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  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Sam not signed to Rams practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Rams announced the signing of 10 players to their practice squad on Monday, and defensive end Michael Sam was not among them.

    • The absence of Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, brings him a little bit closer to being a man without a team this season.

      He was waived by the Rams on Saturday, and no team picked him up off waivers. His chances of being employed by the NFL this year decreased further when the Rams did not sign him to the practice squad.

      The Rams announced the practice-squad signings linebacker Denicos Allen, wide receiver Emory Blake, safety Christian Bryant, defensive tackle Matt Conrath, safety Matt Daniels, quarterback Garrett Gilbert, tackle Sean Hooey, linebacker Kevin Reddick, wide receiver Justin Veltung and guard Brandon Washington.

      The Rams made one other important move on Monday, claiming quarterback Case Keenum on waivers from Houston. The Rams have been looking for quarterback help since starter Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Cleveland on Aug. 24.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Report: Carr named Raiders' starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Oakland Raiders named rookie Derek Carr their starting quarterback, Fox Sports reported Monday.

    • Carr beat out veteran Matt Schaub, who was expected to be the starter after being acquired in the offseason. Schaub spent the past seven seasons starting for the Houston Texans.

      Head coach Dennis Allen needed to determine the extent of Schaub's right elbow injury before picking his starter. It's unclear yet whether that injury affected Allen's choice.

      Carr, who was taken early in the second round of this year NFL Draft, had a strong performance in the preseason, particularly when he threw three touchdown passes in a victory over the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    NFL roundup: Sam a man without a team
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Rams announced the signing of 10 players to their practice squad on Monday, and defensive end Michael Sam was not among them.

    • The absence of Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, brings him a little bit closer to being a man without a team this season.

      He was waived by the Rams on Saturday, and no team picked him up off waivers. His chances of being employed by the NFL this year decreased further when the Rams did not sign him to the practice squad.

      The Rams announced the practice-squad signings linebacker Denicos Allen, wide receiver Emory Blake, safety Christian Bryant, defensive tackle Matt Conrath, safety Matt Daniels, quarterback Garrett Gilbert, tackle Sean Hooey, linebacker Kevin Reddick, wide receiver Justin Veltung and guard Brandon Washington.

      ---After missing the entire preseason recovering from right knee surgery, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is ready to return to the field for Sunday's regular-season opener at Miami.

      "Super excited, super pumped. I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it," Gronkowski said. "My mentality now is I'm ready to go, I'm ready to be out there, I'm ready to hit, I'm ready to start going."

      Gronkowski said he will most likely wear a brace over the knee but doesn't plan to change his style of play.

      Also, the Patriots announced the signing of 10 players to their practice squad including quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

      The other players signed to the practice squad were:

      Defensive linemen Jake Bequette, Charley Hughlett and Deonate Skinner, wide receiver Josh Boyce, linebacker Ja'Gared Davis, safety Kanorris Davis, running back Jonas Gray, offensive lineman Chris Martin and defensive back Daxton Swanson.

      ---Carolina quarterback Cam Newton returned to the practice field and looked primed and ready for the Panthers opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

      It was the first time since Newton suffered fractured ribs on Aug. 22 against New England that he had been a full participant in practice. He "showed no limitation" during throwing drills, according to ESPN. Newton showed a full range of motion during drills.

      In fact, Newton ran, which he was unable to do last week, between drills. He has started every game since being the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

      ---Denver veteran wide receiver Wes Welker joined his Broncos teammates on the practice field, a good sign that he avoided a long-term setback from a concussion.

      Welker still needs to be cleared by doctors before he can play in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

      He suffered his third concussion in less than a year when he was hit by D.J. Swearinger during a preseason game against the Houston Texans. The hit angered quarterback Peyton Manning, who was penalized and fined by the league for taunting the safety after a touchdown pass on the subsequent play.

      ---The Chicago Bears signed long snapper Jeremy Cain to their 53-man roster. On Sunday, the Chicago Bears waived long snapper Brandon Hartson after signing him to a three-year contract at the beginning of August.

      The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Cain has appeared in 83 career games with the Bears, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12), with 75 of those appearances as a long snapper.

      The Bears also announced 10 signings to the practice squad: wide receiver Josh Bellamy, center Taylor Boggs, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, cornerback Isaiah Frey, guard Ryan Groy, linebacker DeDe Lattimore, cornerback Al Louis-Jean, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive tackle Roy Philon and wide receiver Rashad Ross.

      ---The Tennessee Titans signed former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop to a one-year contract.

      Succop now will face his old team in the regular-season opener Sunday in Kansas City. The Chiefs released him on Saturday after five seasons. He lost out to rookie Cairo Santos, a decision that might have been influenced by Succop's scheduled salary of $1.95 million against that of an undrafted rookie.

      Succop, 27, made 22 of 28 field goals and forced 47 touchbacks in 91 kickoffs in 2013. He is the most accurate field-goal kicker in Chiefs history (119 of 147 for 81 percent).

      ---The Buffalo Bills named their team captains, but starting quarterback EJ Manuel was not one of the six players.

      Cornerback Corey Graham, running back Fred Jackson, linebacker Brandon Spikes, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, defensive end Mario Williams and center Eric Wood were selected by their teammates as captains for the 2014 season.

      Also, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins is day to day after aggravating an injury to his ribs in the preseason finale. He practiced but the team would not commit to how much he will practice later this week.

      ---New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's frustration with oft-injured rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham boiled over again, when the coach said Beckham could be three weeks from playing due to a hamstring injury.

      The Giants used the 12th overall pick to add the LSU sprinter. He last practiced Aug. 19 when he felt his hamstring grab. At the time, the Giants denied he had a setback. However, Coughlin said he talked to Beckham recently to say "don't have another setback."

      His absence could become one for the Giants, who were counting on the speedster to spark the passing game that lost former No. 1 receiver Hakeem Nicks.

      ---The San Diego Chargers signed defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews. To make room for him on the roster, the team waived running back Marion Grice.

