Andrew Luck could require another shoulder surgery after Europe rehab

Andrew Luck could require another shoulder surgery after Europe rehab

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s 2017 season ended before it began, with the quarterback ultimately being shut down and placed on injured reserve before ever taking a snap thanks to offseason shoulder surgery that featured multiple setbacks. The Colts mishandled the whole situation and wasted his athletic prime and Luck might not be entirely out of the woods yet.

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Luck is scheduled to return from Europe, where he’s been rehabbing his shoulder for several months, and at that point he could face another surgery.

First up will be “a throwing regimen” for Luck when he gets back from his trip overseas. This is the same throwing regimen that, according to Mortensen, “resulted in a setback with pain and discomfort.” 

If Luck experiences additional pain during this next step, there would then be “an urgent discussion will occur for Luck to undergo a corrective surgery that involves relocating the biceps tendon that is attached to the repaired labrum,” according to Mortensen. 

That is extremely concerning. 

As Mortensen noted during his update on ESPN Sunday morning, this would be considered a “routine” surgery but nothing about Luck’s situation can be considered routine. The No. 1 overall pick, taken by the Colts in 2012 to replace Peyton Manning, suffered his shoulder injury in 2015. The Colts did not have him undergo shoulder surgery until after the 2016 season ended. 

Luck took a while to get back to throwing and then suffered a setback because of pain while throwing leading up to his return, which was scheduled to happen around Week 6. (Owner Jim Irsay, who’s been squirrelly as all get out when it comes to this injury, originally suggested Luck would simply miss a game or two.) 

Currently the plan is for Luck to return from Europe and to proceed with his rehabilitation. If all goes well and he suffers no setbacks, the Colts quarterback could be on track to return for the offseason program. 

If things go south and he experiences more pain, Mortensen reports there is a chance that this additional surgery, if needed, would require a recovery period in the range of three to six months. 

That could potentially push Luck’s recovery as far back as June, which would eliminate most of his offseason program and potentially put his preseason at risk as well.

Hopefully this is not a thing that becomes a bigger thing, because the NFL needs more Andrew Luck. When healthy he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. But at this stage of his career, any additional surgeries and setbacks are concerning for both his short and long term prognosis.


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Winston, Bucs hope to answer critics with strong finish

Winston, Bucs hope to answer critics with strong finish

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) It would be nice to play well the next three games, but Jameis Winston knows there’s only one way to stop the not-so-quiet chatter about him and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking a step backward this year.

”You win,” said the young quarterback, dogged by lingering questions about his relationship with coach Dirk Koetter and what’s gone wrong in a season that will end with the Bucs (4-9) missing the playoffs again.

”The only way that you can stop all the stuff that is coming is you win. Winning takes all of us coming together as a team, and just applying it on the field and going out there and executing to get a win.”

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That means starting Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) – not waiting until next season.

The Bucs close with three consecutive games against NFC South rivals chasing playoff berths. Finishing strong not only would impact a tight division race, but also send a message to the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

”It’s not over yet. Everyone else can look at the win-loss column. As a team, we have to come together and keep playing,” Winston said.

”We control our destiny right now,” the 23-year-old added, ”and it’ll be better with just nine in the loss column than 12.”

With Winston throwing for more than 4,000 yards for the second straight season, the Bucs heightened expectations for 2017 by going 9-7 – the club’s first winning record since 2010 – a year ago. Injuries, including a shoulder sprain that kept Winston out of three games and most of a fourth, contributed to a slow start this season.

An even bigger issue has been inconsistency on offense and defense.

Turnovers and poor decision making continue to hinder Winston’s progress. And now there’s speculation about his relationship with Koetter being strained. Player and coach deny there’s a problem.

Winston said speculation is rooted in the team’s record.

”It does concern me that something like that would come out. But, am I surprised? Of course not. I’m not surprised because when you lose, people always try to find something to nitpick and nag at,” Winston said.

”Attacking the relationship of a head coach and a quarterback is definitely a way to get this locker room kind of in a panic, but we don’t condone that at all,” Winston added. ”Every one of our players stand firmly behind coach Koetter.”

Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to coach after Winston’s rookie year, in part because of the budding relationship between the two.

NFL Network was the first to report a possible rift, saying it stemmed from Winston feeling Koetter didn’t have his back while he was injured, and that the quarterback also was frustrated about the predictability of Tampa Bay’s offense.

”I think our relationship has been real consistent. … But can there be stress? Is it possible? Sure,” Koetter said.

