|National Football League|
NFL Recent Player News
|12/18/2014||Jimmy Clausen, QB|
|The Chicago Bears benched Jay Cutler on Thursday, deciding to start Jimmy Clausen against this Detroit Lions this weekend in favor of their franchise quarterback who signed a massive, seven-year deal less than a year ago.
Analysis: Clausen has appeared in three games this season and attempted nine passes, completing three. He was 1-9 in 10 starts as a rookie with Carolina in 2010 and threw for 1,558 yards that year. Carolina then drafted Cam Newton. The Bears signed Clausen in June, and he beat out Jordan Palmer for the backup job.
|12/18/2014||Philip Rivers, QB|
|Rivers was back at practice Thursday, and by all accounts it was a perfect one. "Philip had an outstanding day. The ball did not hit the ground today in all the throws he made," coach Mike McCoy said.
Analysis: The San Diego Chargers quarterback returned a day after sitting out practice in order to rest chest and back injuries. He expects to play at San Francisco on Saturday night, when the Chargers (8-6) hope to keep their playoff chances alive.
|12/18/2014||K.J. Wright, LB|
|The Seattle Seahawks have signed Wright to a four-year contract extension, keeping one of their key defensive players from reaching free agency. Seattle announced the extension Thursday. No financial terms were immediately available.
Analysis: Wright has been a versatile piece of Seattle's linebacker corps since his arrival as a fourth-round pick in 2011. Wright has started at multiple linebacker positions, but Seattle has found his best spot is as the weakside linebacker. Wright is leading Seattle with 96 tackles this season, already a career-high, has two sacks and forced three fumbles. He's started all 14 games, including three at middle linebacker when Bobby Wagner was out with a foot injury.
|12/18/2014||Jay Cutler, QB|
|Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman confirmed Cutler is being benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen.
Analysis: Trestman was announced the move on Thursday. He says Cutler will be active and serve as the backup for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Cutler leads the league in interceptions (18) and turnovers (24). He signed a massive seven-year deal with the Bears after last season.
|12/18/2014||Andrew Hawkins, WR|
|Hawkins was not on the practice field during the portion of the workout open to the media.
Analysis: Hawkins leads Cleveland with 58 receptions for 763 yards and two touchdowns. The team did not have an immediate reason for Hawkins' absence. Earlier this week, Hawkins, who is in his first season with the Browns, poignantly spoke about his reasons for wearing a T-shirt before Sunday's game protesting two police shootings in Ohio.
|12/18/2014||Craig Watts, G|
|The NFL has suspended San Diego Chargers practice squad player Craig Watts without pay for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Analysis: Watts is not eligible to join the active roster until the day following the fourth regular-season or postseason game of his suspension.
|12/18/2014||DeMarcus Love, T|
|The Denver Broncos have added offensive tackle DeMarcus Love to their practice squad.
Analysis: Love is a fourth-year pro who has spent time with the Vikings (2011-13) and Jaguars (2013) in addition to competing on the practice squads of the Giants and Saints this season.
|12/18/2014||Dominique Jones, TE|
|The Denver Broncos have re-signed tight end Dominique Jones to their active roster.
Analysis: The Broncos signed Jones 48 hours after waiving him. He played four snaps in the Broncos' 22-10 victory at San Diego last weekend after being brought up from Denver's practice squad because of injuries at his position.
|12/18/2014||Blair Walsh, K|
|Walsh has been awful lately.
Analysis: The Minnesota Vikings kicker is 1 for 6 with field goal attempts over the past two games. His success rate has fallen to 71 percent, the lowest of any regular kicker in the NFL this year. Walsh went 0 for 3 against Detroit last week, though one field goal try was blocked and another was a long shot of a 68-yarder at the end of the game.
|12/18/2014||Derek Anderson, QB|
|Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took all of the first-team reps during the 20-minute portion of practice Thursday that was open to the media. Newton had split reps with Anderson on Wednesday.