      Mathews, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, was a seventh-round pick by Indianapolis in 2010 and played four seasons for the Colts before signing with Houston this offseason. In four seasons in Indianapolis, Mathews recorded 51 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

      ---Nick Fairley's demotion to second string was a wake-up call, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle said. He had struggled with his weight in the preseason, drawing the ire of coach Jim Caldwell.

      Fairley got the message and on Monday was told he would start alongside Ndamukong Suh against the New York Giants in the season opener on Monday night.

      He weighed less than 300 pounds in the spring, but reported to training camp heavier than the 315 pounds he purported to be. The Detroit Free Press said Fairley weighed at least 320 pounds. He was listed on the unofficial depth chart on second string behind C.J. Mosley.

      ---The Oakland Raiders signed 10 players to their practice squad, including rookie running back George Atkinson III out of Notre Dame.

      Atkinson, who is the son of former Raiders safety George Atkinson, rushed for a game-high 63 yards on eight carries and returned a kickoff 45 yards in the Raiders' final preseason game against the Seahawks.

      The other players signed are defensive end Denico Autry, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, linebackers Bojay Filimoeatu and Spencer Hadley, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tackle Dan Kistler, guard Lamar Mady, tight end Scott Simonson and wide receiver Seth Roberts.

      ---The Atlanta Falcons signed wide receiver Freddie Martino and tight end Kyle Miller to the practice squad.

      Martino, 6-feet, 195 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted rookie out of North Greenville shortly after May's draft.

      Miller entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie from Mount Union in 2011 who originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has spent time with the Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

      ---The Cleveland Browns signed offensive lineman Patrick Lewis to the practice squad.

      Lewis spent 11 weeks on the Browns' active roster last season. He dressed but did not play in three games and was inactive for eight more. Lewis also spent three weeks on the club's practice squad before being signed to Jacksonville's active roster.

      ---The Minnesota Vikings signed cornerback Chris Greenwood to fill out their 10-player practice squad.

      Greenwood was waived by the Detroit Lions on Saturday. A 2012 fifth-round pick, Greenwood has appeared in just three NFL games, slowed by injuries in the last two seasons.

      ---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed cornerback Derrius Brooks, cornerback Brandon Dixon, linebacker Carlos Fields and safety Kimario McFadden to fill out their practice squad.

      Brooks entered the league as a college free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, before going to play in the Canadian Football League for Calgary in 2013.

      Dixon was a sixth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2014 draft, spending this offseason and preseason with them before being waived in the final cuts. ields (6-1, 238) joins Tampa Bay after spending this past offseason and preseason with the Oakland Raiders.

      ---The Washington Redskins announced the signing of safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Chaz Sutton to the team's practice squad.

      Sutton originally signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent out of South Carolina.

      Davis spent the offseason with Redskins before being cut.

      ---The Green Bay Packers signed cornerback Jumal Rolle to the practice squad and released wide receiver Alex Gillett.

      Rolle had been released as part of the team's final cutdown to its 53-man roster.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Fairley back in Lions' starting lineup
    By The Sports Xchange

    Nick Fairley's demotion to second string was a wake-up call, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle said Monday. He had struggled with his weight in the preseason, drawing the ire of coach Jim Caldwell.

    • Fairley got the message and on Monday was told he would start alongside Ndamukong Suh against the New York Giants in the season opener on Monday night.

      He weighed less than 300 pounds in the spring, but reported to training camp heavier than the 315 pounds he purported to be. The Detroit Free Press said Fairley weighed at least 320 pounds. He was listed on the unofficial depth chart on second string behind C.J. Mosley.

      Back then, Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew admitted that the move would hopefully motivate an underachieving Fairley to be more consistent. In his three seasons at Detroit, the former Auburn star played in 38 games and compiled 84 tackles and 12.5 sacks.

      Fairley blamed his weight gain on bad eating habits and vowed to reclaim his starting position.

      Even Suh, a three-time Pro Bowler, said Fairley could play better.

      Fairley got the message and now will start on Monday.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Redskins add two to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Washington Redskins announced Monday the signing of safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Chaz Sutton to the team's practice squad.

    • Sutton originally signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent out of South Carolina.

      Davis spent the offseason with Redskins before being cut.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Manuel not among Bills' captains; Watkins day to day
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Buffalo Bills named their team captains Monday, but starting quarterback EJ Manuel was not one of the six players.

    • Cornerback Corey Graham, running back Fred Jackson, linebacker Brandon Spikes, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, defensive end Mario Williams and center Eric Wood were selected by their teammates as captains for the 2014 season.

      "The players did it," coach Doug Marrone said of the vote. "If you look at it, it’s mostly veteran guys that have been around. I think that position has leadership qualities in it just by the position itself."

      The Bills made a significant and much needed upgrade to their quarterback position Saturday by signing 31-year-old Kyle Orton, the best available option on the free agent market.

      The 10th-year veteran had been released by Dallas in July, and while there were reports that he was going to retire, he was actually weighing his options, and Buffalo is a good landing spot.

      Orton immediately becomes the No. 2 quarterback behind Manuel with Thad Lewis and Jordan Palmer waived and Jeff Tuel placed on the practice squad. It is too early for the Bills to give up on Manuel, their first-round draft pick in 2013, but he has not been impressive to date.

      "It's better," Marrone said of the quarterback situation with Orton signed. "Kyle is much better for us. He's an experienced veteran. He's what we were looking for and we were fortunate to get him.

      "We wanted those guys to step up and play better. When they didn't, we had to go out and make some moves."

      Orton is 35-35 as an NFL starter with Chicago, Denver and Kansas City, and has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 15,019 yards with 83 touchdowns and 59 interceptions.

      Kyle Williams and Jackson are fourth-time captains for Buffalo while Wood is a second-time captain. Mario Williams, Spikes and Graham are all first-time captains with the Bills.

