August 14, 2018 / 12:32 AM / a month ago

NFL notebook: Eagles WR Jeffery could open season on PUP list

Still recovering from shoulder surgery, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery could begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, according to an NFL Network report on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) breaks up a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the second quarter in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jeffery is “progressing according to plan” but might not be ready for the season opener and could remain on the PUP list. Remaining on PUP into the regular season would require Jeffery to miss the first six games, although he would not count against the 53-man roster.

Jeffery had surgery in late February to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an injury he played through after suffering it in August 2017. He is about a week away from the six-month timetable he was given to return, but he has remained on the PUP list since training camp began and appears no closer to being activated.

Jeffery, 28, started all 16 games and played 82 percent of offensive snaps in his first year with the Eagles last season, catching 57 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns. The team signed him to a four-year, $52 million contract extension in December that included $26.75 million in guaranteed money.

—New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley left practice with what the team labeled a mild muscle strain in his leg.

“Saquon has a mild strain, and we’ll be smart with him as we move along here,” head coach Pat Shurmur said.

Barkley ran a wheel route down the sideline and caught a pass from rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta. At the end of the play, Barkley was slow to return to the huddle. He left practice with a wrap on his leg.

—The Chicago Bears are finalizing a rookie contract with first-round pick Roquan Smith and the linebacker is expected to end his holdout, according to multiple reports.

The four-year deal reportedly will be worth $18 million, fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus of about $11 million. Like all rookie deals, it will include a fifth-year team option.

Smith, whom the Bears took eighth overall out of Georgia in April’s draft, has yet to report to training camp as the sides have been unable to reach a deal. Chicago rookies reported on July 16, with veterans arriving three days later.

—After one preseason game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear that he expects veteran running back Peyton Barber to work ahead of rookie Ronald Jones.

Barber, 24, totaled 423 rushing yards on 108 carries (3.9 per carry) with three touchdowns in 16 games (four starts) last season, along with 16 catches for 114 yards. Koetter expressed confidence in Barber’s ability to fill any role required of him, although he doesn’t envision a high-volume role for the third-year pro.

Barber played 14 snaps against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, touching the ball six times (four carries, 21 yards, TD; two catches, minus-1 yard) before sitting out the rest of the night with the starters. Jones, whom the Bucs took 38th overall out of USC in April’s draft, had eight carries for 9 yards and a touchdown on 17 snaps. Koetter described Jones’ performance afterward as “average.”

—Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will play against the Denver Broncos on Saturday, returning to game action less than a year removed from a torn ACL in his left knee.

Robinson, who turns 25 this month, was sidelined for all but three plays of the 2017 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars due to the Week 1 knee injury. He tallied more than 2,200 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns from 2015-16, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2015 after setting a franchise record with 14 TD grabs.

The 6-foot-3 Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million deal with the Bears in March and was cleared for training camp. He will now become the top target for 2017 No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky, who struggled as a rookie with limited weapons at his disposal.

—The San Francisco 49ers intend to sign running back Alfred Morris to a contract, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Morris, 29, needs to pass a physical before the 49ers will formally sign him. He is familiar with the 49ers’ offense as he played in it for two seasons (2012-13) when Shanahan was offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.

Morris rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie in 2012 and followed up 1,275 yards and seven touchdowns the next season to earn the first of consecutive Pro Bowl nods. Shanahan was fired after the 2013 campaign along his father, head coach Mike Shanahan.

—Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis suggested that a player’s character should factor into punishments given out by the league for policy violations.

Davis, a longtime team captain who was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014 for his charity work, will miss the first four games this season after failing a performance-enhancing drugs test at the end of 2017. He has said the failed test was because of an estrogen blocker he had taken for years.

“The NFL has a tough job on their hands when you think about assessing fines, assessing punishment for certain things,” Davis told reporters on the Panthers’ final day of training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. “I mean, you would like to think they would take into consideration the player and what the guy has done over his career, but that’s not a part of what goes into it.”

—Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and a former college teammate were named in a personal injury lawsuit filed by Delicia Cordon, McCoy’s ex-girlfriend, in connection to a July 10 home invasion near Atlanta, ESPN reported.

