Von Miller: “My pride hurts more than anything” after ankle injury

Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos
Getty Images

Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller was forced out of Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns late in the second quarter due to an ankle injury.

But it wasn’t the ankle that was sore for Miller after the loss to the Browns.

My pride hurts more than anything,” Miller said, via Nick Kosmider of TheAthletic.com.

Miller spoke this week about his intention of having a big game with Browns left tackle Jedrick Willis banged up and right tackle Jack Conklin out for a second straight week.

I will play well in this game,” Miller said earlier this week. “I’m going to have a great game. . . . I don’t know who the tackle I’m going against is, but I’m going to kill him.”

Instead, Miller had just two tackles and one quarterback hit before he forced from the game Thursday night.

“I talked a lot of s–t before this game. I wanted that animosity. … I feel like I was on the way to doing some big things,” Miller said.

Miller was injured inside the final minute of the first half when he collided with teammate Dre'Mont Jones while chasing Browns quarterback Case Keenum. Jones stepped on the outside of Miller’s left ankle and he slowly limped to the sideline.

Miller said he believes his ankle is OK despite being unable to return to the game.

I feel like I dodged a bullet,” Miller said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post.

D’Ernest Johnson runs for 146 yards and a TD as Browns down Broncos 17-14

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

D'Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown and Case Keenum threw for 199 yards and a score as the depleted Cleveland Browns managed a 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Even without quarterback Baker Mayfield and top two running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns managed to do just enough offensively to outlast the Broncos.

Johnson accounted for 34 yards on the opening drive of the game for the Browns with runs of 20 and 10 yards before a 4-yard touchdown run got the Browns out to a quick 7-0 lead.

Chase McLaughlin would add a 52-yard field goal on Cleveland’s second drive to give Cleveland a 10-0 advantage that would carry into halftime.

Teddy Bridgewater was limited due to a foot injury and seemed to struggle to step hard into his throws throughout the night. He underthrew a pass for John Brown in the end zone that was picked off by John Johnson III on the Broncos ensuing possession.

On the first possession of the third quarter, Bridgewater and the Broncos finally put together a scoring drive. A 13-play, 79-yard drive ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Melvin Gordon to cut the lead to 10-7. The Browns answered right back with a 13-play scoring drive of their own. Keenum hit fullback Johnny Stanton for a 1-yard touchdown to extend the lead back to 10.

Denver would again cut the deficit to three with 5:17 remaining as Bridgewater hit Javonte Williams on a screen pass that went for a 10-yard touchdown to make it a 17-14 game.

However, the Browns never gave the Broncos a chance to go for the tying score. Cleveland didn’t even face a third down on their final drive until just over a minute remained on the clock. Johnson picked up the first on third-and-2 only to have an illegal motion penalty make it a third-and-7. It still didn’t matter as Johnson picked up the first down for a second time and enabled the Browns to run out the clock for the victory.

Bridgewater finished with 187 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception for Denver.

Broncos rule out Von Miller with ankle injury

Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos
Getty Images

The Denver Broncos have ruled out pass rusher Von Miller for the remainder of Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns due to an ankle injury.

Miller was injured inside the final minute of the first half when he collided with teammate Dre'Mont Jones while chasing Browns quarterback Case Keenum. Jones stepped on the outside of Miller’s left ankle and he slowly limped to the sideline.

Miller was initially deemed questionable to return before officially ruled out for the night.

Miller had two tackles and a quarterback hit before exiting the game.

Brandon Knight announces he needs a break from football to address mental health

Dallas Cowboys v New York Jets
Getty Images

The Ravens claimed offensive tackle Brandon Knight off waivers from the Cowboys on Monday. Knight did not report to the team, and Baltimore placed him on the reserve/did not report list.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Knight “would have to answer” why he didn’t report, and Knight did just that Thursday.

Knight, 24, said he is taking time away from the game to focus on his mental health.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Baltimore Ravens for allowing me another opportunity to play the game I’ve always loved,” Knight said in a statement. “As of now, I’ve decided to take a break from football to address my mental health. Although it was a difficult decision, it was a necessary one to be back home with my family. I look forward to returning next season.”

Knight joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He appeared in seven games as a rookie, getting one start, and started nine of 13 games played in 2020.

This season, Knight had seen action on only four snaps.

The Ravens lost Ronnie Stanley to season-ending ankle surgery, leaving them with a with a need in the offensive line. They since have signed veteran offensive lineman James Carpenter.

Broncos draw to within 10-7 on Melvin Gordon’s touchdown catch

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

On their first drive of the second half, the Broncos had more yards and more first downs than they had in the first half. They scored their first points, too, making it a one-score game.

Denver, which had 16 plays, 76 yards and two first downs in the first half, went 79 yards in 13 plays with seven first downs. They converted both third-down attempts on the scoring drive, including Melvin Gordon‘s touchdown catch.

Gordon caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater on third-and-goal, drawing the Broncos to within 10-7 with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio stuck with Bridgewater, rather than giving Drew Lock a chance, and it paid off with Bridgewater going 7-of-8 for 66 yards on the scoring drive.