      Each player will have a letter "C" affixed to their uniform to signify this honor. Their responsibilities include assisting in the on-field communication with the game officials.

      "It's an honor when you're voted by your peers and it's a lot of responsibility," Marrone said.

      In May 2007, the NFL introduced the team captain initiative with the purpose of supporting and recognizing the importance of team leadership. The initiative has been strongly endorsed by the NFL head coaches and by the six-member NFL Player Advisory Council that was established by commissioner Roger Goodell in conjunction with the NFL Players Association.

      --Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is day to day after aggravating an injury to his ribs in the preseason finale. He practiced Monday but the team would not commit to how much he will practice Wednesday.

      The Bills also announced that the team reached an injury settlement with tight end Tony Moeaki and released him from the reserve/injured list. He was placed on the list Aug. 29.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Patriots TE Gronkowski to play Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange

    After missing the entire preseason recovering from right knee surgery, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is ready to return to the field for Sunday's regular-season opener at Miami.

    • "Super excited, super pumped. I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it," Gronkowski said Monday. "My mentality now is I'm ready to go, I'm ready to be out there, I'm ready to hit, I'm ready to start going."

      Gronkowski said he will most likely wear a brace over the knee but doesn't plan to change his style of play.

      "It feels good to be out here now this week, preparing for the Dolphins, knowing that I put myself in the best situation the last few weeks and few months to get back out here," Gronkowski said. "That was my plan the whole time -- to work as hard as I could so I'd be ready for this week."

      Gronkowski did not suit up for New England's preseason games but participated in a limited basis in some 11-on-11 sessions. He is expected to be limited if not operating on a snap count maximum for at least one week.

      The Dolphins were not surprised about Gronkowski's return.

      "We were fully prepared," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of the news Gronkowski will play. "We'll be ready for him, for sure."

      In one game against the Dolphins last season, Gronkowski had two catches for 27 yards. He missed the Dec. 15 game at Miami.

      Gronkowski has been slowed by injuries that past two seasons. He broke a collarbone in 2012 and tore an ACL in 2013. The injuries limited him to 17 games during that span.

      Gronkowski played seven games last season before the ACL tear.

      When Gronkowski did play last season, he was productive. In those seven games, he made 39 receptions for 592 yards with four touchdowns.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Raiders fill out practice squad with 10 players
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Oakland Raiders signed 10 players to their practice squad on Monday, including rookie running back George Atkinson III out of Notre Dame.

    • Atkinson, who is the son of former Raiders safety George Atkinson, rushed for a game-high 63 yards on eight carries and returned a kickoff 45 yards in the Raiders' final preseason game against the Seahawks.

      The other players signed are defensive end Denico Autry, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, linebackers Bojay Filimoeatu and Spencer Hadley, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tackle Dan Kistler, guard Lamar Mady, tight end Scott Simonson and wide receiver Seth Roberts.

      All of these players, except for Dowling, were released as part of the Raiders' final cutdown to a 53-man roster.

      Dowling is a former second-round pick of the New England Patriots. Most of this offseason, Dowling was a member of the New York Jets.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Beason psyched to be back on Giants' practice field
    By The Sports Xchange

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason, being out on the practice field with his teammates for the first time since he suffered a broken bone in his foot on June 12 was more exciting that the first day of school.

    • Sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with "Beast," the eight-year linebacker's nickname, Beason was all smiles as he spoke about his long journey back to active status and his hopes for opening night.

      "I feel pretty good," he said. "I'm just happy to be back out there, working for one common goal with my teammates and doing what I love. It feels good to get my feet wet again."

      Head coach Tom Coughlin said, "He moved around very well. Just to have him out there is a good thing."

      As excited as Beason -- who said he did everything in the Giants' light practice session on Monday -- is about finally being able to practice, he also is realistic about handling a full workload when the Giants open the season next Monday night at Detroit.

      "I think so," Beason said. "Obviously you want to gauge where I am mentally physically, what my role's going to be, how big how small. I'm just taking advantage of the reps they're giving me, trying to prove why I need to be out there."

      Beason was asked what he thinks he still needs to prove to the coaches by the end of this week.

      "I think they trust I'm going to be there," he said. "Obviously we're going to be smart about it. But it's like anything. You're always going to have to prove yourself.

      "I don't care if you're Eli (Manning) in your 11th year or you're a rookie. You have to go out there and prove yourself every single day and I think my teammates respect how I go about my business and coaches do too, but nevertheless I still have to go out there to do that.

      "But I think by the end of the week, they'll feel confident that I can go out there and contribute on whatever level they deem appropriate."

      Whatever that contribution is, whether it's big or small, Coughlin said just having the middle linebacker back in the mix is going to help change the complexion of the team because of Beason's passion for the game.

      "It's the upbeat, the love to play, fly around a million miles per hour, encouraging other people to do the same or better, and just how hard he plays," Coughlin said. "He shows great example in what he does, he loves the game, so it is great to have him back out there."

      Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul added, "We need him, everybody knows that we need him. All of the guys were hyped up today (because) he was out there. He's off the PUP list and he's ready to go; he's fired up."

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Titans sign former Chiefs K Succop
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tennessee Titans on Monday signed former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop to a one-year, according to multiple reports.

    • Succop now will face his old team in the regular-season opener Sunday in Kansas City. The Chiefs released him on Saturday after five seasons. He lost out to rookie Cairo Santos, a decision that might have been influenced by Succop's scheduled salary of $1.95 million against that of an undrafted rookie.

      Succop, 27, made 22 of 28 field goals and forced 47 touchbacks in 91 kickoffs in 2013. He is the most accurate field-goal kicker in Chiefs history (119 of 147 for 81 percent).

      Travis Coons had won the kicking job, beating out Maikon Bonani. But with the signing of Succop, the Titans parted with Coons, an undrafted free agent from Washington.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    AFC Summer Surprises: Why some players never say never
    By The Sports Xchange

    With help from an NFL preseason that has not yet shrunk from four to two games, undrafted rookies and under-appreciated veterans took advantage with surprising performances that earned a first, or one more, chance on a team roster.

