NFL notebook: Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning home to face Chicago Bears

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 12, 2017 at 11:09 PM
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Officials approved Raymond James Stadium for Week 2 and the NFL agreed the game between the Buccaneers and Chicago Bears will be played as scheduled Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

The Bucs were still working through a bunch of logistical problems Monday.

First, they had to wait to see what damage to the infrastructure was done in Tampa by Hurricane Irma. However, it appears much of the area avoided what could have been a worse wallop.

"We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday." Buccaneers chief operating officer Brian Ford said.

"Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season."

-- Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson will have surgery on his left wrist and is expected to be sidelined two to three months, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday.

The Cardinals placed Johnson on injured reserve, but with a chance to return this season.

Johnson sought a second opinion after an early prognosis that he sustained a dislocated wrist in Sunday's 35-23 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The 25-year-old Johnson was initially injured while making a 24-yard reception in the third quarter, coach Bruce Arians said. Johnson returned on Arizona's next possession but fumbled on his next carry, which was recovered by the Lions.

The Cardinals re-signed Chris Johnson to help fill the void just 10 days after releasing him.

-- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt isn't going to let a little thing like a finger injury slow him down, even if that injury reportedly dealt with a bone breaking through the skin.

When asked about his condition, Watt told the team's website on Tuesday that he was fine.

"It's inside my body, so it's still attached," the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said.

-- The Los Angeles Rams signed punter Johnny Hekker to a two-year contract extension, the team announced.

Hekker, who initially signed a six-year extension in 2014, will remain with the team through the 2022 season. The deal gives the 27-year-old $10 million guaranteed, the most ever for a punter, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

Hekker has led the league in punting yards the last two seasons, and his average of 46.9 yards per punt ranks third all-time in NFL history. He has been named a first-team All-Pro in three of the last four seasons.

-- New Orleans right tackle Zach Strief is expected to be sidelined a few weeks after sustaining an MCL sprain in his left knee during Monday's 29-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, according to multiple reports.

An MCL sprain typically is a four-week injury, which means Strief could be sidelined through the team's Week 5 bye.

Backup Senio Kelemete replaced Strief on Monday for New Orleans, which struggled to ignite its offense versus Minnesota. The 33-year-old Strief had missed just two games since 2013.

--The Philadelphia Eagles will sign rookie Jake Elliott off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad to replace fellow kicker Caleb Sturgis, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Tuesday.

Rapoport reported that Sturgis will be placed on injured reserve/designation to return after the kicker sustained a hip flexor injury in Philadelphia's season-opening 30-17 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Elliott, who lost a competition to Randy Bullock this summer, was selected by Cincinnati with a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He made 21 of 26 field goal attempts last season with Memphis, including two of three from outside of 50 yards.

--The Detroit Lions signed Jeff Locke on Tuesday to replace fellow punter Kasey Redfern, who was placed on injured reserve.

Locke averaged 43.2 yards per punt during four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before being signed to a two-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. The Colts, however, released Locke last month.

Locke took part in workouts with the Lions on Monday after Redfern tore his ACL, MCL and part of the patellar tendon in his kicking leg in Sunday's season-opening 35-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

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