Cincinnati Bengals place tight end Tyler Kroft on injured reserve

CINCINNATI — The Bengals placed tight end Tyler Kroft on injured reserve on Friday, ending his season several weeks after he broke a bone in his foot against the Dolphins on Oct. 7.

The reason behind the delay was the hope that Kroft could eventually come back this season if everything went right. But it was clear after Kroft remained in a walking boot several weeks later that things weren’t progressing as they had hoped.

Kroft said he met with numerous doctors and specialists to try to figure out a solution but also indicated in October that everything needed to go perfectly to plan for him to be able to come back.

“It’s been weird,” Kroft said on Oct. 24. “It started the first day. We thought something was going to happen, and the next day comes around, and we’re … it’s evolving every week, honestly. We’re trying to keep that in mind, and we’re doing everything we can to come back this year and not prolong it.”

Kroft stayed in the game after his injury occurred despite hearing a “pop” that indicated a bone was broken.

“We knew what had happened to it and felt like I could push through it and go,” he said.

Kroft is the fourth Bengals tight end to go down following Cethan Carter (shoulder) in training camp, Tyler Eifert (broken ankle) in September and Mason Schreck (knee) in October.

“Coming into the year we thought we were a pretty deep position group. It’s awful how snake-bitten we’ve been this year,” he said.

The Bengals promoted tight ends Jordan Franks off their practice squad on Oct. 23. and Matt Lengel off the Texans practice squad on Oct. 10. Eifert, who is out for the season, was still in a walking boot and on crutches as of Friday.

Linebacker Brandon Bell was promoted off the practice squad in Kroft’s place due to injuries to Preston Brown, Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil.

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Detroit Lions place guard T.J. Lang on IR with neck injury

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have placed Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang on injured reserve after he suffered a neck injury against Minnesota on Nov. 4.

Lang missed last week’s game against Chicago with the injury and now, his season is over barring an unlikely playoff berth.

The 31-year-old signed with the Lions before the 2017 season from Green Bay as the team’s replacement for Larry Warford, who had departed for New Orleans. Detroit gave the Royal Oak, Michigan native a three-year, $28.5 million contract to come home, beating out offers from Seattle and the Packers in the process.

His first two seasons with the Lions did not go as planned. Lang was continuously injured. He started 13 games last season for the Lions, but dealt with a concussion and foot injuries. He started six games this season, but missed time with back, hip and neck injuries along with missing time due to a concussion. The concussion, suffered against Dallas, was the sixth of his career.

Lang also had surgery on his hip in 2017 before signing with the Lions.

Kenny Wiggins is likely to replace Lang in the lineup, like he has whenever Lang’s been out this season.

“We have a lot of confidence in all the guys we play,” offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said Tuesday. “I think Kenny Wiggins has done a really nice job stepping in, ready to roll. Like I said, the guys we put in out there are good football players. We have confidence in them, they’re good players.

T.J.’s a really good football player, there’s no doubt about that. But I like our guys, I think they’re out there competing, working really hard to do everything the best they can.”

It’s also possible Lang has played his final down with the Lions. He has no guaranteed money left on his contract and a cap hit of $11,666,668 million for 2019. The Lions would also owe him a $500,000 roster bonus if he’s on the team the fifth day of the new league year in March.

The Lions signed rookie cornerback Mike Ford to replace Lang on the 53-man roster. Ford will likely replace Lenzy Pipkins, who was waived by Detroit on Monday.

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Browns place Christian Kirksey, E.J. Gaines on IR

The Cleveland Browns have placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve for the rest of the season.

Kirksey, one of the team’s captains, hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. Gaines incurred his second concussion in three weeks in the same game.

The Browns are feeling the brunt of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell is on injured reserve with a broken wrist; he could return for the final four games.

Cornerback Denzel Ward injured his hip and had to leave the game against Kansas City; his status will be clarified when the injury report is released.

At linebacker, Joe Schobert is still recovering from a hamstring injury that sidelined him in a loss to the Chargers Oct. 14. He has missed the past three games.