”We spend a lot of time together, players and coaches. So, coach to coach, coach to player, player to player when you spend as much time together as we do, of course there can be,” the coach added. ”In specific, as far as my relationship with Jameis, it’s been really consistent throughout for the last three years.”

Winston agrees.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft said at times he also had disagreements with his college coach, Jimbo Fisher, at Florida State, where Winston won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national championship.

”I wouldn’t use friction as a term. I believe when you are communicating with any player, you’re going to have some disagreements,” Winston said. ”At the end of the day, as long as we come to a solid agreement and we are out there to win football games … it really doesn’t matter.”

The way the Bucs finish the season, however, could determine whether Koetter gets to continue working with Winston. Tampa Bay has made four coaching changes since last making the playoffs in 2007.

Raheem Morris was given three years to try to get the franchise back on track. The last two hires before Koetter, Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, were fired after two seasons.

Tumbling back into the NFC South cellar doesn’t necessarily mean the Bucs can’t change their fortunes quickly. Every season since the 12-team playoff format commenced in 1990, at least four teams have earned postseason berths after missing out the season before.

And with Philadelphia winning the NFC East this year, 14 times in the past 15 seasons a team has won its division after finishing in last place the previous year.

Koetter said Winston continues to ”grow and get experience” necessary to develop into a top-notch pro.

”It’s a team game, so as our team has not done as well as we hoped to do this year, there is a lot on the quarterback when things aren’t going well,” Koetter said.

”It just takes some time,” the coach added. ”I think Jameis is doing some things very well, and he is also some making some mistakes, as we all are, that we need to improve on.”

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Bears regrouping again after loss to Lions erases good vibe

Bears regrouping again after loss to Lions erases good vibe

CHICAGO (AP) The good vibe surrounding the Chicago Bears didn’t last long.

They went from busting out to breaking down, from running away with their most lopsided victory in five years to stalling in a 20-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

Chicago has dropped six of seven and hit double digits in losses in all three seasons under embattled coach John Fox. Even beating lowly Cleveland at home next week hardly is a sure thing.

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”Two games left. Just have to finish,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. ”I mean, no matter how great it gets, no matter how ugly it gets, we have two games. And, like, the main theme is just finish and finish well.”

The loss wiped out whatever good feelings the Bears (4-10) generated the previous week against the Bengals, when they went off for 482 yards and pounded Cincinnati by 26 for their most lopsided victory since 2012.

But considering where the Bengals and Lions are at, the result was hardly a shocker.

Cincinnati looked like a team that had no interest in playing coming off a loss to Pittsburgh that crushed its playoff hopes and gutted its defense. The Lions still hope to reach the postseason, and they need to win their remaining games.

For the Bears, there was plenty of blame to go around after their latest loss.

Whether it was rookie Mitchell Trubisky’s erratic play, a stagnant run game, mounting penalties and more questionable decisions by Fox, Chicago showed why it’s last in the NFC North and 0-5 against the division. The Bears have also dropped nine of 10 against the Lions.

”Lack of rhythm on offense, penalties,” Trubisky said. ”We got to eliminate penalties and then me taking care of the football, so we just need to do better at those things.

”Take care of the ball in red zone, be better on third down, obviously, and just execute better on offense all the way around. So, last week we had a little juice, executed, had things rolling. Today, it seemed like the opposite.”

Trubisky set career highs in completions (31), attempts (46) and yards passing (314). But his three interceptions were also a high for him.

He overthrew Kendall Wright on play action, and Darius Slay picked off the pass before going out of bounds. Trubisky tried to hit Dontrelle Inman in double coverage in the end zone, but Quandre Diggs stepped in front for the interception .

It didn’t help that the Bears committed 13 penalties, that they ran for just 43 yards and that their coach once again left himself open to second-guessing.

Fox, who is 13-33 with Chicago, decided to punt rather than go for it on a fourth-and-1 at the Chicago 45 trailing 6-0 early in the second quarter. Matthew Stafford then led the Lions on a 92-yard touchdown drive that included a 58-yard heave to Marvin Jones on a third-and-18 from the Detroit 30.

The Bears chose not to take a shot at the end zone after recovering a fumble at the Lions 27 near the end of the first half. Trubisky threw a short pass before Mike Nugent kicked a 41-yard field goal, cutting it to 13-3.

Fox also opted not to try an onside kick after Trubisky’s TD pass to Benny Cunningham cut it to 20-10 with 2:32 remaining. The Bears got the ball back with 2:07 left.