    • In the AFC, the undrafted free-agent rookies included cornerback Malcolm Butler from little West Alabama and inside linebacker Zach Orr out of North Texas. This week Butler will often line up at New England Patriots practice on the same unit with the great Darrelle Revis. Orr is with the Baltimore Ravens as a special teams standout who also works out at the same position recently held by legendary linebacker Ray Lewis.

      And in Pittsburgh, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the former first-round pick (Oakland, 2009, No. 7 overall) known for being all speed and no hands, surprised coaches and teammates by converting his slim chance into a sixth season in the league.

      Here is a closer look as the Surprises of Summer from all AFC training camps, as reported by correspondents covering each team for The Sports Xchange (teams listed in alphabetical order within each division):

      AFC EAST

      BUFFALO BILLS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson.

      A rookie, seventh-round draft pick, Henderson went from a player almost not drafted in May due to his checkered off-field past at the University of Miami, to someone who will likely start at right tackle Sunday when the Bills travel to Chicago to take on the Bears.

      In training camp, Henderson filled in at left tackle for Cordy Glenn who missed three weeks with a medical condition, and more than held his own. When Glenn returned, Henderson was switched to the right side where he played in college, and though he made some rookie mistakes, Henderson held up well and is the Bills' best option at the position.

      MIAMI DOLPHINS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Defensive end Terrence Fede.

      The seventh-round pick from Marist missed the preseason finale with a knee injury, but already proved he is a raw talent with unrefined technique but he gets upfield effectively in passing situations and gives a good effort against the run.

      He is expected to be in the rotation at defensive end.

      NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Cornerback Malcolm Butler.

      Like so many undrafted free agents, Butler was perceived as an afterthought signing last May. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound corner out of FCS (Div. II) West Alabama was just a name on the roster heading into training camp.

      But then he took reps with the first defense and took significant time at both corner spots opposite Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. He spent the summer proving himself a physical, feisty corner.

      Given Browner's season-opening four-game suspension, Butler will have more chances to continue his rise from unknown to rotational option in the Patriots' retooled secondary.

      NEW YORK JETS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Saalim Hakim.

      Hakim wasn't even on the radar when training camp began, but the former practice squad player surged past veterans Jacoby Ford and Clyde Gates to win the primary kick returner job. His deep speed should also allow him to factor into the offense as a situational threat.

      AFC NORTH

      BALTIMORE RAVENS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Inside linebacker Zach Orr.

      This undrafted rookie out of North Texas beat the odds to make the Ravens' roster. Orr primarily made the cut through his special-teams prowess. He had a big hit on special teams in the preseason finale. Orr wasn't expected to make the team at the start of training camp.

      CINCINNATI BENGALS

      --Surprise of Summer: Fullback/H-back/tight end Ryan Hewitt.

      Undrafted out of Stanford, Hewitt went from an interesting side story to leap-frogging Orson Charles, who was released in the cut to 53.

      Hewitt's versatility as an H-back and tight end make him a valuable asset in the physical, run-oriented scheme new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wants to employ.

      Hewitt capped off his impressive preseason with a 1-yard touchdown catch against Indianapolis on Thursday, making a nice adjustment in the back of the end zone after the pass was deflected.

      CLEVELAND BROWNS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver/returner Taylor Gabriel.

      Gabriel is a 5-foot-8, 168-pound undrafted rookie from Abilene Christian. He is a jitterbug type whose talents are conspicuous on returns that give him an open field, Gabriel impressed coaches and teammates from the start with his work ethic as much as his amazing physical talents.

      He caught two passes against the Chicago Bears for 38 yards and finished the preseason with a team-best 10 catches for 128 yards. Gabriel had one memorable kickoff return of 68 yards against the St. Louis Rams.

      PITTSBURGH STEELERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

      Former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders (2009, No. 7 overall) has struggled through a pedestrian career with Raiders (2009-12) and Indianapolis (2013). When he signed with the Steelers was signed as a free agent in May he seemed to be a long shot to make the club.

      Known for his good speed and bad hands, Heyward-Bey earned respect with hard work early in camp, including overcoming a concussion. He has the speed to stretch defenses, but he earned respect from coaches for his willingness and ability to block for punt returns, and might be asked to try returning kicks or punts.

      AFC SOUTH

      HOUSTON TEXANS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Running back Jonathan Grimes.

      Grimes entered the offseason program looking as if he would open training camp fourth on the depth chart behind Arian Foster, Andre Brown and Alfred Blue.

      But he led the team in rushing in preseason. Foster didn't play because the coaches continued to rest him coming off back surgery to prepare him for the regular season. Brown was waived during camp. Grimes carried 32 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 4.3 yards a carry. He also caught five passes for 60 yards. When the regular season begins against the Redskins, expect him to be second on the depth chart behind Foster.

      INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Donte Moncrief.

      The Colts' rookie wide receiver certainly opened a lot of eyes since he arrived. The third-round draft quickly adapted to the team's offensive philosophy and learned to play both wide receiver spots, not an easy chore for a first-year player.

      If he continues to develop, he might be the heir apparent to veteran Reggie Wayne's role, although Wayne has shown no signs of slowing down just yet. Moncrief could prove to be a perfect long-term compliment to T.Y. Hilton.

      JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

      --SURPRISE OF CAMP: Wide receiver Allen Hurns.

      This undrafted rookie from Miami worked hard and well to go from long-shot to hotshot and could be a starter in the season opener. He looked good since the beginning of OTAs, but made an emphatic bid for a major role in preseason game No. 3 when he had seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

      He looks like a favorite target of veteran quarterback Chad Henne or rookie Blake Bortles. He took total advantage of extra reps due to injuries.

      TENNESSEE TITANS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Safety Daimion Stafford.

      A seventh-round pick in 2013, Stafford played only on special teams his first year. But this year he showed he is not only a big hitter with a nose for the ball, but apparently picked up the defensive system well.