After a fast start, the Browns’ defense has dropped in almost every league ranking as the record has gone from 2-2-1 to 2-6-1. The Browns rank 31st in total defense, 27th in passing yards per game, 32nd in rushing yards per game and 28th in points per game. The Browns signed defensive back Juston Burris off the Jets’ practice squad.

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Chicago Bears place right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve

The Chicago Bears placed right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve the team announced Saturday.

The three-time Pro Bowl lineman has a tendon injury to his right foot.

Long was hurt in the closing minutes of the Bears’ 24-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Tight end Dion Sims rolled into him while the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run.

The injury to Long leaves the NFC North-leading Bears (4-3) in a painful and familiar spot with him as they get ready to visit the Buffalo Bills (2-6). Chicago also could be without star pass-rusher Khalil Mack (right ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin) again. The two missed the win over the Jets.

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Chicago Bears might place Kyle Long on injured reserve foot injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears right guard Kyle Long has a tendon injury in his right foot, and the team is deciding whether to put him on injured reserve.

Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday the three-time Pro Bowl lineman has a boot on his foot and is “week to week.” The Bears are still trying to figure out the “complete extent” of the injury.

Asked if Long has any broken bones, Nagy said, “I’m not going to get into the details of it.” But he added there are “some issues” with a tendon.

The Bears could place Long on IR with the intent to return in eight weeks if they don’t think he could be back sooner.

“Those are decisions we’re going through,” Nagy said. “We’re not there yet. We don’t need to be. Once we get to that point, then we’ll decide what we want to do.”

Long was hurt in the closing minutes of the Bears’ 24-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Tight end Dion Sims rolled into him while the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run.

The injury to Long leaves the NFC North-leading Bears (4-3) in a painful and familiar spot with him as they get ready to visit the Buffalo Bills (2-6). Chicago could also be without star pass rusher Khalil Mack (right ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin) again. The two missed the win over the Jets.

The 29-year-old Long made the Pro Bowl his first three seasons after being drafted in the first round in 2013. But he missed eight games in 2016 and six last season after playing in 47 of a possible 48 from 2013 to 2015.

Nagy again said the latest injury was not the same as the severe one to his right ankle in 2016 that required surgery. Long also had operations on his shoulder, elbow and neck after he was shut down last year.

“It’s tough to hear news like that — one of our brothers and other family going down,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “We’re going to support him all the way and back him up and then it’s next-man-up mentality. We’ve got a lot of depth at the O-line. I feel really comfortable with where we’re at and who’s stepping in there.”

The Bears could move Eric Kush or rookie James Daniels from left guard, where they have shared time. Kush missed the game against the Jets because of a neck injury but is expected to play against Buffalo.

Another option at right guard is Bryan Witzmann. He signed with Chicago three weeks ago and made 13 starts last season for Kansas City while Nagy was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.

One scenario that can apparently be ruled out is moving Cody Whitehair from center to guard, a position he has played. Nagy said the Bears haven’t considered that.

“It’s tough to see (Long) go down with the passion that he plays with,” Whitehair said. “We hope for the best for him. I know we’ve got the right guys that will step in for him and give their best.”

With Long out, the line loses not only one of its best blockers, but a team leader.

“He helps me a lot with technique stuff,” Daniels said. “He also (tells me) if there’s a certain look, just be alert for things like that. Both ways, it’s nice to have him around.”

Game notes: Nagy said the Bears will take a similar approach with Mack and Robinson, after both were held out of practice last week on Wednesday and Thursday and limited on Friday.

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San Francisco 49ers place safety Adrian Colbert on injured reserve with high ankle sprain

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After a flurry of injuries in the San Francisco 49ers‘ secondary late in the 2017 season, Adrian Colbert stepped into the starting free-safety job and played well enough to claim it on a permanent basis.

