Trill Williams will miss the season with a torn ACL

NFL: OCT 24 Falcons at Dolphins
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Dolphins cornerback Trill Williams tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Saturday night’s preseason game, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

“You hate to see an injury like that for a guy that’s been working as diligently as Trill has,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Sunday. “He was making plays daily on the ball. You could tell from his teammates how pumped they were for him. It hurt the hearts of the whole team.”

The Dolphins were counting on Williams as a key contributor behind Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Jones remains out but hopes to return from leg surgery in time for the season opener.

With Williams out for the year, Keion Crossen and Noah Igbinoghene are the best options currently on the roster. But Xavier Rhodes, Chris Harris, Joe Haden and AJ Bouye are among the veteran cornerbacks who remain free agents.

“We’re evaluating a couple guys and we will be in discussion how to handle some of these injuries and . . . not overdo [the workload of] existing corners on the roster,” McDaniel said.

Williams tackled Deven Thompkins for a 5-yard loss on a throw from Kyle Trask with 1:52 remaining in the team’s first preseason game. Williams immediately grabbled his left knee after the open-field stop, and he appeared to be in tears as he left the field and was carted to the training room.

Williams appeared in only one game last season, and now he will have to wait until 2023 to see more playing time.

49ers activate Charlie Woerner from PUP

NFC Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers
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The 49ers activated tight end Charlie Woerner from the active/physically unable to perform list Sunday, the team announced.

He began training camp recovering from offseason core muscle surgery.

San Francisco made Woerner a sixth-round pick out of Georgia in 2020. He has eight catches for 88 yards in 31 games, including three starts, in his two NFL seasons.

In 2021, Woerner saw action on 249 offensive snaps and 328 on special teams. He made five receptions for 52 yards in playing all 17 games.

The 49ers play the Vikings on Aug. 20 in their second preseason game.

Nick Sirianni: “Great quality” for Jalen Hurts to be “unfazed” by anything

New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles
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Eagles coach Nick Siranni got very upset when Jets linebacker Quincy Williams applied a late hit to quarterback Jalen Hurts on Friday night. Hurts didn’t.

On Sunday, Sirianni praised Hurts for a demeanor that results in him remaining even keeled, at all times.

“I thought Jalen said it perfectly,” Sirianni told reporters. “He said it perfectly, how did he say it? He said, ‘I got hit late. They threw the flag. I moved on. I ain’t tripping.’ Perfectly said. Perfectly said.

“And that is who he is. That’s Jalen. It doesn’t matter if he threw an interception or I’m screaming in his face; the people in Washington fall out of the stands and almost break his leg, he’s pretty unfazed and that’s a great quality to have as a quarterback because he’s going to be unfazed in the first quarter, he’s going to be unfazed in the second quarter, third, fourth. That is a great quality to have in a quarterback.”

Indeed it is. Especially since that quality rubs off on others around him.

Except for Sirianni, when Hurts takes a late hit.

Joel Bitonio on road fans booing Deshaun Watson: “More than ever, Cleveland against the world”

Cleveland Browns v Jacksonville Jaguars
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On Friday night, Jaguars fans gave Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson the business, with boos and a three-word chant that went viral.

Whenever Watson is cleared to play, the reaction will be a new reality for the Browns, whenever they play away from home.

“You know, I think once Deshaun came out of the game we got booed less, but you go to a road game they boo you anyway, so you know what I mean?” Joel Bitonio told reporters on Sunday, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “So we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure, it seems like more than ever, Cleveland against the world, so we’ll be ready for it.”

Bitonio is right. Fans always boo the road team. Watson gives them more basis for booing. A different reason for derision. And it’s something that will likely follow Watson for the remainder of his career.

Most teams would welcome that, if it means having a quarterback of Watson’s caliber. It still remains to be seen when the Browns will get him on the field, and whether he’ll still play like he did before sitting out all of last year and likely most, if not all, of this season.

Arthur Smith: Drake London’s knee injury not a long-term concern

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions
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Falcons first-round pick Drake London left the team’s first preseason game with a knee injury, but initial reports were that the wideout avoided anything serious.

Head coach Arthur Smith offered confirmation of that on Sunday. While Smith did not say when London would be returning to the field, he did say that the team is not concerned that it will be an extended absence.

