Edelman was going to have to find a new position if he wanted to follow Cribbs into the NFL.

In his senior season at Kent State, Edelman punted four times and returned six punts in addition to playing quarterback and rushing 215 times. Seven years later it’s clear that he was made to be a Patriot, and we’ll soon find out if he adds “quarterback” to the list of ways he’s helped the Patriots.

Earlier this week, Brady said during his weekly radio appearance that Edelman “still talks about” the touchdown he threw on a double pass in the playoffs against the Ravens two seasons ago.

Edelman is going to want the ball, and it seems likely the Patriots will at least line him up as a quarterback early in the game to make the Texans account for him. Both teams had to cram a week’s worth of preparation into a couple days, and the Patriots have shown they aren’t afraid to try just about anything. The same goes for Edelman, and at least for one game he’s one snap away from having to play quarterback.

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Injuries open the door for four rookie quarterbacks, and counting

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles watches action during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

If all NFL starting quarterbacks had remained healthy through the first two weeks of the regular season, no rookie quarterbacks currently would be playing. Instead, four rookies will start this weekend. And counting.

It started during Week Three of the preseason, when Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebrate. Enter fourth-rounder Dak Prescott.

Then, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a fluke knee injury. Four days later, the Eagles shipped starter Sam Bradford to Minnesota. Bradford would have been the Week One starter but for the trade; his absence opened the door for first-rounder Carson Wentz.

Next, the Browns went through two quarterbacks in two games, making the next very-young-man-up third-rounder Cody Kessler — a fresh-faced unrecognizable face who may join the ranks of the walking wounded before anyone figures exactly out who he is.

On the same day, Patriots replacement starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury. Third-rounder Jacoby Brissett will start on Thursday night.

In addition to the four rookies who are now playing, the NFL currently has more than a few non-franchise quarterbacks, which could be a factor in the unexpected dip in TV viewership this year. From Tyrod Taylor to Ryan Fitzpatrick to Ryan Tannehill to Blake Bortles to Trevor Siemian to Derek Carr to Kirk Cousins to Brian Hoyer to Blaine Gabbert to Case Keenum, there’s not an overabundance of current quarterback sizzle in the NFL.

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Rob Gronkowski expected to play on Thursday night

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) warms up on the field during an NFL football team practice Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) AP

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reportedly told his teammates that he was planning to make his 2016 debut on Thursday night against the Texans and it looks like Gronk’s plan is coming together.

According to multiple reports, Gronkowski will be in the lineup for the first time since the AFC title game. Patriots owner Robert Kraft hinted that his team’s star tight end will be suiting up during an interview with Lisa Hughes of WBZ on Thursday. When asked if Gronkowski would play, Kraft asked Hughes what she thought and she said yes.

“I think you’re a wise lady,” Kraft said.

Gronkowski hurt his hamstring in August, leading to an extended absence from practice. He has been a limited participant in practices since the start of the regular season and has been listed as questionable to play all three weeks.

Given the layoff, there could be some limits on Gronkowski’s playing time, but even a limited role for Gronkowski should help expected starter Jacoby Brissett’s night go easier.

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Napoleon Harris fights off robbers, helps catch murder suspects

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16:  Linebacker Napoleon Harris #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 16, 2007 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

Former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris has done well for himself in retirement, getting elected to the Illinois State Senate and owning a couple of pizza places in the Chicago area. And now Harris can add Superhero Crime Fighter to his résumé.

When four men tried to rob Harris, he not only fought them off but gave a description of them and their vehicle to police, and when police caught up to them it turned out that three of them were believed to be involved in a murder.

The incident took place when Harris, working late at his restaurant, told his delivery driver he could go home and Harris would handle any remaining deliveries himself. A call came in and Harris went out to make the delivery, but it turned out that the address he was given was a vacant house, and four men had made the call as a ruse, planning to rob a delivery driver.

What the men weren’t counting on was the possibility that the driver they robbed would be a former NFL linebacker. The 37-year-old Harris was able to fight all four of them off, and when they ran away, he followed them to their getaway car, called 911 and gave the description to police.

The men ditched the car, but police located it and found blood inside, CBS 2 in Chicago reports. DNA analysis of that blood showed it belonged to Lester Jones, a man who had gone missing and been found dead this month, the victim of an apparent robbery and murder.

