Raiders sign Preston Brown, put Dwayne Harris on IR

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Preston Brown was liberated from the winless Bengals last week, and has found himself in the middle of the playoff chase.

Via Scott Bair of NBCSportsBayArea.com, the Raiders have signed Brown, the day after beating his old team.

To make room for him on the active roster, they’re placing wide receiver Dwayne Harris on injured reserve.

The Bengals signed Brown to a three-year, $16.5 million contract last offseason, but he didn’t make it through the first year of that deal, before being benched and eventually cut. He had already worked out for the Raiders, so he was familiar with what they want him to do when he rolled in today.

Harris, the standout return man and special teamer, had been dealing with foot and ankle injuries and only played three games.

Baker Mayfield wins appeal, won’t have to pay fine for criticizing officials

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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had his $12,500 fine for criticizing officials overturned on appeal, Jake Trotter of ESPN reports.

Mayfield’s criticism was deemed “not strong enough to warrant a fine,” per Trotter.

Mayfield had questioned the officiating after the Browns’ loss to the Seahawks in Week Six, saying, “I’ll probably get fined for this, but they were pretty bad today.”

The league did fine him, and a few days later, he defended his comments and questioned the fine.

“I’d say that’s just stating facts,” Mayfield said. “Freedom of speech I thought, but that’s OK, I get fined for it. It’s the league, that’s what they do. They fine you for some ridiculous things. That’s just how it is. There’s a reason that everybody is talking about it.”

Whoever heard Mayfield’s appeal agreed with him.

Jaguars place Josh Oliver, Lerentee McCray on injured reserve

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The Jaguars did some shuffling at tight end on Monday.

The team announced the signing of tight end Nick O'Leary several hours after O’Leary broke news of the deal and also announced a couple of other moves at the position.

Josh Oliver has been placed on injured reserve after injuring his back. The 2019 third-round pick had three catches for 15 yards in four games with the team.

Oliver was injured on Sunday and Seth DeValve missed the game with an oblique injury, so the team doubled down on new additions to the group. They also promoted Charles Jones from the practice squad. It’s his first stint on the active roster.

The Jaguars opened up a spot for Jones by placing defensive end Lerentee McCray on injured reserve. McCray has a hamstring injury.

Goodell: Garrett discipline had to make clear actions were unacceptable

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Just about everyone in the football world weighed in on Browns defensive end Myles Garrett‘s helmet swing to Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph‘s head last Thursday and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s thoughts have now been added to the file.

Goodell spoke to Gary Myers of OTG the morning after the game in an interview that was distributed on Monday. Goodell said there was “no place in the game” for what Garrett did and said that the league quickly and firmly suspended Garrett, Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey to make it clear their actions were unacceptable.

Goodell extended that explanation to the fines handed out to the two teams and outlined the steps that Garrett will take toward reinstatement from his indefinite suspension.

“He will not play the rest of the season. He will probably meet with us some time in the offseason,” Goodell said. “We’ll make a judgement . . . Does he have remorse? Does he understand why it’s not acceptable? Do we understand what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

All three players are appealing their suspensions with Garrett looking for a specific number of games he’ll be suspended in his hearing, so that path could change at some point in the future.

Bill Belichick appeared to troll Lane Johnson in postgame comments

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Bill Belichick doesn’t forget.

Two years ago, after Super Bowl LII, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson questioned how much “fun” the Patriots have while winning.

After the Patriots’ 17-10 victory Sunday, the Patriots coach appeared to take a jab at Johnson without using Johnson’s name.

“It really was a good team victory for us today. I am really proud of the way our guys competed,” Belichick said. “They just went out there and competed for 60 minutes. I know we didn’t get off to a great start, but we just kept battling and made plays in all three phases of the game. We played for 60 minutes and played some good situational football and made plays that we needed to make to win. Big drive offensively coming off of the goal line in the fourth quarter put our defense in a good field position. Defense played really well in the second half. The players covered well, rushed well, and they tackled real well. They just did a good job. It looked like everyone had fun out there today and we played a lot of good energy and it was good to come down here and get a win.”

Johnson, who played only 25 snaps Sunday before leaving with a head injury, had fun when he went on a Pardon My Take podcast after the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.

“I just think that The Patriot Way is a fear-based organization,” Johnson said. “Obviously, do they win? Hell yes, they win. They’ve won for a long time. Do I think people enjoy and can say, ‘I had a lot of fun playing there’? No, I don’t. That’s just the God’s honest truth. “They’re successful, but when they go to interviews, they act like [expletive] robots. Hey, stop being a [expletive] head. We can be cordial for a little bit. You only get to do this job one time, so let’s have fun while we’re doing it. Not to be reckless, but we’d much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls. But hey, it is what it is.”