Now, just seven weeks into Colbert’s first year as the full-time starter, Colbert’s season is almost certainly over. On Monday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the team is placing Colbert on injured reserve with a high right-ankle sprain, an injury he suffered in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Shanahan said Colbert is expected to miss six to eight weeks, and though that time frame would allow the possibility for Colbert to be one of the team’s short-term injured reserve candidates, Shanahan said the 25-year-old would “probably not” come back this season.

The Niners re-signed quarterback Tom Savage to take Colbert’s spot on the roster. Savage signed with San Francisco last week but was released to make room for defensive back Tyvis Powell because of multiple injuries in the secondary.

With 11 minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Rams quarterback Jared Goff fired a pass deep down the left sideline for receiver Brandin Cooks. Colbert sprinted to the sideline, where he converged on the ball simultaneously with Niners cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

As Colbert attempted to brace for landing, his right leg bent awkwardly underneath him. He was taken to the locker room on a cart but returned to the Niners’ sideline soon after. After the game, Colbert indicated he’d be OK but was unsure of the official diagnosis.

Colbert’s is the latest and longest-term ailment for the Niners defensive backs and comes on the heels of what Shanahan believed was one of Colbert’s better performances this season.

“We had a challenge for him the last few weeks and I thought in this game he had covered sideline to sideline very well, just running and hitting,” Shanahan said. “And [he] made a real good play on the play he got hurt on also. They tried to challenge us, go over the top, which you want the corner there on, but usually the middle-third player will show up with the speed Colbert has, and he did and he made a good play and unfortunately he got hurt.”

In parts of seven games this season, Colbert posted 20 tackles and a pass defended. Now that he’s out, Shanahan said the Niners will look at all options, including the potential return to free safety of cornerback Jimmie Ward once he recovers from a hamstring injury.

For now, rookie D.J. Reed will get the first opportunity to replace Colbert. A fifth-round pick out of Kansas State, Reed has appeared in all seven games with one start and has 13 tackles on the season.

“Colbert is one of those guys last year who got his opportunity because a lot of guys went down,” Shanahan said. “And he was one of the guys that the second half of the year we got to watch grow and go through some trial and error but ended up playing at a very high level last year and made us very excited about going into this year with him.

“Now, Colbert going out is going to give more opportunities to D.J. Reed or other players, so you hope some other guys step it up like he did last year.”

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Houston Texans place CB Kayvon Webster on injured reserve

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans‘ depth at cornerback has gotten even thinner after the team placed Kayvon Webster on injured reserve on Tuesday.

Webster, who was playing in his first game since he tore his Achilles with the Rams last December, left the Texans’ Week 5 victory over the Cowboys with a quad injury. He played just two snaps before the injury.

Houston has already placed cornerback Kevin Johnson (concussion) on injured reserve and will be without cornerback Aaron Colvin (ankle) indefinitely. The Texans relied heavily on Shareece Wright after Webster’s injury and have used safety Kareem Jackson in both roles as well.

On Monday, coach Bill O’Brien said he’d “really like to try to keep [Jackson] at safety” because of how well he has played there this season, but acknowledged using the veteran at cornerback is a possibility. Jackson played corner before making the switch to safety this offseason.

The Texans also signed safety Mike Tyson to the active roster from the practice squad and added cornerback Robert Jackson to the practice squad.

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Welcome to the NFC East where .500 is good enough to be in first place

HOUSTON — Ah, the good old NFC East, where no one ever knows anything and sometimes no one appears to be very good.

Four storied teams, one winning record between them, and by midnight ET that number will drop to zero unless the Washington Redskins can pull off a Monday Night Football upset in New Orleans.

The Dallas Cowboys could have been 3-2 after Sunday night’s game here against the Houston Texans if they’d been able to make a couple of big plays in the passing game. The defending champion Philadelphia Eagles could have been 3-2 if they’d been able to win a home game against the team they beat by 31 in the NFC Championship Game a little more than eight months ago. Even the woebegone New York Giants could have climbed to within a game of .500 if not for Carolina hitting a 63-yard field goal on them as time ran out.

But those are all “ifs,” and none of them came in, so every NFC East team that played Sunday lost and is under .500 five weeks into the season.

