PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles safety Nate Allen was listed a full participant in practice Friday. That would normally indicate that Allen’s injured hamstring was feeling better and that he was likely to play Sunday in Houston.

 However, the Eagles’ Friday practices are essentially walk-throughs. Allen’s non-participation in Thursday’s full practice carries more weight than his participation Friday. Last week, running back Darren Sproles followed the same pattern. He did not play in Arizona. Sproles appears set to return to action Sunday.

Allen said if there had been a game Thursday, he would not have been able to play. He was listed as “questionable” for Sunday on the Friday injury report.

“We’ll see,” Allen said Thursday. “It’s really up in the air. Obviously, as an athlete, you want to play. As a competitor, you want to play. But at the end of the day, you don’t want to hurt yourself further and make it something it doesn’t have to be. And then, you don’t want to hurt the team by going 85 percent.”

If Allen can’t play, second-year safety Earl Wolff would likely be the first in line to replace him.

“I feel like, once I get in there, it will help me get in a rhythm and help me be more comfortable,” Wolff said Thursday. “That’s what it was all about last year. My first couple games I was in, I was still kind of getting a feel for it. Still trying to get comfortable. Once you get comfortable, you get confident.”

Last season, as a rookie, Wolff was pressed into action when starter Patrick Chung was injured. Wolff got some valuable experience, but injured his knee and missed games late in the season.

“He missed a lot of last year,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I think there was a lot of football that he didn't play last year. So I think that experience factor he doesn't have that a normal second-year player has, because he's missed a lot of time.”

There’s also a chance that Chris Maragos or rookie Jaylen Watkins could step in for Allen. Kelly indicated that defensive coordinator Bill Davis could use different safeties in different personnel groups.

Nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin, who also hurt his hamstring in Arizona, was more involved in Thursday’s practice. He could play Sunday.

On the offensive line, guard Todd Herremans (torn biceps) and center Jason Kelce (sports hernia) both practiced all week and appear likely to start in Houston. They were listed as “probable” on the Eagles’ official injury report.

 
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Buccaneers will be without their punt and kickoff returner and are likely to be without their starting running back and left tackle for Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

 Coach Lovie Smith said the hamstring injury return man Trindon Holliday suffered in practice earlier this week was more serious than originally thought. Smith said Holliday has been ruled out for Sunday.

Louis Murphy and practice squad receiver Marcus Thigpen worked as return men during the portion of practice that was open to the media Friday. Running back Bobby Rainey also has experience as a return man.

But Rainey is likely to be busy doing other things. Running back Doug Martin is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. That means Rainey is likely to get the start against a run defense that ranks No. 30 in the league. There also is a possibility rookie Charles Sims could be activated from injured reserve and get some carries.

Left tackle Anthony Collins (foot) also is listed as doubtful. If he can’t go, Oniel Cousins likely will get the start.

Jeremy Hill to start for Bengals

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CINCINNATI -- Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, who hasn't practiced all week because of hip and collarbone injuries, will miss a game for the first time in his career on Sunday, coach Marvin Lewis said Friday.

Bernard, the Bengals' leading rusher with 446 yards and a career-high five rushing touchdowns, will be replaced by rookie Jeremy Hill against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

"The rest is going to be good for him," Lewis said.

Lewis and the Bengals said it was too soon to know if Bernard would be healthy enough to play next Thursday, when the Cleveland Browns visit Paul Brown Stadium.

"We'll cross those bridges then," Lewis said.

Hill has 195 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries this season -- including a season-high 15 attempts against the Falcons in Week 2.

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson told ESPN.com on Thursday that he was confident in Hill's abilities if Bernard couldn't play.

"I feel good that if it happened that way, that [Hill] would go in there and do the job," Jackson said.

The Bengals will also turn to backups Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead for production from the running back position.


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Tony Romo could be game-time call

October, 31, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo is missing his third straight day of practice with a back injury and will have to be able to move around better before Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals in order to be able to play.

"We've still got about 48 hours to the game," coach Jason Garrett said, "so we're going to give him every chance."

Garrett said the Cowboys do not need to know before Sunday whether Romo can play. They have a short walkthrough on Saturday. Romo has been receiving treatment on his back all week but has not done any football activities.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that Romo is "moving around, and he's doing a little stuff in the back there to get the stiffness out, kind of like a bicycle-type thing. He's moving around, been in the meetings today."

If Romo can't play, Brandon Weeden would start and undrafted free agent Dustin Vaughan would be the backup.

Left guard Ronald Leary is missing his third straight day of practice, as well, with a groin injury. Garrett said Leary took part in Friday's walkthrough. It is possible Leary could be active but not start. Mackenzy Bernadeau would start.