He did not have so much fun Sunday.

This just in: Winning is fun.

Browns coach: Myles Garrett “a good person”

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Browns coach Freddie Kitchens wasn’t going to condone Myles Garrett‘s helmet-swinging ways, but he does still have his star defensive end’s back.

Kitchens said Monday the team would continue to support Garrett through his indefinite suspension for bashing Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.

Myles Garrett’s a good person,” Kitchens said. “We’re not going to pile on Myles. He had a bad lapse in judgment and that’s it. I’m still a Myles fan and I’m going to support him. Our organization is going to support him, his teammates, coaching staff will support him.”

Of course, Kitchens has to know that’s a fine line to walk, after everybody saw Garrett lose control.

“There’s no excuse for that to happen on a football field,” Kitchens said. “I know that. Myles knows that. All the players in the locker room know that. That’s it. There’s no excuse. But, in saying that, we’re going to support Myles Garrett going forward in any way that he needs support.”

Garrett’s appeal will be heard Wednesday by the league, and he will likely contend in some fashion that he was provoked to anger.

“Of course he was,” Browns defensive end Sheldon Richardson said. “If a guy scratching at your face, what you going to? The helmet is overboard, let’s get that clear. But defending yourself, I don’t blame him for defending [himself] at all. . . .

“You can’t antagonize a fight and then claim bullying. . . . you get what’s coming to you. Of course Myles overreacted. . . . He was protecting himself. I don’t blame him. Guy keeps rushing me, even with the helmet off, he’s asking for it. Just leave it at that.”

Rudolph was not among the three players suspended (Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi got one game and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey got three games), though fines are anticipated.

Drew Lock “unlikely” to be activated this week

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Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock can be added to the active roster at any point, but it does not look like that’s going to happen in time for this week’s game against the Bills.

Lock returned to practice last week for the first time since hurting his right thumb and going on injured reserve in September. Head coach Vic Fangio said on Monday that he’ll continue to practice with the team this week, but that it is “unlikely” he’ll be on the 53-man roster for Week 12.

There’s a three-week window for players on injured reserve to practice before teams have to choose whether to activate them or shut them down for the season.

Brandon Allen made his second start of the season against the Vikings on Sunday. He helped the team to a 20-0 halftime lead by throwing a touchdown pass, but the Vikings came back for a 27-23 victory.

JuJu Smith-Schuster has knee injury in addition to concussion

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Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster doubled up on injuries during last Thursday’s loss to the Browns.

Smith-Schuster suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pair of Browns after making a catch in the second quarter of the game. He’ll need to clear the concussion protocol before he’ll be able to play again, but that’s not the only obstacle to his return against the Bengals this week.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Smith-Schuster also injured his knee on the play and several Pittsburgh reporters noted that the wideout has a brace on his left knee.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson is also in the concussion protocol as a result of a hit to the head from Browns safety Damarious Randall. Randall was ejected for the hit.

O.J. Howard benched after “crazy” drop

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Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard had one of the weirdest dropped passes of the season on Sunday when a ball that hit him in the hands somehow ended up getting bobbled behind his back. He reached back to try to grab the ball, but it was intercepted.

The Buccaneers benched Howard after that, leaving him to play a season-low 17 snaps and finish the game with no catches. Howard was at a loss to explain what went wrong.

“I had it and I tried to cut upfield and then next thing I know the ball gets loose and I start bobbling it and it gets behind me some kind of way, which is crazy,” Howard said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It all happened too fast.”

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians was also at a loss to describe what’s wrong with Howard, who has just 17 catches for 223 yards and one touchdown this season.

“It’s hard to say,” Arians said. “He’s a talented, talented guy, but it’s not showing up on Sundays.”

When Arians was hired, there was talk that he’d be the perfect coach to get the most out of Howard’s talent. Instead, Howard is having his worst NFL season.

Matt Nagy: QB change had “zero to do” with Mitchell Trubisky’s play

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Bears head coach Matt Nagy heard the same skepticism as everyone else when the team said a hip injury was the reason why quarterback Mitchell Trubisky left Sunday night’s game late in the fourth quarter, but he said on Monday that it was “pure honesty.”

Trubisky’s status was the major topic of Nagy’s press conference and the coach said Trubisky suffered a right hip pointer in the second quarter of the game, but the decision was that he could keep playing. He said the team monitored the injury throughout the second half and made the decision to pull Trubisky because the pain kept getting worse.

Nagy said it got to a point when Trubisky couldn’t sit down on the bench and was adamant that was the only reason why Chase Daniel came into the game.

