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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Connor Barwin had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left forearm and will be out “a couple weeks,” coach Sean McVay announced late Monday afternoon.

Barwin, 31, had a plate inserted to stabilize the bone earlier in the day, and McVay said the procedure “went really well.” Samson Ebukam, a rookie fourth-round pick, will replace Barwin on the strong side.

“He’s a tough guy,” McVay said of Barwin. “He’ll be ready to go sooner than later, I’d be willing to bet.”
Barwin, in his ninth NFL season, was injured when he made a diving attempt to tackle New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara late in the first half of Sunday’s 26-20 win. He left Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with his arm in a sling.

Barwin’s streak of 107 consecutive NFL starts will be snapped when the Rams play the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday. Barwin has four sacks and 25 total tackles this season.

Pro Football Focus has Barwin ranked 111th among 112 edge rushers with enough snaps to qualify, but McVay said the Rams will be losing “a lot” in his absence.

Connor Barwin's run of 107 consecutive NFL starts will end next Sunday when the Rams face the Cardinals.

Connor Barwin’s run of 107 consecutive NFL starts will end next Sunday when the Rams face the Cardinals.

“You not only lose a very productive player, but I think what he’s demonstrated as far as one of those guys in the locker room,” McVay added. “You look at a guy who’s been brought in here his first year, being voted a captain by his teammates — that says a lot about the type of person he is, the way he goes about his business.”

Slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, who missed Sunday’s game because of a thigh injury, has a “90 to 95 percent” chance to play against the Cardinals, barring a setback, McVay said.

Ebukam was drafted out of Eastern Washington, the same school as receiver Cooper Kupp, and has recorded two sacks and a forced fumble while ranking 19th on the Rams in defensive snaps. The Rams can also rotate Matt Longacre, who has four sacks while mostly filling in for Robert Quinn on the weak side.

McVay called Ebukam “a player with some great explosion. He plays with good length. He’s continuing to understand the nuances of the system and what he’s being asked to do, both in our base [3-4] package and our dime package.”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rarely one to be critical in public of his players, Andy Reid had little but compliments for the Kansas City Chiefs’ cornerbacks Wednesday.

But the Chiefs’ actions to an extent drowned out his words. The team would have had no reason to sign veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis if things were going well in its secondary.

“We’ve had some young guys in there trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too,’’ Reid said, though the Chiefs have allowed more passing yards than all but four other NFL teams. “I think it’s a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that still continue to grow. It’s good for the football team. That’s a positive thing all the way around.’’

Reid wouldn’t say it, but this was a move the Chiefs had to make. Their pass defense was holding them back. The Chiefs have allowed 36 passes of 20 yards or more. Only four teams have yielded more.

“I don’t know about all that,’’ Reid said. “I would just tell you that you have an opportunity here to add a quality player and a quality player person to your team. [General manager] Brett Veach is always looking to upgrade, which is great.’’
Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson have been the starting cornerbacks, but the Chiefs have struggled to find any consistency from their third cornerbacks. They’ve gone through a rotation of Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker and Terrance Mitchell in recent weeks, but none has been able to help stem the tide of big pass plays.

Gaines allowed a 34-yard catch on fourth down in overtime in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. The play set up New York’s winning field goal, and might have pushed the Chiefs into action. Revis said he’s been talking to the Chiefs for most of the season and it’s interesting they signed him only this week.

“The reason for me returning is the fire I have, the fuel I have to continue to play this game at a high level,’’ Revis said. “My role is to help win. Whatever is best for the team, whether my position is playing a few downs or playing in the slot, wherever coach wants to play me and feels he can utilize me to help win.’’

The Chiefs brought aboard seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis in an effort to shore up what has been a leaky pass defense.

The Chiefs brought aboard seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis in an effort to shore up what has been a leaky pass defense.

The idea is for Revis to join Peters in the starting lineup. Nelson would become the nickelback.

It works if Revis can be anything close to the player he was earlier in his career. He’s 32 and coming off what he acknowledged was his worst NFL season in 2016, when he played for the New York Jets.
The Chiefs expect the Revis of old whenever he gets on the field, whether that’s on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills or sometime afterward.