      Stafford won't be a starter, but he solidified his spot on the team and the Titans won't hesitate to use him.

      AFC WEST

      DENVER BRONCOS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Defensive tackle Marvin Austin.

      Austin was regarded as a bust a few months ago. He was cut by three teams last year, and the 2011 second-round pick of the New York Giants appeared to be down to his last opportunity.

      But this summer he was healthy for the first time in his career, and was dominant in the first weeks of practice. He added a sack in the preseason opener against Seattle then worked his way onto the second unit behind Terrance Knighton and 2013 first-round selection Sylvester Williams.

      KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Frankie Hammond.

      After a year on the Chiefs' practice squad, Hammond has played his way onto the regular-season roster and keeps showing the K.C. coaches that he can make contributions on offense and special teams.

      He signed in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida. Hammond wasn't quite ready for regular duty last season. But in offseason work, training camp and the preseason, he elevated himself to a role as the No. 3 or 4 receiver in the Chiefs' offense. In four August games, he was the team's leading catcher among wide receivers with seven receptions for 98 yards, a nice 14-yard per catch. He averaged 35 yards on kickoff returns and nine yards on punt returns.

      OAKLAND RAIDERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Running back Latavius Murray.

      The Raiders weren't sure what they had in 2013, especially after Murray injured a foot in training camp. He was never truly healthy and ended up spending his rookie season on injured reserve. A year later, Murray gives the Raiders a legitimate option if Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden or both succumb to age, injuries or both.

      Murray is powerful and swift, an angular 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, but also has breakaway speed.

      SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Offensive lineman Chris Watt.

      The buzz on Watt, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame, started during the rookie offseason workouts. But many were anxious to see how he would hold up against the veterans. That question has been answered as he nearly won a starting spot at right guard.

      Watt couldn't quite outlast Johnnie Troutman, but it was close. Not only did Watt prove he has the stuff to play guard, but he spent a good chunk of the final preseason game at the center spot. It is possible Watt is being groomed to replace veteran center Nick Hardwick at some point, but in the meantime is a backup anywhere along the line.

      --Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, covered the NFL and the draft since the 1960s and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Panthers' Newton looks ready for opener vs. Buccaneers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Carolina quarterback Cam Newton returned to the practice field on Monday and looked primed and ready for the Panthers opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    • It was the first time since Newton suffered fractured ribs on Aug. 22 against New England that he had been a full participant in practice. He "showed no limitation" during throwing drills, according to ESPN. Newton showed a full range of motion during drills.

      In fact, Newton ran, which he was unable to do last week, between drills. He has started every game since being the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

      Newton's backup, Derek Anderson who injured his right hand in the Panthers' final preseason game, also practiced and appeared to be pain-free.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    NFC Summer Surprises: Unwanted rookies, vets make a point
    By The Sports Xchange

    After somehow being overlooked in all that micro-analysis that goes into the NFL draft, there are free-agent rookies who go to camp every year and become the surprise of summer alongside lightly regarded veterans still looking that one last chance.

    • And 2014 is no different, with several undrafted rookies making a splash and, more importantly, making the roster side by side with a few veterans whose chances of playing this season also seemed slim back in the spring.

      Among rookies, wide receiver Corey Washington out of little Newberry College overcame the most rejection this year. He was signed and cut by the Arizona Cardinals, then went to the New York Giants and became the preseason leader in receptions (10), receiving yards (155) and touchdowns receiving (3).

      Other undrafted rookies who were pleasant surprises in NFC training camps were Dallas cornerback Tyler Patmon (Oklahoma State), Green Bay outside linebacker Jayrone Ellis (Toledo) and Seattle's Brock Coyle (Montana), a former ski racer from Bozeman, Montana who is now the backup middle linebacker for the defending Super Bowl champions.

      Several veterans also took full advantage of every day they had in training camp, most notably offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who last year was the controversial central figure in Miami's bullying incident.

      This summer he worked his way from a questionable player to the No. backup tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, in line to start this week if Anthony Davis is sidelined by an injury.

      In New Orleans, running back Mark Ingram, a former first-round draftee who wasn't offered a contract extension heading into his fifth season, had his best training camp, giving ample reason for the team to reconsider his contractual status.

      Here is a closer look as the Surprises of Summer from all NFC training camps, as reported by correspondents covering each team for The Sports Xchange (teams listed in alphabetical order within each division):

      NFC EAST

      DALLAS COWBOYS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Cornerback Tyler Patmon.

      A rookie free agent from Oklahoma State, Patmon not only played well enough to make the roster, but is a possible nickel cornerback with Orlando Scandrick suspended for the first four games of the season.

      Patmon opened of eyes in the preseason game against Miami with a forced fumble, an interception and an interception returned for a touchdown. He played so well that the Cowboys released disappointing cornerback B. W. Webb, a fourth-round pick of a year ago.

      NEW YORK GIANTS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Corey Washington.

      Washington was originally signed this year by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie out of little Newberry College. When the Cardinals cut him, the Giants quickly signed Washington.

      At 6-4, 214 he was the biggest receiver on the Giants roster. But he began playing even bigger than his size, much as he did at Newberry, where he caught 95 passes for 1,615 yards and 22 touchdowns. He first showed his big play ability at North Charleston (S.C.) High School, where 19 of his 33 catches were for touchdowns.

      He showed all of that in preseason, including a 73-yard, game-deciding touchdown against Buffalo.

      PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Linebacker Travis Long.

      Long was a highly-regarded pass-rushing linebacker at Washington State, but tore his ACL in the next to last game of his college career. He wasn't drafted and signed in July 2013 with the Eagles. After spending last season on the practice squad, Long had a solid 2014 training camp and preseason. He has cross-trained as both an inside and outside linebacker and is an asset on special team.

      WASHINGTON REDSKINS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Ryan Grant.