Broncos trail Browns 10-0 as Von Miller limps off with ankle injury

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

The Broncos have run only 16 plays, gained only 76 yards, had only two first downs and scored no points. They trail the Browns 10-0 at halftime, and that’s not the worst news.

Denver, which is trying to end a three-game losing streak, saw edge rusher Von Miller limp off with 47 seconds remaining in the half. Miller’s left leg crumpled when he and teammate Dre'Mont Jones collided while trying to get to Browns quarterback Case Keenum.

Miller slowly walked to the locker room under his own power before the half was over.

The Broncos list him as questionable to return.

The Browns know the feeling. They began the game without quarterback Baker Mayfield, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and right tackle Jack Conklin.

Receiver Odell Beckham appeared to aggravate his shoulder injury when he landed hard on his right shoulder with 42 seconds remaining in the half. Beckham has no catches on four targets.

The Browns gained 214 yards in the first half, including 97 rushing. D'Ernest Johnson, making his first career start, nine carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Keenum is 13-of-21 for 122 yards, hitting eight different receivers not named Beckham.

Chase McLaughlin made a 52-yard field goal on a windy night but had a 41-yard attempt blocked by Shelby Harris.

Teddy Bridgewater, who was questionable to play with foot and quadriceps injuries, is 7-of-10 for 58 yards with an interception. John Johnson III picked Bridgewater in the end zone, ending the Broncos’ only drive across midfield.

NFL: We “look forward” to speaking with Chair of House Oversight and Reform Committee over WFT investigations

NFL: FEB 05 Super Bowl 50 - Walter Payton Man of the Year Press Conference
Getty Images

Congress has entered the chat regarding the WFT workplace misconduct investigation. And the NFL can’t afford to be perceived as trying to run and hide. Even if it would love too.

Via the Associated Press, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy acknowledged the league has received Thursday’s letter from the House Oversight and Reform Committee seeking extensive documents and information regarding the investigation and the manner in which the league handled it.

McCarthy said that the league shares the committee’s “concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination,” and McCarthy said that “we look forward to speaking to [Chairperson Carolyn Maloney’s] office soon.”

What’s said in matters like this is often as important as what isn’t said. Looking forward to speaking with the Chairperson’s office is a far cry from making a blanket commitment to cooperate with the requests. Surely, the league won’t immediately yield on its stubborn refusal to share details about the investigation.

So let’s see what happens. The league undoubtedly still wants all of this to go away. Congress has made that much harder. The NFL nevertheless will try to strike the balance between creating the appearance of cooperation while reserving the right to obfuscate in the same way as it has in the Rams relocation litigation, where the presiding judge recently accused several owners of engaging in a game of “three-card monte.”

Joe Brady addresses possibility LSU might have interest in him

NFL: OCT 10 Eagles at Panthers
Getty Images

When LSU announced earlier this week the school and its football coach, Ed Orgeron, have mutually agreed to part ways at the end of the season, Joe Brady’s name quickly was mentioned as a candidate for the job.

The Panthers’ offensive coordinator was in Baton Rouge in 2019, helping direct one of the greatest offenses in college football history. LSU won the national title with Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. leading the way.

Brady’s contributions in his one season as the school’s passing game coordinator and receivers coach won’t soon be forgotten. That would seem to make Brady, 32, a popular choice of alumni, though athletic director Scott Woodward is known for his flash hires. He hired Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M.

“I didn’t really have any thoughts on it,” Brady said Thursday. “Unfortunately for us, we had just come off of a loss when all that stuff came out, so there was a lot more things on my mind. I don’t have many thoughts on that. I had a great experience my time there, but I was way more concerned with our performance this past Sunday and finding ways to improve it this Sunday.

“All those things from a coaching perspective are things I don’t really pay a lot of attention to. It’s one of those things that after the season I think about those things, but right now I have to do a better job at being the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers and that’s all I’m really concerned about right now.”

Brady has had far less success in the NFL with Teddy Bridgewater and now Sam Darnold as his quarterback.

Saints have designated seven players to return from injured reserve this week

New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens
Getty Images

The Saints finally are starting to get healthy.

The Saints designated kicker Wil Lutz (core muscle) to return from injured reserve Monday. Linebacker Kwon Alexander (elbow), defensive end Marcus Davenport (shoulder) and receiver Tre'Quan Smith (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday. Tight end Nick Vannett (knee), cornerback Ken Crawley (hamstring) and linebacker Chase Hansen (groin) had their 21-day window started Thursday.

Two players not on injured reserve, center Erik McCoy (calf) and left tackle Terron Armstead (elbow), also were back at practice Thursday with limited participation.

“This is a tough week because there’s so much going on. We have to see how it goes,” coach Sean Payton said Thursday, via Amie Just of The Times-Picayune. “Keeping track of it this week is challenging for me.”

The Saints had three players miss practice Thursday, with quarterback Taysom Hill (concussion), receiver Deonte Harris (hamstring) and running back Dwayne Washington (neck) sitting out.