“I would tell you he looks great physically,’’ Reid said. “Time does that. Time will take a step away from you. That happens. But he’s a smart guy who knows how to play the game. That’s becomes important at this point in his career. I’m not telling you he can’t run. He can still run.’’

The chance is just as good that the Revis signing won’t work out for the Chiefs. His play in 2016 was that bad.

But his play can’t be a lot worse than some of what the Chiefs have already displayed this season. They owe it to themselves and their fans to find out.

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PITTSBURGH — The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert four games for violating the league policy against performance-enhancing substances.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement that the organization was “disappointed” and that Gilbert will not appeal his suspension.

Gilbert will not be permitted inside the Steelers’ facilities until after the suspension is served. He will be eligible to return to the team on Dec. 18, a day after the Steelers’ anticipated clash with the New England Patriots at Heinz Field.

Marcus Gilbert, suspended for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, will be eligible to return to the Steelers' active roster a day after the team's Dec. 17 game against the Patriots.

Marcus Gilbert, suspended for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, will be eligible to return to the Steelers’ active roster a day after the team’s Dec. 17 game against the Patriots.

Gilbert issued a statement via his official Twitter account.

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire steelers family,” Gilbert wrote. “Regretfully I inadvertently took a banned substance. I promise to come back in great shape and will be ready to play when my suspension is over.”

The 29-year-old Gilbert has missed three games this season because of a lingering hamstring issue. He is in the third year of a five-year, $30 million contract he signed in 2015, and Gilbert’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with the Steelers last offseason about a potential contract extension down the road. His base salary for 2017 is $4 million, meaning he could miss up to $1 million during the four-game ban.

Though Chris Hubbard acquitted himself well in relief of Gilbert, the Steelers will be without a player offensive coordinator Todd Haley has called the best right tackle in the game. Many of the Steelers’ designed runs go to the right side behind guard David DeCastro and Gilbert, who’s played a big role in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s declining sack numbers in recent years.
Still, head coach Mike Tomlin recently used Hubbard as an example of his expectation to see no dropoff when subs play significant snaps.

“Marcus Gilbert missed a significant amount of time. Chris Hubbard’s play made it a nondiscussion,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t talk about it a bunch because his play was above the line. … You guys know our mentality. The standard is the standard.”

For insurance, the Steelers have second-year tackle Jerald Hawkins and have added tackle Jake Rodgers to their practice squad.

Gilbert is the third Steeler in as many years to miss multiple games because of suspension, joining Martavis Bryant (four games in 2015, all of 2016) and Le’Veon Bell (two games in 2015, three in 2016).

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FRISCO, Texas — Ezekiel Elliott’s decision to forego any further appeals and serve the six-game suspension provides the Dallas Cowboys some closure, but little else.

Instead of hoping against hope that he could win his Dec. 1 hearing for a preliminary injunction and see him return before they play Dec. 10 against the New York Giants, the Cowboys know the next time they will see him at The Star will be Dec. 18 and the next time he can be on the field will be Dec. 24.

With how this has played out at the end, there has to be some wondering inside the Cowboys’ organization if Elliott should have just taken the suspension at the start of the season. However, Elliott was doing his best to keep from being labeled an abuser. At the end, the debate was not about whether Elliott struck a former girlfriend on multiple occasions. It was about Roger Goodell’s power as commissioner to impose discipline.
Legally, Elliott was never charged by the Columbus, Ohio, authorities, but the NFL put the label on him through its personal conduct policy with a 13-month investigation in which their lead investigator did not believe Elliott should be disciplined.

Since the NFL announced the suspension on Aug. 11, the Cowboys have known that at some point — either at the start of the season, middle of the season, end of the season or even next season — their lead running back would miss time.

Their first attempt to show that life without Elliott would work, failed — a 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week. Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden combined to run for 65 yards on 15 carries, or roughly what Elliott picked up in a quarter and a half of action, on average, in his past four games.