“Every decision that was made, it had zero to do with his play. Zero” Nagy said. “It was completely based off the injury that he had last night and where he was at.”

Nagy said Trubisky is “absolutely” going to be the starter if he is healthy enough to play against the Giants this week. He didn’t offer any speculation about the chances that would be the case and the team will issue its first injury report of the week on Wednesday.

Panthers not ready to look at other QBs now

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Kyle Allen had managed to keep the Panthers between the ditches for more than a month, surviving a few speed bumps.

Sunday, he drove them off a cliff, but the Panthers aren’t prepared to change drivers.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he’s not prepared to make a quarterback change, or even change up the reps in practice after Allen’s four-interception blowout against the Falcons.

“It’s tough,” Rivera said, via Joe Person of TheAthletic.com. “It’s a fine balance with the development [of QBs] when you’ve got two of them.”

At the moment, their only option is rookie Will Grier, the third-round pick who is only active since Cam Newton went on injured reserve, and they don’t have anyone else on the roster (and didn’t see the need to scout a nearby workout Saturday).

Allen won his first four starts in relief of Newton this year, but now has 14 turnovers (nine picks, five fumbles) against 10 touchdowns, leaving the Panthers at 5-5.

“Like a lot of us, he feels like he let a lot of people down,” Rivera said of Allen.

But at the moment, they’re going to stick with him.

The Buccaneers are making Bruce Arians a believer in sports psychology

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Bruce Arians has been a football coach for a long time, but that hasn’t left him closed off to trying new things.

Arians shared that he’s starting to come around on the sports psychology field after 10 games as the head coach in Tampa. The Buccaneers have lost seven of those 10 games and Arians said that he’s trying to understand why the talent he sees on the roster is not getting the job done in games.

“I never believed in sports psychology before, but I’m starting to,” Arians said, via PewterReport.com. “There’s something missing when you have talent and it doesn’t show up on Sunday. It’s a focus issue.”

If the Bucs do go the psychological route, one thing Arians will likely want to address is what he called the team’s “gift habit” of digging itself holes on the scoreboard via frequent turnovers. That’s been a problem for several years and some might suggest that parting ways with quarterback Jameis Winston would help on that front more than a session or two on the couch.

Marlon Mack had hand surgery this morning

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The Colts will have to play a short-week game for first place in the division without their leading rusher.

Via Zak Keefer of TheAthletic.com, Colts running back Marlon Mack had surgery to repair his broken hand this morning.

He will certainly miss Thursday’s game against the Texans, and likely a few weeks after. The Colts and Texans are tied atop the AFC South at 6-4.

Mack leads the Colts with 192 carries for 862 yards and four touchdowns this year, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett is second on the team in attempts.

The Colts were able to rely on Jonathan Williams and Nyheim Hines to finish off the Jaguars yesterday, but the absence is a significant one for a team already dealing with lead receiver T.Y. Hilton‘s calf injury.

Myles Garrett’s suspension appeal set for Wednesday

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Browns defensive end Myles Garrett learned that he’s been suspended through at least the end of the 2019 season last Friday and he’ll be appealing that suspension this week.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Garrett’s appeal will be held on Wednesday. It will be heard by former NFL wide receiver James Thrash, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA to hear appeals of discipline for on-field actions, and Schefter adds that Garrett will travel to New York to make his case.

Garrett was suspended after being ejected from last Thursday night’s game against the Steelers. Garrett ripped off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph‘s helmet after Rudolph tried to do the same to him and then hit Rudolph in the head with it.

One of the issues expected to be part of Garrett’s hearing is the indefinite nature of the suspension. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement does not allow for such suspensions for on-field behavior, so Garrett will be looking for a finite number of games to be part of the resolution.

Thrash is also set to hear the appeal of Garrett’s teammate Larry Ogunjobi, who has been suspended for one game for his actions during the fight that broke out on Thursday. Derrick Brooks will hear Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey‘s appeal of his three-game ban.

Evan Engram thinks it’s “definitely possible” he plays this week

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The Giants didn’t have tight end Evan Engram on the field the last time they played a game, but he said on Monday that he may be back in action against the Bears in Week 12.

Engram did not take part in practice as the Giants returned from their bye week, but he is out of the protective boot he was wearing to protect his injured foot. He told reporters that his foot is feeling better and called playing in Chicago “definitely possible.”

How possible that is will likely be determined by what Engram can do on the field at the rest of this week’s practices. Wednesday will bring the next update on that front.

That will also be the case for wide receiver Sterling Shepard. He’s missed the last five games with his second concussion of the year and remains in the concussion protocol, although he was able to do some on-field work Monday.