      A fifth-round draft choice from Tulane, Grant has not only been steady in practice, but he led the Redskins with 14 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the four preseason games. With Leonard Hankerson still sidelined following knee surgery, Grant figures to join 35-year-old Santana Moss as the leading wideouts behind starters Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

      NFC NORTH

      CHICAGO BEARS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Offensive tackle Mike Ola.

      A former CFL player, Ola didn't even start for Montreal much of the time when Marc Trestman was head coach there. But with the Bears, Ola stepped into a crowded backup O-line picture when Jordan Mills was recovering from foot surgery and kept a hold on the starting right tackle spot through training camp and preseason.

      He will give up the spot now to Mills. Ola displayed quick feet, which helped make up for a lack of arm length in his blocking on the edge. When Mills was healthy earlier in preseason, Ola showed enough at other positions to prove he can play guard or even left tackle. The Bears seem to have built up some solid depth on the offensive line with Eben Britton and now with Ola.

      DETROIT LIONS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Defensive end George Johnson.

      When Johnson was signed in April, the Lions told him he would be a "camp body" and was needed to fill in for Jason Jones and Ziggy Ansah as they recovered from injuries.

      But after leading all defensive linemen with nine tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in the preseason, Johnson made himself a lock for the 53-man roster. Johnson spent time with Tampa Bay and Minnesota since going undrafted in 2010. When the Vikings cut him last October, he was 285 pounds and felt sluggish. He came to Detroit at 260 pounds and now looks like the No. 4 defensive end entering the season.

      GREEN BAY PACKERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.

      The undrafted rookie was buried among the nine outside linebackers on the team's initial depth chart after the first week of training camp. The next three weeks brought Elliott a fitting nickname of "Sack Master" from teammates and a likely spot on the season-opening roster.

      The converted defensive end from Toledo finished his meteoric preseason in style with an early sack at the expense of Kansas City Chiefs regular right tackle Donald Stephenson in the Packers' exhibition finale Thursday night. That secured the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Elliott's No. 1 ranking in the league for sacks this preseason with five. Elliott joins a group of rookie free agents at outside linebacker who bucked the long odds in August to earn a roster spot with the team in recent years -- following Frank Zombo (2010), Vic So'oto (2011), Dezman Moses (2012) and Andy Mulumba (2013).

      MINNESOTA VIKINGS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Adam Thielen.

      Thielen is an example of the good that comes from spending a year on an NFL practice squad. A year ago, he was a raw Division III prospect from Minnesota State Mankato.

      A year on the practice squad increased his football intelligence and reshaped his body into a stronger, faster version of what the Vikings originally saw in him. From OTAs to minicamp, training camp and the preseason, Thielen was the one player everyone talked about. He not only secured a spot on the 53-man roster as an extra receiver, he also surprised a lot of people as a quality punt returner who can back up Marcus Sherels.

      NFC SOUTH

      ATLANTA FALCONS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Defensive end Malliciah Goodman.

      The Falcons entered training camp not sure about where their pass-rush would come from. They needed one of their young defensive ends to step forward with some improved play. Goodman, a second-year player, did just that. He will be a major part of the defensive line rotation and be expected to rush the passer.

      CAROLINA PANTHERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

      Calling a first-round draft pick a surprise would usually be a reach, but no one expected Benjamin to play as well as he did this summer.

      The rookie was supposed to be raw, with suspect hands, and questionable route running ability. Instead, he was often the best player on the field, rarely dropped a pass, and ran solid routes. Benjamin quickly became quarterback Cam Newton's No. 1 option, and the two could have a dynamic future ahead in Carolina.

      But as good Benjamin was, the regular season will provide much tougher tests. He never faced much press coverage or double teams in practice or during the preseason, but the more he produces, the more defenses will scheme to take him out of a game.

      NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

      -- SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Running back Mark Ingram.

      The four-year veteran is in a contract year after the Saints declined to exercise their fifth-year option on the former first-round draft pick. So in training camp and the preseason he ran like a man trying to prove he deserves a big contract.

      Running with power and aggressiveness, Ingram was the team's leading rusher with 156 yards and a 7.1 average on just 22 carries. He had a long run of 22 yards, which went for a touchdown. Ingram had eight carries for 83 yards in the preseason opener at St. Louis and looks to be the ball carrier the Saints thought they were getting when they moved up into the first round of the 2011 draft to nab the former Heisman Trophy winner.

      He was plagued by injuries in his first three seasons. He could be the main man in Sean Payton's backfield-by-committee system, but will split carries with Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet.

      TAMPA BAY BUCANNEERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Kicker Patrick Murray.

      The Bucs made a bold move, cutting veteran Connor Barth in favor of Murray, an undrafted free agent from Fordham who won the job based on his toughness and versality. He was an All-America punter and placekicker at Fordham two years ago.

      Barth was attempting to make a comeback after missing 2013 with a torn Achilles in his right (kicking) leg. Both kickers were 2-for-2 in field-goal attempts in the preseason. Murray, 23, was among the first players signed after coach Lovie Smith was hired in January. Murray said he was watching a movie -- "Lone Survivor" -- when he received a call from Smith on Friday informing him he won the job.

      NFC WEST

      ARIZONA CARDINALS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Jaron Brown.

      Brown contributed on special teams last year as a rookie, but had a breakout offseason as a pass catcher. He caught everything thrown his way and made big plays against cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie in practice.

      Brown could be the team's third or fourth receiver, depending upon the opponent. He's fast, physical and at 6-2, big enough to come down with contested passes.

      ST. LOUIS RAMS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Wide receiver Brian Quick.

      There were high expectations that a light would come on for Quick in his third season, but no one knew how it would develop in training camp. While he still must prove he can be productive when the regular season begins, Quick played with much more confidence, and became a consistent downfield threat. He had five catches for 88 yards (17.6-yard average) and a touchdown in his three preseason games, while also drawing a pass-interference penalty.

      SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.

      When Martin came to the 49ers in the offseason, it was written off as Jim Harbaugh reaching out to a troubled young man whom he had coached in college. Then Martin was routinely knocked backward -- sometimes on his back -- during summer drills and it appeared only a matter of time before the coach would have cut him loose.