Without Ezekiel Elliott, it's up to the Cowboys coaches to put together a game plan that suits the strengths of Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden.

Without Ezekiel Elliott, it’s up to the Cowboys coaches to put together a game plan that suits the strengths of Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden.

The Cowboys actually missed All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee more against Atlanta than they did their All-Pro running back.

While “next man up,” is a terrific philosophy, it is up to the Cowboys coaches to do more than just run the same stuff without Elliott and Tyron Smith on offense. Expecting Morris, Rod Smith and McFadden to be able to do what Elliott did, does not make sense. Expecting Chaz Green and Byron Bell to block like Tyron Smith, does not make sense.
Jason Garrett often tells his players to control what they can control. He repeated that message to Elliott throughout the running back’s legal odyssey. It’s up to the coaches to control what they can control, and that is putting together a plan that better fits the strengths of Morris, Rod Smith and McFadden and not so much what Elliott did best.

The Cowboys now know they will not have Elliott until the day before Christmas.

To make sure the final two games of the season matter, the coaches have to find a way to better adjust to life without Elliott.

The goal is to be at 7-7 or 8-6 by the time Elliott returns. That should keep the Cowboys in the wild-card chase.

And then the hope would be a rested, fresh and likely motivated Elliott can carry them in the final two games.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Safety Tashaun Gipson says he’s glad he got away from the Cleveland Browns organization and hopes the Jacksonville Jaguars score at least 40 points in Sunday’s matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Oh, yeah: He also thinks the Jaguars’ defense will pitch a shutout.

“I truly hope that we hang 40 on them,” Gipson said during an interview with ESPN’s Freddie and Fitz radio show on Monday. “Their offense probably shouldn’t score against our defense and I’m excited. That’s the true thing.

“It’s personal, but yet at the end of the day you’re still blessed … knowing that I’m in a situation right now where I don’t look back about it. I don’t look back with any regrets. I’m extremely excited with where I’m at right now, but you know it’s definitely going to be personal man, for sure.”

That wasn’t the only shot Gipson took at the Browns during his interview. He also said he’s glad he’s no longer a part of an organization that has lost double-digit games in 12 of the past 14 seasons.

The Browns have won only two of their past 36 games and are the NFL’s only remaining winless team (0-9) in 2017. Gipson said the blame for that rests squarely on the front office and not the players. They’ve bungled decision after decision, he said, especially when it comes to quarterback.

“You look back and I feel bad for those guys because, like I said, it’s nothing that they can do. They just go out there and play,” Gipson said. “It’s the guys above them who make these decisions and, you know, it’s unfortunate. We’ve seen it time and time again, the opportunity that’s slipped by them.

“Every time [Eagles quarterback] Carson Wentz pop up on the TV, somebody brings it up [that the Browns didn't draft him]. I had to play against [Texans rookie quarterback] Deshaun Watson. It’s unfortunate what happened to him, but that’s going to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and one of the best quarterbacks in the league in the coming years.

“It’s things like that you just continue to scratch your head. You’ve just got to look back and say, ‘Man, I’m glad to get up out of there.’”

Gipson spent the first four seasons of his career with the Browns after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in 2012. He developed into one of the better safeties in the league, making the Pro Bowl in 2014.

Gipson was one of four starters the Browns chose not to retain in the 2016 free-agency period; tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs), center Alex Mack (Falcons) and receiver Travis Benjamin (Chargers) were the others, all signing on the first day of free agency.

Gipson would go on to sign a five-year, $36 million contract with the Jaguars in March 2016, with $12 million guaranteed.

Gipson said that while he may not have fond memories of the organization, he appreciates the fan base.
“Coming from the situation in which I came, you know, the way that I made it to Cleveland, the opportunity that I was granted and just the path that I paved for myself — I’ll forever be in debt to the city of Cleveland because they helped me get to my first Pro Bowl, besides the God-given ability to go out there and make plays,” he said. “The fans, they supported me, they loved me, they brought me in. It was never a situation where it was any ill will to the fans. I don’t have any ill will because I’m blessed, but it’s going to be a little different and honestly it’s going to be exciting [to return to Cleveland].”