With help from information provided by Harris, police eventually tracked the men to Georgia, where three of them were charged with murder. The Atlanta Journal Constitution identified the murder suspects as Lawrence Hines, Malik Mayer and a juvenile whose name is not being released. The fourth man is not suspected of being involved in the murder but is expected to be charged with the attack on Harris. Police said the men are also suspects in other crimes.

Harris, who was a starting linebacker for the Raiders, Vikings and Chiefs, has not spoken publicly about the incident. But the spokesman in his State Senate office noted that, “This wasn’t the average 5-foot-9 delivery guy.”

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Report: Ziggy Ansah getting second opinion on ankle injury

Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) is escorted off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) AP

The Lions placed running back Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve this week after he went for a second opinion on his injured foot and now they reportedly have another one of their key players going for a second look at his injury.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah missed a second straight day of practice Thursday because of the high ankle sprain he suffered in last Sunday’s loss to the Titans. That’s the kind of injury that often keeps players out of the lineup and fears that will be the case for Ansah won’t be assuaged by Adam Caplan of ESPN’s report that Ansah is headed for a second opinion on how to deal with the issue.

Any extended absence for Ansah would be a blow for the Lions defense, although Kerry Hyder, who saw more playing time after Ansah got hurt last Sunday, has three sacks through the first two weeks of the season.

The Lions also added defensive end Devin Taylor to Thursday’s practice report as a non-participant because of an ankle injury. Linebacker DeAndre Levy, who didn’t play last week, continues to sit out with a quad injury.

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Don’t buy Josh Norman’s denial

108352267 Getty Images

It’s one thing to read Washington cornerback Josh Norman’s quotes about not following Giants cornerback Odell Beckham Jr. wherever he goes on Sunday, except if Beckham lines up in the slot.

I didn’t get the memo,” Norman said, among other things.

It’s another thing to see him deliver those comments. My first reaction about actually watching Norman try to deny the ESPN report that he’ll follow Beckham? “Josh, let’s play poker. Bring your signing bonus.”

His words, his demeanor, the quick scratching of his neck. He’s selling and I’m not buying.

If you don’t believe me, watch the video.

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Chip Kelly has Colin Kaepernick’s back, says he’s not a distraction

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick warms up for the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) AP

Colin Kaepernick has become the most visible backup quarterback in the NFL, with a political stance that has landed him on the cover of TIME magazine.

But 49ers coach Chip Kelly has no problem with any of that, and said he supported the way Kaepernick has handled his business.

When he’s here, he’s going full-bore,” Kelly said, via Matt Maiocco of “We’re here until 8:15, when we get here in the morning, until 5, when we leave. He’s at every meeting. He’s done everything.

“There hasn’t been any, ‘Hey, coach, I need some time because I got this going on.’ He hasn’t done that. He understands what his job is. He’s balanced it really well, and he’s managed it really well. He’s focused. He’s dialed-in when we’re at practice. He’s dialed-in when we’re at meetings.”

Kelly has consistently supported Kaepernick’s decision to sit or stand through the national anthem to protest police brutality and unfair treatment of minorities, and doesn’t expect his players to divorce themselves from current events.

“I think it’s an issue – you look at what’s gone on in Tulsa and Charlotte in the last two nights,” Kelly said. “It’s an issue that’s at the forefront of our country and it needs to be addressed, needs to be taken care of, because what’s going on is not right.

“I think he’s shedding light on a situation that is heinous. It shouldn’t happen in this country. We all have inalienable rights as a citizen of this country that are being violated. That’s what I think Colin is standing up for.”

Not every coach would welcome a player becoming a focal point for non-football issues, especially a backup player. But Kelly has proven himself willing to go against the grain on other issues, so this probably shouldn’t be a complete surprise.

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“Heightened concern” about Sammy Watkins’ availability

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills makes a catch in front of cornerback Bashaud Breeland #26 of the Washington Redskins for a third quarter touchdown at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. The Washington Redskins won, 35-25. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Earlier this week, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins said that his surgically-repaired foot isn’t an issue that will cause him to miss games because “I know what I’m doing with it.”

The Bills seem less sure about Watkins’ availability for this week’s game against the Cardinals. He hasn’t practiced this week as he rests the foot, which caused him discomfort in the first game of the season, and coach Rex Ryan said that the issue has raised the level of concern about what the wideout can do.

“I think there’s a little more concern because of the fact of another day he didn’t practice,” Ryan said, via “So there’s probably a little heightened concern there a little bit.”