The exception is Washington, which has a chance to seize control of this thing Monday night. It’s a touchdown underdog on a night when Saints QB Drew Brees is poised to break the NFL’s career passing yardage record, but hey, it’s playing on 14 days rest and rank first in the league in total defense.

Yeah, look it up. No one has allowed fewer yards per game than Washington — not after Jacksonville and Baltimore each coughed up 400-plus Sunday afternoon to Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, respectively.

Washington has that weird Week 2 loss to Indianapolis and victories over Arizona and Green Bay. The Saints are by far their toughest test yet, and the odds are that the Redskins will lose, but the ball isn’t round and sometimes it bounces funny. Jay Gruden’s bunch certainly knows it has a big opportunity to go up a game and a half on the rest of the NFC East before playing any of the division’s other three teams. And no one else seems to have it together, even a little.

The Giants? They fought back against Carolina. Jeez, they scored 30 points in a game for the first time since Tom Coughlin was their coach. You force a 63-yard field goal attempt with no time left on the clock, you have to feel like you’ve got the thing won. But nothing has gone right for the Giants for quite a while now.

They’ve lost a stunning 18 of their past 22 games starting with that playoff loss in Green Bay in January 2017. To say some of the high-profile relationships in the locker room are strained might be putting it mildly. And the Giants are already 0-1 in head-to-head division play thanks to their Week 2 loss in Dallas.

And yet, as poorly as things have gone for them, the G-Men will be only a game and a half out of first place if Washington loses the Monday night game. Because it’s the NFC East, and no one knows anything.

The Eagles were supposed to roll this thing. No team has repeated as NFC East champs since Philly did it in 2003 and 2004, but it was pretty hard in August to find anyone picking anybody else to win this division. If you can win the Super Bowl with your backup quarterback, what’s so hard about beating out these three teams over a full season once you get your starter back, right?

But Carson Wentz‘s return hasn’t been the Mummers Parade victory lap everyone expected it to be. Wentz’s numbers are fine, but he has been sacked 12 times in his three games back, and the Eagles’ offense seems to lack the dynamic element it had last year before Wentz’s knee injury ended his MVP run.

The champs are a good bet to get better, but the schedule doesn’t do them any favors. They go on the road to play those angry Giants in a short-week Thursday night game and still have road games against the Saints and Rams, a home game against the Jaguars and all six of their division games still ahead of them. The Eagles may well repeat as division champs, but they’d have to run the table to repeat last year’s 13-3 record.

This stuff isn’t easy. Not in the NFC East.

Just ask the Cowboys. They were 13-3 just two years ago but can’t seem to rekindle things either. Sunday night in Houston, they played like a boxer with his gloves up in front of his face, just trying to get to the final bell. Houston held them under 100 rushing yards, which is pretty much an automatic loss for Dallas.

And while Dak Prescott cleared 200 passing yards for the second straight week, it’s only the fourth time he has done that in his past 13 games. The Cowboys are calling their passing game a work-in-progress, but the “progress” part seems lacking at this point.

“You look across the league, teams are throwing the ball and being very productive at it,” Cowboys wideout Allen Hurns said after the game. “You try not to compare yourself to others, but we need to start making the most of our opportunities.”

“The time is now,” Prescott said. “You can’t sit around and bank on that in this league, or else you lose games like we’ve been doing. We’ve got to get it together and get it together fast.”

Thing is, in the NFC East, that might not be the case. The Cowboys might have time, as they’re the only team so far with a head-to-head division win. They play very good defense — DeAndre Hopkins‘ game-clinching 49-yard jigsaw play in overtime notwithstanding. They usually run the ball well. As long as they don’t turn it over, they’re going to be in pretty much all of their games.

And if someone does emerge as a consistent, reliable threat in the receiver group, there’s some upside to a team that can keep games under control the way they do. Those are more “ifs,” but it’s not as though anyone in front of them is 5-0, 4-1 or even 3-2. Unless Washington upsets Brees & Co. on Monday, 2-3 is far from cooked in the good old NFC East.