Gipson said he still speaks with Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey and secondary coach DeWayne Walker, who spent the past four seasons in a similar role with the Jaguars. Otherwise, Gipson has had minimal contact with former teammates.

“I can’t read minds, but I can only imagine what’s going on in those guys’ minds over there,” he said. “I mean, it’s pretty bad.”

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The news Sam Bradford received Wednesday — his 30th birthday, no less — delivered a major blow to the veteran quarterback’s chances of landing a long-term deal.

Bradford was placed on injured reserve by the Minnesota Vikings in order to create a spot on the 53-man roster for Teddy Bridgewater, who was activated off the physically unable to perform list. Since leading the Vikings to a season-opening win over the Saints where he also suffered a noncontact injury, Bradford has faced ongoing problems with his left knee.

Over the past three months, the quarterback has dug into his own pockets to conduct an exhaustive search for an answer to his knee problems, making repeat visits to orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, undergoing Regenokine treatments and trying out an arthroscopic procedure on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The “good news” he received each time had to be frustrating. While there’s apparently no joint or structural damage, the inflammation has caused Bradford chronic pain.

Bradford was told by those who treated him that this was not expected to be a long-term issue. That’s the belief the Vikings said they had, too, until Wednesday.

“We all did, but it didn’t happen,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Nothing really changed, it just didn’t get better.”

The veteran quarterback, who came to the Vikings via a trade in September 2016 after Bridgewater went down with a catastrophic knee injury, will hit the market in 2018 as an unrestricted free agent. This season was supposed to help him secure a megadeal with Minnesota or elsewhere.

Sam Bradford's trip to IR because of chronic left knee pain could scuttle any hope for a big contract anywhere in 2018.

Sam Bradford’s trip to IR because of chronic left knee pain could scuttle any hope for a big contract anywhere in 2018.

Instead, the move to IR could cost him millions.

The 2017 season was Bradford’s chance to put up big numbers after spending a full offseason versed in Pat Shurmur’s system and lead the team on a playoff run. Doing that could have earned him his next big deal – aka Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford money – as evidenced by how many NFL teams are desperate for a solid starting quarterback.

Bradford, who is making $18 million from the Vikings this season between his $14 million base salary and $4 million roster bonus, could have been looking at a multiple-year deal worth over $100 million.

Now? Well, needless to say, Bradford probably doesn’t want to do much in the way of celebrating this crushing reality. But let’s keep things in perspective for a second.

Bradford has made $114 million over his eight years in the NFL. He could decide to retire now or take next season off and live comfortably.

The former top pick in the 2010 NFL draft (the year before the present CBA locked rookies in on a pay scale) made $65 million with the Rams over five seasons where he dealt with injuries to that same left knee that caused him to miss considerable time, including the entire 2014 season.

After being traded to the Eagles in 2015 and producing so-so results that year, Philadelphia re-upped his deal for $18 million guaranteed in 2016. He was then traded to the Vikings for first- and fourth-round picks when Minnesota desperately needed a quarterback.

We don’t need to go through the entirety of Bradford’s contract history, so in sum, the veteran quarterback made $24 million from the Eagles and will end 2017 making $25 million from the Vikings.

There’s a miracle scenario out there that could keep things in line for Bradford. He’s eligible to come off IR after eight weeks, which would be the first week of the playoffs. If Minnesota makes the postseason, he’s healthy and the Vikings aren’t getting what they need out of Bridgewater, maybe Bradford shocks the world, leads the team to the Super Bowl and secures his dream-come-true deal.

Maybe there’s a .001 percent chance that happens, but even still, future teams are going to have pause over handing out a big contract because there’s so much uncertainty over whether his knee is going to continue to be a problem.