But Trubisky got picked off by Slay on a miscommunication with Daniel Brown in the closing minute after Chicago drove to the Detroit 25.

”The better team won,” safety Eddie Jackson said. ”They came out here and they played better than us and they got the win. We just came out short today.”

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The Latest: Just 3 players protest during early NFL games

The Latest: Just 3 players protest during early NFL games

The Latest on the NFL’s 15th Sunday of the regular season (all times Eastern):

1:42 p.m.

Just three NFL players protested visibly during the national anthem at early games.

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Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon was the only player to kneel during the ”The Star-Spangled Banner” before New York hosted Philadelphia, and Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Julius Thomas took a knee prior to Miami’s game at Buffalo , according to the Miami Herald. All three have been protesting most of the season.

Roughly a couple dozen Saints, as they have since Week 4, knelt before the national anthem and then stood up as the song started prior to their home game against the Jets.

No players from the Saints or Jets knelt during the anthem.

1:41 p.m.

Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee is questionable to return with an ankle injury.

Lee rolled his right ankle on a running play in the first quarter against Houston and had to be helped off the field and to the locker room.

Lee leads the Jaguars with 56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns.

His injury is the latest to Jacksonville’s receiving corps. Allen Robinson was lost for the season in the opener, and Allen Hurns has missed five consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain.

12:30 p.m.

The Packers likely need to win their last three games to reach the playoffs, and they hope the return of Aaron Rodgers will help against the Panthers.

Green Bay (7-6) is at Carolina (9-4) in one of the biggest games of the NFL’s Week 15. The Panthers are tied atop the NFC South with the Saints (9-4), who host the Jets.

Philadelphia (11-2), with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz, has clinched the NFC East and can secure home-field with a win against the Giants and a Minnesota loss.

The Vikings (10-3) can lock up the NFC North by beating the Bengals.

Jacksonville (9-4) will earn a playoff spot with a win over the Texans, while the Bills (7-6) host Miami.

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Report: Lewis wants to leave Bengals after contract expires

Report: Lewis wants to leave Bengals after contract expires

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Cincinnati Bengals are not commenting on a report that head coach Marvin Lewis will leave the club after the season when his contract expires.

Citing unnamed league sources, ESPN reported before Cincinnati’s game at Minnesota on Sunday that the 59-year-old Lewis would like to continue in the NFL after 15 seasons with the Bengals. That’s the second-longest tenure with one team in the league, three years behind New England’s Bill Belichick.

Asked about the report during pregame warmups by a reporter for the team website, Lewis said there was “nothing to it.”

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With a 0-7 record for Lewis in the playoffs, speculation swirled at the start of the season that this could be his final season with the Bengals.

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Why wasn’t Michael Bennett fined for his actions at the end of the Jaguars game? (VIDEO)

Why wasn’t Michael Bennett fined for his actions at the end of the Jaguars game? (VIDEO)


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Marvin Lewis out: Here are seven candidates Bengals should look at to replace him

Marvin Lewis out: Here are seven candidates Bengals should look at to replace him

It’s going to be an interesting offseason in Cincinnati now that Marvin Lewis is reportedly done with the Bengals.  

For the first time in 15 years, the Bengals are going to have to conduct a coaching search, which is always an adventure in Cincinnati and that’s mainly because of the way the team’s ownership is structured under Mike Brown. Basically, Brown is the entire structure and he has final say on all decisions. 

There’s a reason Lewis lasted for 15 years with the Bengals despite winning zero playoff games and that reason is because Brown is loyal and also loves having a coach he’s familiar with. The Bengals almost never go outside the organization to make a hire, which is why it will be interesting to watch their coaching search take place. 

When Lewis was hired in 2003, he became the first Bengals coach since 1980 — and just second in team history — who was hired without having any prior ties to the organization. The Bengals just love hiring a familiar face. Well, Brown loves hiring a familiar face, and that’s where this search will get interesting. 

If the 82-year-old Brown is handling things, he may very well go with a familiar face. If Brown let’s his daughter, Katie Blackburn, who also happens to be the team’s executive vice president, handle things, then we might see an outside candidate get hired like we did with Lewis. 

Remember, the Bengals don’t have a general manager, so that position won’t have any say in a potential new coach. 

With all of that mind, let’s take a look at five candidates (plus two bonus candidates). And keep in mind, we’re going offensive heavy with our coaching candidates because that’s what the Bengals need right now.