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Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who tore his Achilles tendon last month and underwent surgery to repair it, tore it again this week and will have to redo the surgery, according to sources.

Hall still is likely to be ready for next summer's training camp, though this second injury and surgery will make it that much more difficult.

Rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland has replaced Hall in Washington's lineup and has shined, collecting 26 tackles so far this season.

Hall is signed through 2017 and will count $4.8 million against the salary cap next year. The Redskins, however, would save $2.375 million if they don't feel he can return and subsequently release him.

ESPN.com's John Keim contributed to this report.


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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Without Stepfan Taylor available as their No. 2 running back Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals will rely on the motto that's come to define their season: next man up.

But what happens when they don't know who, exactly, that'll be?

It may be Marion Grice, the rookie running back signed Sept. 23 off the San Diego Chargers' practice squad. It may be fullback Robert Hughes. It may be someone else, but Arizona hasn't added another running back to the 53-man roster as of Thursday night, leaving the likelihood of the Cardinals using a three-back rotation Sunday in Dallas as the best option.

Coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week he likes Kerwynn Williams, who's on the Cards' practice squad. But by losing Taylor for at least Sunday's game, the Cardinals' depth at running back behind starter Andre Ellington doesn't last long. The only back on the roster who has any offensive experience is Hughes -- and he only has two carries this season, and three total for his career.

Ellington's 464 rushing yards this season are responsible for 74.6 percent of the Cardinals' total yards on the ground. Eight other rushers combined for 158 yards.

On Monday, Arians said Grice will be the next man up, but offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said Thursday any of Arizona's backs are capable of filling the short-yardage and goal-line role that Taylor filled.

"It's going to be running back by committee," Goodwin said. "It could be Marion, could be Andre. Really doesn't matter. Could be Robert. We feel comfortable in all our backs so we'll be fine."

One thing is for certain, Grice will finally make his offensive debut, Goodwin said.

"He's going to play," Goodwin said. "He's got to play with Stepf being down and I'm confident in his ability to be a player and make plays for us."

Grice has been slowly learning the playbook. When Goodwin walked into the meeting room earlier Thursday he found Grice studying by himself. Grice has had more than a month to prepare and show Goodwin and Arians how he can be of help to a depleted backfield.

Without other options, Goodwin may be turning to Grice more often than initially planned when they picked him up.

"Be a first down, second down, third down" back, Goodwin said. "I just want him, myself personally, [to] make sure he runs the ball well. When he's called on to protect, protect. And obviously we throw the ball a little bit around here so hopefully catch it if it comes his way."
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams went through a full practice Thursday after Wednesday's walkthrough and made progress toward getting healthy.

On Wednesday, the Rams had 13 players listed on the injury report with eight listed as not participating. Things were a little better Thursday with only four listed as non participants: guard Rodger Saffold (shoulder), cornerback Janoris Jenkins (knee), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (shoulder) and safety Cody Davis (concussion).

Of players not on the injury report but working back from injury, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that defensive end Chris Long is making progress. Long is eligible to begin practicing this week as part of his injured reserve/designated to return spot, but the Rams aren't rushing him back.

"He's a little ways away but we're very encouraged where he's at," Fisher said. "As he is too. The surgical procedure which is not an issue for him right now, that's good. It's just the fact that he was non-weight bearing and in a cast so you're dealing with natural atrophy so he has to get all his strength back."

Here's the full injury report from Thursday:

Did not participate: G Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder), S Cody Davis (concussion).

Limited participation: S Rodney McLeod (knee), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe).

Full participation: DE William Hayes (foot), C Scott Wells (elbow), CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Tim Barnes (shoulder), WR Kenny Britt (hip), CB Lamarcus Joyner (hip), CB Marcus Roberson (ankle).
Another day, another San Francisco 49ers player is getting healthier.

A week after their bye, the 49ers’ injury list remained only four players deep. But rookie defensive back Jimmie Ward, the team’s first-round draft pick who missed the Niners’ Oct. 19 game at the Denver Broncos with a quadriceps injury, was upgraded from limited participation on Wednesday to full participation on Thursday.

“I think he should be fine,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday of Ward, while acknowledging the rookie will return as the team’s nickel back.

Following is the 49ers’ injury report for Thursday:

Limited participation: CB Tramaine Brock (toe), ILB Patrick Willis (toe)

Full participation: CB Chris Culliver (hamstring), S Jimmie Ward (quadricep)
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- While driving after Sunday's game, Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson pulled over for about 30 minutes.

He knew something wasn't right. He had just played 73 snaps and made 11 tackles in Arizona's 24-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, but he couldn't recall much, if any, of it.