Analysis: Coach Ron Rivera has yet to name a starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, who are Anderson's former team.
|12/17/2014||Taylor Lewan, T|
|Lewan is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game versus Jacksonville.
Analysis: Lewan has missed three games with an ankle injury.
|12/17/2014||Dexter McCluster, RB|
|McCluster won't play Thursday at Jacksonville because of a knee injury.
Analysis: McCluster was ruled out for the Jaguars game in an injury report released Wednesday.
|12/17/2014||Philip Rivers, QB|
|Rivers didn't practice Wednesday, although he participated in a morning walkthrough and said he expects to play Saturday night against the San Francisco 49ers. Says Rivers: "At this point in the week I have no doubt" about playing when the Chargers (8-6) try to keep alive their playoff hopes.
Analysis: He's listed as having chest and back injuries, although the team hasn't been specific about them. Many people suspect he has a rib injury. Rivers says he hates not practicing, but adds: "Practicing today just wouldn't have been beneficial moving toward Saturday."
|12/17/2014||Case Keenum, QB|
|The Houston Texans haven't decided if Thad Lewis or Keenum will start on Sunday against Baltimore.
Analysis: Keenum started eight games for the Texans last year, losing all of them, before he was released in August when Ryan Mallett was acquired in a trade. He was on the St. Louis practice squad but signed with Houston after the Texans' loss on Sunday to Indianapolis included Ryan Fitzpatrick breaking his leg and rookie Tom Savage suffering a knee injury.
|12/17/2014||Thad Lewis, QB|
|The Houston Texans haven't decided if Lewis or Case Keenum will start on Sunday against Baltimore.
Analysis: Lewis was signed on Nov. 26 after being released by the Bills in training camp. He went 2-3 in five starts for the Bills last year. Coach Bill O'Brien said he's close to making a decision on a starter, but that he doesn't plan to announce his choice before Sunday.
|12/17/2014||Rashad Jennings, RB|
|Jennings did not practice Wednesday.
Analysis: Jennings has an ankle problem.
|12/17/2014||Percy Harvin, WR|
|Harvin has sat out practice while resting his severely sprained left ankle, which he played through Sunday at Tennessee. Harvin's availability Sunday against New England is uncertain, but he says the ankle feels "a lot better" than it did a week ago. He adds that he hopes to practice Thursday.
Analysis: Coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday that Harvin suffered a third-degree sprain two weeks ago at Minnesota, meaning the ligament is completely torn. Despite the injury, Harvin played against the Vikings, something Ryan says "very few guys will play off of." He had no catches, but had a 10-yard run and returned a kickoff 33 yards.
|12/17/2014||Ahmad Dixon, S|
|The Minnesota Vikings have promoted Dixon from the practice squad to the active roster.
Analysis: The Vikings announced the move on Wednesday as they started preparation for a game at Miami on Sunday. Dixon started the season with the Dallas Cowboys before being waived and signed to the Vikings practice squad in September. Coach Mike Zimmer says they want to get a look at Dixon as a guy who may be able to help them down the road.
|12/17/2014||Ray McDonald, DT|
|McDonald was released Wednesday by the San Francisco 49ers amid an investigation by San Jose police into McDonald on suspicion of sexual assault.
Analysis: San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said he informed McDonald and his agent by phone at 11:30 a.m. PST that the defender is "terminated." McDonald's mother, Labrina McDonald, told the San Jose Mercury News the allegation was "laughable" and not true.
|12/17/2014||Cam Newton, QB|
|Newton took all of the first-team reps during the 20-minute portion of practice Thursday that was open to the media.
Analysis: Newton did not appear to have any problems throwing the ball and moved around well. He seemed in good spirits, spending time cutting up with teammates nine days after he was involved in a two-vehicle crash that left him with two fractures in his lower back. Coach Ron Rivera has yet to name a starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.
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