One of the things the Bills have talked about since firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman is getting the ball into the hands of their best offensive playmakers more often. That won’t be particularly fruitful if Watkins is on the sideline, which suggests that the Bills will wait as long as they can before deciding if their heightened concern calls for them to play without him.

Left tackle Cordy Glenn also remained out of practice. He missed Week Two with an ankle injury and Cyrus Kouandjio started in his place.

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Todd Bowles on Brandon Marshall playing: “We’ll see how it goes”

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:   Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets yells at  Stephon Gilmore #24 of the Buffalo Bills after a tackle during the second half at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Six days ago, Jets coach Todd Bowles said receiver Brandon Marshall is “fine.” Now, Bowles isn’t saying whether Marshall will be fine enough to face the Chiefs in three days.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Bowles told reporters Thursday. “If he can’t somebody else will step up. But he’s got a couple more days.”

Marshall hasn’t practiced since last Thursday night’s win over the Bills. Will he play if he doesn’t practice at all?

“Depends on the player, how well I know the player and how well I think they can heal,” Bowles said.

Bowles was similarly circumspect about receiver Eric Decker, who returned to practice with a shoulder injury.

“He’s limited, he’s making progress,” Bowles said. “Still got some more progress to make. Again, I think it will come down to Sunday.”

The injuries could mean more opportunities for Quincy Enunwa to do more of what he did last Thursday, when he had a career-high 92 receiving yards.

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Vikings’ Sharrif Floyd has knee surgery

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 10:  Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd #73 of the Minnesota Vikings on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 10, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 23-20.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Another Viking is recovering from a knee injury.

Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd had his left knee operated on today, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said today.

Floyd was a first-round pick of the Vikings in 2013 who has been a starter the last two years but hasn’t played much this year, getting just 25 snaps in Week One and hurting his knee in the process.

Although Zimmer indicated that Floyd’s surgery was just a cartilage cleanup, it has to be a concern, especially given that Floyd has a history of knee problems.

Bad knees are a recurring issue in Minnesota this year, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out for the season, running back Adrian Peterson out at least a few months, and tight end MyCole Pruitt and cornerback Xavier Rhodes both missing last week’s game, all because of knee injuries.

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Some seats are getting very warm after two weeks

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:  Head Coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills of the New York Jets talks to a player before the game against the New York Jets at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the 2016 NFL season ends, some coaches will be fired. It’s an inevitable reality in a league that will feature for every good team, a bad team.

The bad teams want to become good teams, and they often start the process of becoming good teams by hiring new coaches. That can’t happen until they fire the coaches they have.

So who’s on the hot seat after only two weeks? It’s a subject that was covered on Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN.

Two specific divisions are represented very well, with two coaches each on the list.

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Jay Gruden: We’ll see if DeSean Jackson is full speed Friday

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 26: DeSean Jackson #11of the Washington Redskins antagonizes fans of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter of a football game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson didn’t practice on Wednesday because of knee and ankle injuries that kept him on the sideline when the rest of the Redskins were prepping for Sunday’s game against the Giants.

That naturally created some doubt about Jackson’s ability to play in the game, but things are looking a little bit better on Thursday. Jackson returned to the field and got in a limited practice, which coach Jay Gruden said sets up a big day on Friday.

Gruden said the team will give Jackson a couple of “deep shots” during Friday’s practice to assess whether or not he’s at full speed.

“With a sprinter like that, he needs to be full go,” Gruden said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

Jackson has nine catches for 142 yards through the first two weeks of the season. If he can’t go, rookie Josh Doctson may see a bigger role in the offense alongside Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon.

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Hue Jackson not losing his “positive outlook” after injuries

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns yells to his players during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver Corey Coleman’s broken hand is the latest calamity to befall the Cleveland Browns this season and the latest in a long list of problems the organization has been dealing with long before they hired Hue Jackson as their head coach.

Jackson won’t let Coleman’s injury or any of the other things that have gone wrong for the team in the short time he’s been part of the organization get him down, however. Jackson admitted it’s tough to start three quarterbacks in the first three weeks of the season, but said injuries are “part of this thing called football.”

“This organization depends on me having a positive outlook … I’ve seen this before,” Jackson said, via Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan.

It feels like everyone who has been associated with the Browns since their return to the league has seen something like this before and none of them have been able to navigate it well enough to steer the team back to calmer waters. If there’s a plus for Jackson’s chances of faring better, it’s that expectations were low enough for the Browns coming into the season that you might as well weather as many storms as you can now in hopes that the experience lays the foundation for better things in 2017 and beyond.

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