"I don't really remember the game," Jefferson said. "I just remember when I started driving ... I just stopped for 30 minutes. I was like, 'What just happened?' I don't remember what happened. It was kinda scary.

"I went home and watched the film on the iPad. It was like seeing you on auto pilot. It was pretty weird."

But he remembered how many tackles he had.

"I might have to push auto pilot a couple more times," Jefferson said jokingly.

Jefferson was diagnosed with a concussion Monday morning. He passed the concussion protocol on Thursday and practiced in a limited role, working on kickoff coverage during the open portion of practice.

He thinks it happened on a kickoff, but Jefferson said he wasn't sure when he talked to the media Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles hopes he'll have Jefferson for Sunday's showdown against the Dallas Cowboyss, but added that "concussions are a funny thing."

As for Jefferson, he doesn't want to rush back.

"This is your brain you're talking about," he said. "You don't want to do anything like that. I'm just going to see what they say but I feel fine.

"We got a long season ahead of us; I don't want to rush back."


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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis is on his way to playing against the New York Giants on Monday after leaving last weekend’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter with a knee injury.

Davis was a full participant in practice Thursday. Receiver Reggie Wayne, who missed the Pittsburgh game because of an elbow injury, did not practice, but that’s not uncommon because coach Chuck Pagano gives him a rest day during the week.

Pagano said it’s “too early in the week” to tell if Wayne will play against the Giants. The coach wants to see how Wayne practices the rest of the week before making a decision.

Running back Trent Richardson was not listed on the injury report, which means he should be back in the starting lineup against the Giants after being held out of the Steelers’ game because of a hamstring injury.

“We’ll just go back to how we were,” Pagano said. “We want to be smart with all our players, monitor the reps. Guy gets hot, obviously we’ll try to feed a guy that’s hot, but not go overboard with it and put somebody in harm’s way, if you will.”

Here’s the rest of the Thursday practice report:

Did not practice: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (rest), linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (toe), defensive lineman Art Jones (ankle), linebacker Josh McNary (ankle), linebacker Erik Walden (quad)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Geno Smith will be the New York Jets' No. 2 quarterback Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After resting his ailing right shoulder Wednesday, Smith resumed throwing and participated in a full practice Thursday. The former starter threw about 50 balls, according to Rex Ryan. He expects Smith to be ready for the game, backing up Michael Vick.

"That's what it looks like," Ryan said. "I would expect, unless there's some kind of setback, that he would be the backup quarterback."

Smith hurt his throwing shoulder in last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills. He apparently hurt it twice during his 11-play stint, but he didn't notify anyone until later in the game. Calling it a "harsh reality" of the situation, Ryan said Smith probably would've continued to play if he hadn't thrown three interceptions, resulting in his benching.

Meanwhile, the Jets have an issue at cornerback. So what else is new? Darrin Walls, their most dependable corner, appears unlikely to play after missing his second day with calf and knee injuries. That means they will start Antonio Allen ... and pick one: Phillip Adams or Kyle Wilson or Josh Thomas or Marcus Williams. They've been changing personnel so much at cornerback that defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, speaking to reporters, said he knows Thomas and Williams by their numbers, not their names.

Thursday's practice report:

New York Jets

Did not practice: Walls.

Full practice: G Oday Aboushi (shoulder), Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), G Willie Colon (knee), TE Jeff Cumberland (finger, shoulder), LB Demario Davis (finger), WR Eric Decker (hamstring), LB David Harris (shoulder), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), WR Jeremy Kerley (illness), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), WR Greg Salas (ankle, wrist), Smith (right shoulder).

Kansas City Chiefs

Out: WR Donnie Avery (groin).

Did not practice: CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee).

Limited: S Eric Berry (ankle), CB Christopher Owens (knee).

Full practice: RB Jamaal Charles (back), TE Anthony Fasano (shoulder), CB Phillip Gaines (quadricep), RB Cyrus Gray (hand), WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring), TE Travis Kelce (ribs), G Mike McGlynn (foot), QB Alex Smith (right shoulder), CB Sean Smith (groin).

Injury report: Four Patriots remain limited

October, 30, 2014
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Recently signed veteran defensive lineman Alan Branch did not participate in practice on Thursday, though the team said it was not injury related.

The rest of the New England Patriots' injury report remained unchanged from Wednesday.

Defensive end Chandler Jones (hip) is still not participating in practices.

The limited participants are rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley (knee), rookie offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) and core special teamers Nate Ebner (finger) and Matthew Slater (shoulder).

Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle), cornerback Brandon Browner (ankle) and linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) remain full participants in practice.