“It’s nothing that we’re really concerned about long term,” Smith said, via the Associated Press. “We’ll be smart. He’s had a really good training camp. We hope to get everyone back by the time the regular season rolls around. . . . “We’ll see and we’ll assess it week to week. He’s had a really good camp. He’s got his feet wet, and I’m pleased with him.”

London caught a 24-yard pass from Marcus Mariota before exiting the game and the Falcons will be hoping to see more of that come the fall.

Aqib Talib’s brother, Yaqub, wanted in connection with shooting death at youth football game

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Yaqub Talib, the younger brother of former NFL cornerback and Amazon pregame analyst Aqib Talib, is wanted in connection with a shooting death that occurred at a youth football game in Texas.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Via WFAA.com, police in Lancaster, Texas said that there was a “disagreement among coaching staff and the officiating crew.” During the argument, the coaches got into a fight. One of the people involved in the fracas fired a gun. One man was shot, and he later died at a local hospital.

According to TMZ.com, Aqib Talib was present at the scene of the shooting. In 12 NFL seasons, Talib played for the Buccaneers, Patriots, Broncos, and Rams.

Cardinals cut Kingsley Keke, four others

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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The Cardinals announced five cuts on Sunday afternoon with defensive lineman Kingsley Keke headlining the list of players who won’t be making the roster this year.

Keke was a 2019 Packers fifth-round pick who was claimed off of waivers by the Texans in January. They cut him in May and he signed with the Cardinals.

Keke had 54 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles while starting 17 of the 41 regular season games he played in Green Bay. He also had three tackles in two playoff appearances.

Offensive lineman Haggai Ndubuisi, offensive lineman Greg Long, running back Ronnie Rivers, and cornerback Breon Borders were the other cuts on Sunday. The Cardinals now have 86 players on their roster, but they have an exemption for tight end Bernhard Seikovits so they do not need to cut anyone else before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline for all 32 teams to cut their rosters to 85 players.

Justin Jefferson, Harrison Smith among Vikings who won’t play Sunday

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
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Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins won’t be playing against the Raiders on Sunday because he tested positive for COVID-19 this week and there will be plenty of other veteran starters joining him on the bench.

The Vikings released a list of players who will be inactive for their preseason opener and it includes starting wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Running back Dalvin Cook will also be out on Sunday and tight end Irv Smith is recovering from thumb surgery, so the team will be relying on backups to move the ball on the ground and through the air.

Safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Patrick Peterson, edge rusher Za'Darius Smith, edge rusher Danielle Hunter, and linebacker Eric Kendricks are notable absences on the defensive side of the ball.

The Vikings will continue their preseason against the 49ers on August 20.

Packers activate Elgton Jenkins, Robert Tonyan, Christian Watson

NFL: JUL 27 Green Bay Packers Training Camp
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The Packers are getting some offensive pieces back on the practice field.

Head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters on Sunday that the team is activating offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, tight end Robert Tonyan and wide receiver Christian Watson from the physically unable to perform list. LaFleur said all three players will be limited to individual work and walkthroughs for the time being.

Jenkins tore his ACL while playing left tackle last season. He could be back there again this year as David Bakhtiari remains on the PUP list. If not left tackle, he could play right tackle or guard.

Tonyan is also returning from a torn ACL. Watson, who was picked in the second round this year, has been dealing with a knee injury.

Panthers make five cuts, get to 85 players

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
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The first roster cutdown date of the summer is on Tuesday and the Panthers didn’t need any more time to make their decisions.

The team announced that they have cut running back Darius Bradwell, tight end Nate Becker, linebacker Kamal Martin, offensive lineman Wyatt Miller, and cornerback Chris Westry on Sunday. The move leaves them at the 85-player limit that all teams must reach by Tuesday afternoon.

Martin is the only one of the quintet who saw regular season action with the Panthers. He played six games for them last season and recorded two tackles. Bradwell, Becker and Westry all appeared in games with other teams.

After Tuesday’s cut to 85 players, there will be another cut to 80 players on August 23 and the final cut to 53 players on August 30.

Packers signing Ramiz Ahmed

NFL: AUG 05 Green Bay Packers Training Camp
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Green Bay is adding a kicker.

The Packers are signing Ramiz Ahmed, according to agent Paul Sheehy.

With longtime kicker Mason Crosby still on the physically unable to perform list after offseason surgery, the Packers have a need for depth at the position. Gabe Brkic has handled the duties in camp but missed a 32-yard field goal during Green Bay’s first preseason matchup with San Francisco on Friday.