Baker Mayfield has fractured humerus

USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield sounded like someone who wanted to play through his shoulder injury. On Thursday, it’s clear that Mayfield needs some time to heal.

Mayfield told Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that Mayfield has a fracture in his humerus bone, at the shoulder. Mayfield said that the fracture is preventing his rotator cuff from “firing.”

When Mayfield suffered his latest shoulder dislocation on Sunday against the Cardinals, the fracture happened.

“I need that fracture to heal for me to get back out there,” Mayfield told Glazer.

Mayfield hopes the fracture will heal in time for him to play next Sunday, when the Browns face the Steelers. Of course, the fracture is just part of the damage that Mayfield has suffered as a result of two dislocations. Thus, whether the Browns agree with Mayfield’s assessment remains to be seen.

D’Ernest Johnson’s touchdown run caps impressive opening drive by Browns

NFL: OCT 21 Broncos at Browns
Getty Images

Baker who? Nick who? Kareem who?

The Browns didn’t miss Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt on their first drive. Case Keenum led the Browns right down the field after taking the opening kickoff.

It took Cleveland only five plays to go 75 yards.

Keenum went 2-for-2 for 41 yards, throwing a 7-yarder to Jarvis Landry and a 34-yarder to Austin Hooper.

D'Ernest Johnson, making his first career start, had three carries for 34 yards and a touchdown. His 20-yard run set up his 4-yard score.

It was Johnson’s first career touchdown.

Browns receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones injured his groin during pregame warmups, and the team lists him as questionable to play.

Matt Hasselbeck enters Seahawks Ring of Honor on Monday night

Seattle Seahawks v New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

Eight years before the Seahawks won a Super Bowl, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck got them to a game that, but for repeated blunders by the officials, Seattle may have won.

On Monday night against the Saints, Hasselbeck will enter the team’s Ring of Honor.

“I’m really proud of Matt,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Thursday. “We had a blast. He was really one of the reasons why I thought coming here was a good idea. We had an established quarterback that had played the game and had been in championship games. We hit it right, I thought we had a really good start to it, we didn’t win all of our games or anything like that, but we did some great stuff. We started a relationship that I’m really proud of. He is a great guy and I love his family. I’m really proud for him and excited for him. It’s a great honor.”

Hasselbeck and Carroll spent only one season together, but it culminated in an NFC West title (despite a losing record) and the Beastquake wild-card game against, yes, the Saints in the playoffs.

By 2011, the starter was Tarvaris Jackson. By 2012, it was Matt Flynn until it was Russell Wilson, who will eventually enter the Ring of Honor, obviously.

Allen Robinson returns to limited practice, but Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks remain out

NFL: SEP 20 Giants at Bears
Getty Images

The Bears got receiver Allen Robinson (ankle) back to practice Thursday. He was limited after sitting out Wednesday.

Robinson injured his ankle in Week 5 against the Raiders but played 56 snaps against the Packers and caught four passes for 53 yards.

The Bears added defensive lineman Bilal Nichols to the practice report with a knee injury. He missed Thursday’s session. Safety Tashaun Gipson (hip) sat out Thursday after being limited a day earlier.

Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) remained out of practice. Returner Jakeem Grant (ankle) also didn’t practice for a second consecutive day.

Cornerback Duke Shelley (ankle) was limited.

Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey returned to practice Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. He missed six days.

Whitney Mercilus: Coming to Packers “pumps new life” into me

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Getty Images

Whitney Mercilus spent his entire NFL career with one team before the Texans released him this week and he’s enjoying his first chance to spend time with another club.

Mercilus officially signed with the Packers on Thursday and said he also heard from the Steelers and Chiefs before choosing Green Bay. Mercilus said the Packers’ 5-1 record was a factor along with being in an atmosphere where “you’re being appreciated and they’re doing everything to invest in you and you want to invest back into that.”

“Not each franchise is equal in regards to everybody loves to do their different thing,” Mercilus said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “With that being said, I’m just grateful to be here, been accepted with open arms, love it. The energy, it’s amazing. Honestly it’s like, I don’t know, it just pumps new life [into you] because I’ve only see the same four walls for years and to see something different is pretty cool.”

The Packers haven’t said if Mercilus will play against Washington this weekend, but they are short on healthy edge rushers so Mercilus should get his chance sooner rather than later.

Marcus Maye: Jets know I want to be here

New York Jets v Denver Broncos
Getty Images

Jets safety Marcus Maye is playing out this season on the franchise tag and he said on Thursday that he’s not looking to go anywhere else.

Maye hurt his ankle in Week Three and his agent tweeted that he’d be healthy in time for the trade deadline, which some took as a hint that Maye was looking to move to another team. Maye told reporters on Thursday that he isn’t trying to find an exit.

“They know I want to be here,” Maye said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “They know I’m 100 percent with my guys.”

Maye also addressed a February arrest for DUI that he did not inform the team about until it was reported this month. He said he’s spoken to the team about it and they’ve moved on to a point where he doesn’t “think there’s a trust issue” moving forward.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh said this week that it “looks promising” for Maye to play against the Patriots this weekend.