      But Martin, who was still overcoming a bout with mono when training camp opened, demonstrating that he has potential to be a starter in the NFL. He likely will be the first man off the bench if either starting tackle -- Joe Staley or Anthony Davis -- is injured or needs a break. And Davis may not be ready for the season opener.

      SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

      --SURPRISE OF SUMMER: Linebacker Brock Coyle.

      Coyle came to camp as a little-known undrafted free agent from Montana. He finished camp considered a lock to make the team as a backup middle linebacker after starting the first three preseason games in place of the injured Bobby Wagner.

      Wagner is now healthy and will start. But Coyle appears to have won a spot and a role as a special teamer.

      --Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, covered the NFL and the draft since the 1960s and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Packers sign CB Rolle, waive WR Gillett
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Green Bay Packers on Monday signed cornerback Jumal Rolle to the practice squad and released wide receiver Alex Gillett.

    • Rolle had been released as part of the team's final cutdown to its 53-man roster.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Welker back on practice field
    By The Sports Xchange

    Denver veteran wide receiver Wes Welker joined his Broncos teammates on the practice field on Monday, a good sign that he avoided a long-term setback from a concussion.

    • Multiple reports said Welker still need to be cleared for contact tough.

      He suffered his third concussion in less than a year when he was hit by D.J. Swearinger during a preseason game against the Houston Texans. The hit angered quarterback Peyton Manning, who was penalized and fined by the league for taunting the safety after a touchdown pass on the subsequent play.

      Welker still needs to be cleared by doctors before he can play in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

      "He's still in the [post-concussion] protocol. He's still exercising," head coach John Fox said Monday afternoon. "We feel good about his progress."

      Fox reiterated that the team will be cautious when it comes to letting Welker play. Last season, Welker missed only one week after suffering the first concussion in November against Kansas City. Three weeks later, he suffered his second concussion.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Chargers sign DT Mathews, aive RB Grice
    By The Sports Xchange

    The San Diego Chargers signed defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews, the team announced Monday. To make room for him on the roster, the team waived running back Marion Grice.

    • Mathews, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, was a seventh-round pick by Indianapolis in 2010 and played four seasons for the Colts before signing with Houston this offseason. In four seasons in Indianapolis, Mathews recorded 51 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four passes defensed.

      The 22-year-old Grice, a sixth-round pick from Arizona State, led the Chargers with 167 rushing yards in the preseason (4.1 yards per attempt).

      Grice's departure leaves Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown and Branden Oliver as the Chargers' four running backs. Grice competed for the No. 4 running back job with Oliver, an undrafted rookie who ultimately won out.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Patriots sign 10 to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New England Patriots announced Monday the signing of 10 players to their practice squad including quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

    • Bethel-Thompson, 26, is a third-year player out of Sacramento State. He has spent time with Miami (2011), Minnesota (2012-2013) and San Francisco (2013). The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder, originally was signed by San Francisco as a rookie free agent.

      The other players signed to the practice squad were:

      Defensive linemen Jake Bequette, Charley Hughlett and Deonate Skinner, wide receiver Josh Boyce, linebacker Ja'Gared Davis, safety Kanorris Davis, running back Jonas Gray, offensive lineman Chris Martin and defensive back Daxton Swanson.

      Bequette, Boyce, Ja'Gared Davis, Kanorris Davis, Gray, Martin, Skinner and Swanson all were in camp with the Patriots this season. Hughlett spent part of the offseason with the Patriots this year.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Browns sign OL Lewis to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Browns signed offensive lineman Patrick Lewis to the practice squad Monday.

    • Lewis spent 11 weeks on the Browns' active roster last season. He dressed but did not play in three games and was inactive for eight more. Lewis also spent three weeks on the club's practice squad before being signed to Jacksonville's active roster.

      Quarterback Connor Shaw, offensive lineman James Brown, defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel, tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi and linebackers Keith Pough and Justin Staples were signed to the practice squad Sunday.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Saints TE Graham: Dunks post-poned
    By The Sports Xchange

    New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said he understands -- get the points, not the penalties.

    • Graham said Sunday he will no longer dunk to celebrate touchdown receptions, which became part of the former college basketball player's routine during his rookie season, and for most of his 41 scores.

      But with the offseason rule change that penalizes players for "dunking" the ball over the goalpost, Graham drew two penalties and the ire of head coach Sean Payton during Friday's preseason game.

      "You know, for four years and however many touchdowns, I've always dunked it. And I just gotta stop doing that now," said Graham, who vowed to never do anything to hurt the team.

      Offensive tackle Zach Strief said Graham is frustrated by the rule change and was making his point in the preseason.

      Payton chased Graham down the sideline to express his frustration. Two days later, Payton explained his anger.

      "I'm his biggest fan," Payton said. "And I'm sure as we get going here, that type of thing isn't going to be a problem. You know, rules are changing constantly whether we like them or whether we voted for them or any of those things. But listen, he's outstanding. He'll be ready to go. And then what took place in the meeting will be between he and I."

      Graham said he respects Payton and his coach's ability to form meaningful relationships with his players by "treating them like men." Now, the tight end said, it's time to act like one.

      "The rule (is) unfortunate because I just love the game. I have a lot of passion for the game. And when I go out there on Sunday, it's fun for me," Graham said. "And I feel like a little kid out there. And sometimes I act like it."

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Vikings add final spot to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Vikings signed cornerback Chris Greenwood to fill out their 10-player practice squad Monday.

    • Greenwood was waived by the Detroit Lions on Saturday. A 2012 fifth-round pick, Greenwood has appeared in just three NFL games, slowed by injuries in the last two seasons.

      On Sunday, the Vikings signed nine players to the practice squad: running back Joe Banyard, defensive tackle Isame Faciane, defensive end Justin Trattou, tight end Chase Ford, cornerback Kendall James, center Zac Kerin, offensive tackle Mike Remmers and wide receivers Kain Colter and Donte Foster.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Falcons add Martino, Miller to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Atlanta Falcons signed wide receiver Freddie Martino and tight end Kyle Miller to the practice squad.