Ahmed was most recently with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL. He hit a 61-yard field goal for the club but finished the season hitting 14-of-22 field goals and 7-of-10 extra points.

Ahmed has also spent time with the Bears.

Bills begin roster cuts by releasing four

NFL: DEC 26 Bills at Patriots
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With rosters needing to go down from 90 to 85 players by Tuesday’s deadline, the Bills have started their roster cuts.

Buffalo announced on Sunday that the team has released offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter, cornerback Olajiah Griffin, and tight end Jalen Wydermayer.

Of the four players, only Simmons has appeared in a regular-season game. He has 25 career appearances with nine starts. He played five games for Las Vegas last year.

Griffin spent time on Buffalo’s practice squad last season after going undrafted out of USC.

Kerstetter and Wydermayer joined the Bills as undrafted free agents in May.

Joe Burrow returns to walk-through

Arizona Cardinals v Cincinnati Bengals
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Joe Burrow is making more strides toward his return after an appendectomy.

According to multiple reporters on the Bengals beat, the quarterback came in from walk-through in his jersey and carrying his helmet — a clear sign that he’d participated in the session.

Burrow also went through sprints with some of his teammates on Friday before Cincinnati’s preseason matchup with Arizona.

Burrow has been sidelined since undergoing an appendectomy on July 26. Head coach Zac Taylor has not put a timeline on Burrow’s returns, consistently saying the team is taking things day-by-day.

While there has never been an indication that Burrow would miss time in the regular season, any demonstrated progress is still a positive development.

Zach Wilson on his way to L.A. for knee procedure

New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles
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Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will soon have knee surgery in Los Angeles.

The status of Wilson’s knee injury is not yet known, but head coach Robert Saleh said the team is optimistic that it will not be a season-ending injury.

“He’s on his way to L.A. to have his procedure and then we wait,” Saleh said. “They’ll know more when they get in there. We’re optimistic but he’s not out of the woods until they get in there and make the decision.”

While Wilson is out, Joe Flacco is the Jets’ starting quarterback, Mike White is the backup and Chris Streveler is next on the depth chart.

Joel Bitonio wonders whether JC Tretter is being blackballed for his stance on player safety

Los Angeles Rams v Cleveland Browns
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Colin Kaepernick may have some company.

Free-agent center JC Tretter, who also happens to be the NFL Players Association’s president, remains available, in the middle of August. Former Browns teammate Joel Bitonio suggests that Tretter’s role as a vocal advocate for player safety could be contributing to his ongoing unemployment.

“When you have a guy that’s top-five, top-10 at center in the league and he’s not on a roster, you know, and he’s the NFLPA president and maybe some of the owners don’t appreciate what he brings to the table on certain topics when he’s trying to protect player safety and things of that nature, it seems a little suspicious to me,” Bitonio said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “But, again, I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. I don’t know what his conversations have been with teams and stuff, but just from an outside perspective usually players that are close to the top of their game get picked up. Teams want to win in this league. So it’s an interesting topic, for sure.”

Teams want to win in this league. That was the excuse the Commissioner repeatedly gave for teams not signing Kaepernick. Teams want to win, so they would never fail to pursue a player who can help them win. (Unless they’re tanking, of course.)

The Browns cut Tretter earlier this year, saving more than $8.235 million in cap space. The Browns also lost center Nick Harris for the season on Friday night. The Bucs previously lost center Ryan Jensen, possibly for the year. There has been no serious suggestion that either team will sign Tretter.

None of this has stopped Tretter from doing his job for the NFL’s players. On Saturday, Tretter sounded off on the condition of the playing surface at Soldier Field.

A fourth-round pick in 2013, Tretter spent four years with the Packers and five with the Browns. He ranked 89th on the Pro Football Focus list of the top 101 players of 2021.

Would it be crazy to think that owners are shying away from Tretter because he has become an agitator to the oligarchs? Nope. That’s another reason why high-profile (and highly-compensated) quarterbacks should be more involved in union leadership. They’re far less likely to be blackballed, and they’re far more likely to take command of the rank and file if/when a line must be drawn in the sand — even if it means a work stoppage.

For now, it makes sense to pay attention to what happens with Tretter. If the goal is to keep him out of the league because he helps run the union, ignoring it makes it easier for the owners to pull it off.