It might not always be pretty, but the NFC East always seems to keep things interesting. I don’t know who’s going to win it, but neither do you and neither does anyone who plays or coaches in it. Round about mid-October, that’s par for the course.

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Dallas Cowboys place Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams on injured reserve

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys have placed Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick and veteran wide receiver Terrance Williams on injured reserve and activated defensive tackle David Irving from the suspended list, the team announced Saturday.

With the moves, the Cowboys have 52 players on the roster.

Frederick has been battling the effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system, since training camp. The Cowboys opted to keep him on the 53-man roster at the start of the season, keeping open the possibility of him playing sooner than many expected.

By being placed on injured reserve now, Frederick would not be able to play again until December, but the reality is there is no timetable as to when he can return. Frederick said he has made improvements, but they are more incremental than dramatic.

Williams would also be eligible to return in December, but he is facing a potential suspension from a May arrest for public intoxication. Williams missed the last week of practice as he dealt with what coach Jason Garrett called off-the-field issues as well as a foot injury. He missed a game for the first time in his career last week and saw his playing time decrease dramatically in the first three weeks of the season.

Williams missed the offseason program, organized team activities and June minicamp because of foot surgery. He was able to take part in training camp and was not on the injury report before this week. He had just two catches for 18 yards in three games.

The Cowboys signed veteran Brice Butler as insurance two weeks ago with Williams’ potential suspension looming, but had seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster.

The Cowboys re-signed Williams to a four-year, $17 million deal last year as a free agent that included $9.5 million guaranteed. Williams’ $3.5 million base salary was guaranteed entering the season.

Irving was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the substance-abuse policy. He practiced Wednesday but tended to family issues on Thursday and Friday. Garrett said Irving practiced well on Wednesday.

It was Irving’s first practice since last November after missing the final four games of the 2017 season because of a concussion. He was not around the team much in the offseason and was on the did-not-report list during training camp, working out at a gym in Hollywood.

Frederick said he has improved after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre during training camp. Initially, Frederick thought he was dealing with stingers because of the weakness and tingling feeling he had in his arms. When his strength did not return, he underwent more testing, which determined he was dealing with Guillain-Barre.

Frederick spent a few days in a hospital and underwent intravenous immunoglobulin therapy to aid his immune system.

He has been working out and taking part in meetings, and has been at every game. In September, Frederick said the process has been difficult.

“When you’re injured, you try and get past it. This is something I can’t just will my way through,” Frederick said. “It’s a matter of the nerves not conducting properly and not working correctly. It’s going to require some patience and some great work from our rehab staff and our strength staff to be able to just continue push forward and take what my body gives me so I can continue to improve as those things come back, and then I hopefully I can take that bigger jump.”

Long-time NFL lineman Mark Schlereth said he needed more than a year to feel 100 percent again after dealing with Guillain-Barre in the 1990s while playing for the Washington Redskins.

Frederick has been named a Pro Bowler in the last four seasons and never missed a game before this year. He said in September he has not thought about retirement.

“Right now my focus is getting back to being here and being able to play again,” Frederick said. “It’s a matter of time for that to happen, and unfortunately, I don’t know what that time is. I think as long as I continue to keep my eyes forward and continue to work toward that, we’re going to be in good shape.”

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Washington Redskins place RB Rob Kelley on injured reserve

The Washington Redskins placed Rob Kelley on injured reserve, their third running back to end up on this list.

The team also officially announced the signings of receivers Breshad Perriman and Michael Floyd.

Kelley injured a toe in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Kelley might require surgery and would be sidelined at least four weeks. Now that he’s on injured reserve, Kelley can’t come off for at least eight games.

The Redskins also have running backs Derrius Guice and Byron Marshall on injured reserve. Guice is lost for the year with a torn ACL, but Marshall, who sprained a knee, should be ready to return after the eighth game.

Kelley carried four times for 8 yards in two games. He also played fullback on occasion when the Redskins used I-formation.

Samaje Perine becomes the third running back behind Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson. Perine has struggled with fumbling issues, both last season and in training camp.

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