    • Martino, 6-feet, 195 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted rookie out of North Greenville shortly after May's draft.

      Miller entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie from Mount Union in 2011 who originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has spent time with the Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Bucs fill out practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed cornerback Derrius Brooks, cornerback Brandon Dixon, linebacker Carlos Fields and safety Kimario McFadden to fill out their practice squad Monday.

    • Brooks (5-foot-10, 192 pounds) originally entered the league as a college free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, before going to play in the Canadian Football League for Calgary in 2013.

      Dixon (5-11, 203) was a sixth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2014 draft, spending this offseason and preseason with them before being waived in the final cuts.

      Fields (6-1, 238) joins Tampa Bay after spending this past offseason and preseason with the Oakland Raiders.

      McFadden (5-11, 197) was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as a college free agent following the 2014 draft. He spent this past offseason and preseason with the Falcons before being waived.

      On Sunday, Tampa Bay signed six players, including former track and field star Jeff Demps, to their practice squad. Demps, a running back, was cut Saturday.

      The others signed: tight end Cameron Brate, quarterback Mike Kafka, linebacker Brandon Magee, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo and wide receiver Solomon Patton.

  • Monday, September 1, 2014
    Bears sign LS Cain
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Bears signed long snapper Jeremy Cain to their 53-man roster Monday.

    • On Sunday, the Chicago Bears waived long snapper Brandon Hartson after signing him to a three-year contract at the beginning of August.

      The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Cain has appeared in 83 career games with the Bears (2004-05 and 2013), Tennessee Titans (2006) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12), with 75 of those appearances as a long snapper. Last season, Cain served as the Bears' long snapper for two regular-season games. He also served as a long snapper for nine contests with the Titans and 64 games with the Jaguars.

      This is Cain's third stint with the Bears, appearing in eight games with the team in 2004-05, playing mostly on special teams and also seeing time as a backup linebacker. Cain originally entered the NFL with the Bears in 2004 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of UMass.

      The Bears also announced 10 signings to the practice squad: wide receiver Josh Bellamy, center Taylor Boggs, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, cornerback Isaiah Frey, guard Ryan Groy, linebacker DeDe Lattimore, cornerback Al Louis-Jean, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive tackle Roy Philon and wide receiver Rashad Ross.

      The Bears begin their season Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field.

  • Sunday, August 31, 2014
    Dolphins sign 10 to practice squad
    By The Sports Xchange

    Rookie quarterback Seth Lobato was one of 10 players the Miami Dolphins signed to their practice squad Sunday.

    • Lobato was in the Dolphins' camp this summer, as were five other players who made the practice squad: wide receiver Matt Hazel, center Sam Brenner, defensive tackle Garrison Smith, defensive end D'Aundre Reed and offensive tackle Tony Hill.

      Lobato and Hazel hooked up for a 22-yard, game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter Thursday as the Dolphins beat the visiting St. Louis Rams 14-13.

      Also joining the Dolphins' practice squad are linebacker David Hinds, wide receiver Tommy Streeter, cornerback Lowell Rose and tight end Jacob Maxwell.

  • Sunday, August 31, 2014
    Would-be Rams starter happy as Chargers' backup QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Now that the St. Louis Rams lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford to another knee injury, they might be regretting the day they let go of Kellen Clemens.

    • Clemens landed in San Diego and couldn't be happier, or so he says, despite the fact he might otherwise now be a starter in St. Louis.

      "It's a good group of guys," he said of the Chargers. "It's a veteran-led locker room, a lot of good players. You've got Pro Bowlers walking around all the time, future Hall of Famers, so it's awesome. It's a good place to be, and I'm excited to be here."

      The Chargers get back to work Monday after taking Saturday and Sunday off. The team will start preparing in earnest for their season opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 8.

      So far the Chargers are carrying five running backs. It was thought there was a battle between Marion Grice, a fifth-round pick, and Branden Oliver, an undrafted free agent, for the final roster spot at that position. For now, though, the Chargers are going with both of them to complement Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown.

      Wide receiver Vincent Brown was the biggest surprise among the Chargers' cuts as they got down to the 53-man roster.

      Brown injured his calf in the camp's second practice and didn't take another snap. If he clears waivers, Brown will sign an injury settlement.

      The other Chargers cuts were: wide receivers Javontee Herndon, Tevin Reese and Torrence Allen; tight end Michael Flacco; offensive tackles Mike Harris, Kenny Wiggins and Jeremiah Sirles; center Khalil Wilkes; quarterback Brad Sorensen; guard Craig Watts; outside linebackers Cordarro Law, Colton Underwood and Tom Keiser; inside linebacker Victor Aiyewa; defensive tackle Chas Alecxih; cornerbacks Greg Ducre and Crezdon Butler; safeties Alden Darby and Adrian Phillips; and defensive ends Doug Worthington and Joe Kruger.

      On Sunday, the Chargers filled nine of the 10 spots on their practice squad: quarterback Ryan Lindley, wide receivers Herndon and Allen, tackle Sirles, guard Watts, defensive lineman Alecxih, outside linebacker Law, cornerback Ducre and safety Phillips.

      NOTES: San Diego sold out the home opener on Sept. 15 against the Seattle Seahawks, the only sellout so far this season. ... Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer, a former player, will work the opening game in Arizona. Bauer was suspended for the final preseason game for an inappropriate joke he told during the broadcast of the third preseason game. ... DT Sean Lissemore, who sprained his ankle in the second preseason game and didn't play in a game after that, should be a go for the season opener. ... DE Lawrence Guy is on track to play in the opener. He hurt his shoulder in the preseason opener and was down the rest of the camp. ... OT Willie Smith won his battle with Mike Harris to be the No. 1 backup along the offensive line. Harris was waived.