Internal candidates

Paul Guenther and Darrin Simmons

If the Bengals decide to go with someone who’s already on the coaching staff, it’s almost certainly going to be Guenther or Simmons. Guenther, who took over the Bengals defensive coordinator after Mike Zimmer left in 2014, has been with the organization since 2005. Guether is in his fourth season as the team’s defensive coordinator and under his watch, the Bengals defense has been one of the team’s most reliable units. The team has ranked in the top-10 of fewest points surrendered a total of two times over the past four years, which is always a good thing when you have an erratic offense like the Bengals do. 

The other in-house candidate for the Bengals is special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. Simmons has been with the team since Lewis was hired in 2003 and if the Bengals want some continuity, then going with the 44-year-old Simmons would definitely accomplish that. One thing Simmons has going for him is that he’s well-liked by the players and the front office. 

Outside candidates familiar with the Bengals

Hue Jackson and Jay Gruden

These might seem like two crazy options, but as I already mentioned, the Bengals loving hiring a familiar face and no one fits the bill more than Jackson and Gruden. Although Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has insisted that Jackson will be returning to Cleveland next season, there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen now that general manager John Dorsey is in charge. If Dorsey wants to bring in his own guy, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him dump Jackson at the end of the year. 

Although Jackson hasn’t worked out in Cleveland, he could be a great fit in Cincinnati. Remember that one year when Andy Dalton was somehow in the MVP conversation? That came in 2015 when Jackson was running the Bengals offense. Jackson was on the Bengals staff from 2004 to 2006 and then returned in 2012. He served as offensive coordinator for two seasons (2014-2015) and knows how to get the most out of Dalton. 

Not surprisingly, the other guy on this list is also a former Bengals offensive coordinator. Although Gruden is currently under contract with the Redskins, no job is ever safe with Daniel Snyder running the show, and it’s not crazy to think that Gruden could be available if the Redskins finish 5-11 or 6-10. 

Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator from 2011 to 2013 and is also the reason why Andy Dalton is even on the team. Brown had been thinking about selecting Colin Kaepernick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Gruden was able to talk him into taking Andy Dalton. 

After watching three coordinators leave over the past five years — Gruden, Zimmer and Jackson — and two of them having success in other places, Brown might feel that it’s time to bring one of them back. 

Outside candidates

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

McDaniels is going to be on everyone’s wish list this holiday season, so landing him won’t be easy. One reason McDaniels might actually like this job is because there’s a lot of offensive talent already in place. Also, he’s not necessarily tied to Dalton. If McDaniels likes Dalton, he can obviously keep him. However, if he doesn’t like Dalton, it would be pretty easy to move on from him since the Bengals can cut him after the 2017 season with a dead cap hit of just $2.4 million. Fans in Cincinnati would likely love this hire because of how much success McDaniels has had in New England. 

Although he had a disastrous two-year stint as the Broncos head coach, that was seven years ago and he’s likely learned since then that drafting Tim Tebow in the first round probably wasn’t a great idea. 

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley

Bengals fans might hate the idea of bringing in an assistant coach from their hated rival, but this move actually makes some sense on a lot of levels. For one, we’ve seen what Haley has done in Pittsburgh and there’s no reason to think he can’t do that in Cincinnati. 

One thing to like about Haley is that the Steelers offense has been ranked in the top-10 in total offense and points scored in every season since 2014. Also, with Ben Roethlisberger seemingly contemplating retirement every offseason, Haley might view this offseason has the perfect time to move on. 

Like McDaniels, Haley did have a rough time out during his last stint as a head coach. However, that mostly had to do with the fact that he was stuck in Kansas City with a quarterback in Matt Cassel that he didn’t love. Although he only lasted three seasons during his time with the Chiefs, he did lead them to the playoffs once. 

Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich

The newest name on the market this offseason might be Reich, who has been the Eagles OC since last season. Reich was hired the same year Carson Wentz was drafted and two have thrived together. With Wentz under center, the Eagles have the NFL‘s top-scoring offense through 14 weeks and are also ranked third in total yards. 

Reich as served as an offensive coordinator for two seasons with the Chargers (2014-15). One thing to like about Reich is that he’ll definitely be able to get in a quarterback’s head, which is likely going to be a good thing since he’ll be working with Dalton. Reich was an NFL quarterback from 1984 to 1998, so he has an understanding of what Dalton’s going through. 

The bottom line is that the Bengals have a lot of talent and this could be a very attractive job. Sure, they haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, but it’s not often a job comes open where the team has made the playoffs in six of the past nine years. 