SAN DIEGO -- When healthy, Brandon Flowers has been one of the best defensive players on the field for the San Diego Chargers this season.

But staying on the field has been an issue for the 28-year-old cornerback.

Flowers has missed two games this season -- one against the Denver Broncos due to a concussion suffered Oct. 19 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and another because of a lingering groin issue against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 14.

Cleared to practice after passing the league's concussion protocol Thursday, Flowers was a full participant in practice and hopes the injury issues are behind him.

"It feels like as soon as I get into a groove, something comes up," Flowers said. "But I usually don't miss a lot of games in a season. So hopefully I've got them all out the way now. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm trying to stay positive, and just be on the field every game from here on out for the rest of the season."

Flowers is tops on the Chargers in interceptions (two) and passes defensed (seven). Head coach Mike McCoy said his Chargers could use the veteran corner's presence on the field.

"Any player we can get back out there that's going to help us win football games is big," McCoy said. "And with his leadership and ability to make plays, it's always great to have him back out there."

Along with Flowers, center Rich Ohrnberger (back) and edge rushers Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) and Dwight Freeney (knee) returned to practice Thursday.

Attaochu was a limited participant, while Ohrnberger and Freeney were full participants. Donald Brown (concussion), Reggie Walker (ankle) and Steve Williams (groin) also were full participants.

Ryan Mathews (knee), Manti Te'o (foot), Jason Verrett (shoulder) and Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice for a second straight day.

McCoy acknowledged that Verrett's been dealing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder since he suffered the injury Oct. 12 against the Oakland Raiders.

"It's an injury that we've been dealing with for a couple weeks," McCoy said, when asked about Verrett's injury. "And he's had a lot of treatment on it and everything. And he gave it everything he had in the Denver game until it got to a point where he couldn't play any longer."

Asked if Verrett made the injury worse by playing against Denver last week, McCoy had this to say:

"We're not going to put anyone out there if we don't think they're ready to play. That's regardless of what the injury is, or what body part. They spend a lot of hours in the training room to get better and healthy. A number of players play with certain things. And with his injury, some players have played with that in the past, also. He's not the first guy to do this."

In fact, Verrett played with a similar injury his final season at TCU. Verrett had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in March during the offseason.

Verrett said he doesn't know for certain if he'll need surgery to repair his shoulder issue this time around.

"I haven't got that far yet," he said. "I'm still kind of deciding."

Verrett also said that he believes it was not a mistake to play last week against Denver.

"No, not at all," Verrett said. "My goal is to always be ready every week. I tested it out pregame. I felt great. I just was trying to go out there because we were kind of short at corner. I just wanted to help my team."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry was a full participant at practice Thursday.

Landry, who just completed a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, is currently on the exempt/commissioner's permission list. The Colts have until 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 3 to release a player and put Landry on the active roster in order for him to play against the New York Giants that night. If not, the team has until 4 p.m. on Nov. 4 to release Landry, put him on the active roster and release another player.

“Well, we’re going to be evaluating him," general manager Ryan Grigson said. "We have the exemption on him this week. We can take it off at any time up until Monday. But I think just like all the players, we have to scrutinize and look at him from every angle, see where his legs are at, today’s our first real day of practice, and just kind of take it from there and have those discussions. We’ll take it day by day.”

Grigson declined to go into details on what Landry’s explanation was for using performance-enhancing drugs.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Grigson said. “That’s in-house stuff. That’s family-type stuff. Those are things that happen within a family, so I’ll leave it at that.”

Landry was welcomed back with open arms despite selfishly letting the franchise down by getting suspended.

“I know he feels like he let us down in a sense,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “We welcome anybody -- we don’t judge -- with open arms. It’s good to have him back and it’s time for us to push forward and get him back in the swing of things.”

Sergio Brown will continue to start at safety until the Colts feel like Landry's ready to move back into that role.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are doing all they can to make sure Tony Romo will be protected if he can play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Romo
Romo has not practiced this week and it is not clear he will be able to do so on Friday, but the Cowboys’ equipment staff is sewing added Nike Combat gear protection into the undershirt Romo wears on game day. They have done similar things for other players for extra protection.

Romo has worn a rib protector since he became the starter, and when he suffered a punctured lung and broken rib, it was fortified with Kevlar. He also wore a specially designed vest as added protection for several games that year as his rib healed. He already has an longer-than-normal back plate for more protection after undergoing two back surgeries.

Coach Jason Garrett has said the team has no hard and fast rules about whether a player needs to practice in order to play. Romo has talked about the importance of practice leading into a game, but he has played without a practice before.

If it happens again this week, the Cowboys want to make sure Romo has extra protection.

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