In the civil suit filed Friday in Fulton (Ga.) County Court, McCoy and former University of Pittsburgh teammate Tamarcus Porter are accused by Cordon of being responsible for an attack in which she was beaten while sleeping and had jewelry stolen.

Police are investigating the incident, but no suspects have been named. The alleged attack took place at a home owned by McCoy in which Cordon was living.

—Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory practiced for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, nearly a month after he was reinstated by the league from suspension.

Gregory, whose third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy left him suspended for all of 2017, told reporters Monday he wasn’t sure he would ever return to the Cowboys, or play football again, before working his way back this offseason.

The Cowboys also activated starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins from the physically unable to perform list, signed former Oregon and Utah wideout Darren Carrington II and offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek, waived wide receiver Marchie Murdock with an injury designation and placed guard Marcus Martin on injured reserve with a torn toe ligament.

—When the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders meet in London on Oct. 14, they’ll do so in Wembley Stadium instead of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as originally planned, NFL UK announced Monday.

The move is required because of construction issues at the new stadium, a 62,062-seat venue being built for Tottenham of the Premier League. Tottenham already has moved its Sept. 15 and Oct. 6 games to Wembley.

The NFL will play three games in London next season, all of which now are scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium.

—The Denver Broncos promoted quarterback Chad Kelly to the backup quarterback spot and demoted former first-round pick Paxton Lynch to No. 3 on the depth chart.

Kelly worked with the second team Monday, two days after he went 14-for-21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the preseason opener. He also chipped in three carries for 38 yards against the Minnesota Vikings, converting three third downs with his legs.

“Chad’s played well,” Joseph said. “He played well in [last week’s practice] scrimmage, he played well Saturday night, so he deserves a chance to be the 2.”

—The Eagles signed former New York Jets and Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who participated in his first practice with his new team.

Hackenberg was the Jets’ second-round pick in 2016 but never played in a regular-season game. He joins a crowded quarterback room for the Eagles.

Carson Wentz, coming off a season-ending knee injury, and Nick Foles, who led the team to a Super Bowl win, are entrenched in the top two spots. The third-string quarterback from the 2017 team, Nate Sudfeld, also remains on the roster.

—The Broncos signed former Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson, who was acquitted of aggravated rape last month, the team announced.

Johnson earned All-SEC honors in 2013, a year after leading the conference with 138 tackles. He had 424 tackles (30.5 for loss) in 46 games across four years with the Volunteers.

The Broncos also placed safety Jamal Carter on injured reserve, signed safety Shamarko Thomas and released linebacker Stansly Maponga. According to multiple reports earlier Monday, Carter suffered a torn hamstring and needs season-ending surgery.

—The Houston Texans signed former Indianapolis and Buffalo wide receiver Quan Bray, the team announced. To make room for Bray on the roster, the Texans received former Alabama wide receiver DeAndrew White.

The Bills released Bray last week after they acquired Corey Coleman in a trade.

Bray was with the Colts for three seasons, then joined the Bills in late 2017 after the Colts released him. He has six receptions in his career.

— Washington signed wide receiver Dan Williams III to take the roster spot of Robert Davis, who was placed on injured reserve. Davis, in his second season, broke his tibia and suffered ligament damage in practice on Saturday.

The 6-foot-3 Williams played at Jackson State University, where he is the all-time leader in catches with 184 over four seasons.

He was not drafted in 2917 but spent time with both the New York Jets and Oakland last season.

—The Buccaneers acquired cornerback De’Vante Harris off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints. In a corresponding move, the Bucs waived cornerback Aaron Davis.

The Saints signed Harris as a free agent before the 2016 season, and he spent two seasons on the roster. He has played in 21 games, starting one, and has 24 career tackles, a fumble recovery and six tackles on special teams.

He played in college at Texas A&M.

—The Minnesota Vikings placed left guard Nick Easton on injured reserve and signed guard Kaleb Johnson, the team announced.

The Vikings will be the sixth team for the 6-foot-4 Johnson, who was released by Chicago on Saturday. He also has spent time with Baltimore, Cleveland, Arizona and Kansas City.

Easton underwent surgery last week to correct a bulging disk in his neck, head coach Mike Zimmer said. He is not expected to play this season.

—Field Level Media

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