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Chris Hogan reportedly won’t play, Kenny Britt could make first start for Patriots

Chris Hogan reportedly won’t play, Kenny Britt could make first start for Patriots

The last time the Steelers faced the Patriots, in last season’s AFC Championship Game, wide receiver Chris Hogan had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. On Sunday, when the two teams meet again, Hogan is expected to be inactive as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who adds that recent addition Kenny Britt could get the nod.

The Patriots signed Britt last week, days after he was jettisoned by the Browns. Cleveland had signed Britt to a four-year, $32.5 million contract, with $10.5 million in guarantees, in March. He appeared in nine games and had just 18 receptions for 233 yards and two scores. The decision to dump him was one of the first moves made by new general manager John Dorsey, who replaced Sashi Brown, the man responsible for bringing Britt to Cleveland this offseason.

In New England, Britt goes from one of the NFL‘s worst teams to one of its best. Whether that’s enough to salvage a disappointing 2017 season is another matter, though playing with Tom Brady tends to vastly improve your chances.

Even if Britt isn’t active, Brady and the Patriots will welcome back tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was suspended for the Week 14 game after his atomic elbow against the Bills the week before. The Steelers, meanwhile, are hoping both wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Joe Haden will be available — both players are listed as questionable.

In case you’re wondering, only two of eight experts are picking the Steelers to beat the Patriots.


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Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys odds: Picks from insider who’s 12-5 on Cowboys games

Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys odds: Picks from insider who’s 12-5 on Cowboys games

The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 15. The Cowboys opened as 1.5-point favorites, but the line has since moved up to -3. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 46, up one from the opener.

Before you make any picks or bets on “Sunday Night Football,” you need to see what SportsLine football insider Emory Hunt has to say.

Last Sunday, Hunt was all over Dallas to cover 4.5 points on the road against the highly motivated Giants in a game many thought New York could win outright. The result: Cowboys 30, Giants 10. Anyone who followed Hunt’s advice didn’t even break a sweat.

Amazingly, that win helped improve Hunt’s record to 12-5 picking for or against Big D. Anyone who has followed his picks is up big.

Part of his success: He’s a former running back and football coach who has been supplying analysis on the game for the past decade. He has a knack for analyzing lines and exploiting matchups. And he loves targeting high-profile NFL games.

Now, he has analyzed “Sunday Night Football” from every possible angle and locked in a strong pick. You can only see it over at SportsLine.

Hunt knows the Cowboys’ defense looked like a brand new group with linebacker Sean Lee back in the fold last Sunday. They were able to stop the run and shut down the Giants’ passing game.

With Lee healthy, the Giants’ ground game averaged 3.5 yards per carry and was shut out of the end zone. New York’s leading receiver, tight end Evan Engram, had just 54 yards.

Dallas’ rushing attack has also come alive in recent weeks. Alfred Morris and Rod Smith are filling in admirably for the suspended Ezekiel Elliott. Morris has rushed for almost 200 yards the past two weeks, while Smith posted a 5-113-1 receiving line against New York.

SportsLine’s advanced projection model is calling for Morris and Smith to keep rolling and combine for over 100 yards rushing on Sunday Night Football.

And Cowboys QB Dak Prescott broke out last week, throwing for a season-high 332 yard and three touchdowns. Now, he has a date with Oakland’s 25th-ranked pass defense.

But just because the Cowboys have gelled doesn’t mean they cover a field-goal spread, especially on the road in prime time.

The Raiders have won three of their past four home games, and two of their past three overall, despite wide receiver Amari Cooper’s ankle injury and Michael Crabtree’s one-game suspension.

Oakland’s ground game has also thrived in recent weeks. Marshawn Lynch has scored in three straight and topped 100 yards for the first time this season two weeks ago.

The Cowboys are ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in points allowed (22.6), total yards allowed (341.6), and passing yards allowed (234.2). As a result, SportsLine’s projection model is calling for Raiders QB Derek Carr to throw for almost 250 yards and two touchdowns. The best receiving bet to find the end zone is Crabtree, who had a season-high 13 targets last week.

It’s no surprise Hunt is leaning toward the Under, but what about the spread, which he has made his name picking?

He knows there’s a matchup no one is thinking about that ultimately determines the point-spread winner for Cowboys vs. Raiders on “Sunday Night Football.”

So which side should you back in Cowboys vs. Raiders? Visit SportsLine now to see what critical matchup determines which side of Cowboys-Raiders you need to be all over, all from the expert who is 12-5 on Cowboys picks, and find out.


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Packers fans keeping the faith with #12 back (VIDEO)

Packers fans keeping the faith with #12 back (VIDEO)


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