In all likelihood, Bradford’s future will consist of shorter, possible one-year deals for a reduced price. A look around the league’s quarterback situations could put him in a place like Washington or Miami next season. Maybe Cleveland or another team that drafts a quarterback could sign him to compete with their younger player for a spot.
Is the Bradford era in Minnesota over before it ever really got started? Possibly. Bridgewater just so happens to be a free agent in 2018 as well. If the Vikings aren’t confident that he’s their guy for the long-term, Bradford could be back next year, albeit for a reduced price and shorter duration. He won’t get the franchise tag that was being thrown around in discussions several months ago.

Minnesota wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on a big extension with Bradford before the season started, and the other 31 teams in the NFL won’t likely be eager to do the same going forward.

This was supposed to be a year of leverage for Bradford; a chance to get another favorable extension that would increase his net worth among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.

What this season instead revealed was an injury issue that he could no longer outrun and may cost him his next big payday.

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HOUSTON — After rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL last week, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith discussed adding free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“We talk about the roster and what’s out there every day, Rick [Smith] and I,” O’Brien said.

When asked specifically about whether Kaepernick was discussed, O’Brien said, “Oh yeah, I mean everybody gets discussed.”

Last month, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL for collusion, which said the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

Kaepernick’s protest began before a preseason game in 2016, when he did not stand during the national anthem, which has led other NFL players to follow in protest of racial inequality and police brutality.

On Nov. 10, ESPN The Magazine reported that Texans owner Bob McNair commented during an October owners meeting that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” McNair’s comments angered Texans players, and left tackle Duane Brown, who has since been traded, was vocal on the subject. The following Sunday against the Seahawks, the majority of Texans players took a knee during the national anthem. On Sunday, every Texans player appeared to stand during the anthem.

When asked if Texans ownership would sign Kaepernick if O’Brien wanted him, the head coach did not answer the question but said that Kaepernick is “a good football player.”

“I’ve studied him from when he was coming out of college,” O’Brien said. “When we scrimmaged against them and then obviously when he was in professional football when we scrimmaged against them last year when we went out to San Fran.

“Again, these things are discussed basically daily, and it’s not just one guy. Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player [but he] hasn’t played football in a while. But these things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”

Texans quarterback Tom Savage started in Sunday’s 20-14 loss to the Colts and was 19-of-44 for 219 yards and a touchdown. Most of those yards came on the final two drives after the Texans’ offense did not score a point until there were 6 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the game.

O’Brien said as of now, he expects Savage to start on Sunday against the Rams.

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TEMPE, Ariz. — David Johnson’s return from a fractured wrist won’t begin in earnest until mid-November.

The Arizona Cardinals running back told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the “Know Them From Adam” podcast that he still has to wear his cast for “a couple more weeks” before he can start rehabilitating.

When asked when he thinks a return is possible, Johnson said, “I really don’t know.” Johnson did say the Cardinals’ record won’t impact his timeline.

“Health is totally separate,” Johnson said. “I’m really just trying to get back on the field as quick as possible. Record doesn’t mean anything.”
Johnson suffered the injury in the season opener against the Detroit Lions. His doctor told him a wrist injury is “tricky” to recover from because of the number of small bones and ligaments around the wrist.

David Johnson hasn't played since he was injured in Week 1 against the Lions.

David Johnson hasn’t played since he was injured in Week 1 against the Lions.

Once the cast is removed, Johnson will have to work on getting rid of the soreness and stiffness in his wrist, a process that will determine when he can return. Johnson just recently began working out; doctors previously advised him against it because sweat could’ve gotten into his stitches and caused an infection.

On Tuesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked whether he anticipates both Johnson and fellow injured running back T.J. Logan returning this season.

“Right now, I doubt it,” Arians said.

The Cardinals (3-4) will be in the midst of Week 11 in two weeks, when Johnson might be able to shed his cast, leaving seven regular-season games to play.

“We’ll see from there how stiff the wrist is and see how long it’ll take for me to go through rehab,” Johnson said.

Johnson gained 1,239 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards last season, and he scored 20 touchdowns. Adrian Peterson, acquired from the New Orleans Saints in an Oct. 10 trade, is now the Cardinals’ starting running back and has rushed for 155 yards in two games.

Arizona had a bye last week and is preparing to visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.