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NFL notebook: Texans DE Watt says he will play in opener

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The Sports Xchange
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt warms up prior to a playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. Photo by Erik Williams/UPI
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt warms up prior to a playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. Photo by Erik Williams/UPI | License Photo

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J Watt is certain that he will play in the team's season opener against the New England Patriots.

Watt, who didn't play in the team's preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, has competed in only eight games over the last two injury-riddled years.

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A back injury in 2016 limited him to only three games while a broken leg sidelined him for the final 11 contests of 2017.

The Texans' defense would be inclined to agree as it struggled in Watt's absence in 2017, ranking 20th in yards allowed per game (346.6) and 23rd in sacks (32).

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Watt has registered 76 sacks in 88 career games since being selected by Houston with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

--Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey didn't hold back when discussing several NFL quarterbacks in an interview with GQ magazine that was published on Wednesday.

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Ramsey told the monthly men's magazine that Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen is "trash," Baltimore Ravens veteran Joe Flacco isn't much better, while Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan effectively are overrated.

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The 23-year-old also came to the defense of his own quarterback Blake Bortles and said he'd like to see coaches trust him more.

--Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny sustained a broken finger in practice earlier this week, multiple media outlets reported.

Penny, who was selected 27th overall by the Seahawks in the 2018 draft, is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that there's a chance Penny will not be ready for the team's season opener against the Denver Broncos.

Penny had been competing with Chris Carson for the starting running back job with the Seahawks, who had only one rushing touchdown outside of quarterback Russell Wilson.

--Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith said he doesn't regret the time spent fighting over his contract.

Smith's lengthy absence finally ended Monday when the Bears reportedly compromised on voiding guarantees. The linebacker, who was selected eighth overall in April, was the only remaining unsigned pick of the 2018 draft.

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The four-year contract was worth $18.4 million, with multiple media outlets reporting that it included $11.5 million guaranteed. Like all rookie deals, it included a team option for a fifth season.

Smith said he's excited to get up to speed with the rest of his teammates after missing the Bears' entire training camp and the club's first two preseason contests.

--New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski might embrace the image of a carefree party-boy, but the affable star is all business when dealing with his money.

Gronkowski, who has made approximately $45 million in his NFL career, told Maverick Carter that his net worth is greater than that because he lives off the money that comes from endorsements, namely Dunkin' Donuts and Tide.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski posted 69 catches for 1,084 yards with eight touchdowns over 14 games last season.

--Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward were ejected from Wednesday's joint practice after the two exchanged punches.

A two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, Hopkins had his helmet knocked off by Ward during 1-on-1 drills in practice. Hopkins caught the ball before the two exchanged shoves, leading to punches thrown as multiple players attempted to intervene.

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Hopkins and Ward likely will see each other again when the teams square off in a preseason contest on Saturday.

--Wide receiver Corey Coleman will get a closer look at his former team when the Buffalo Bills face the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game on Friday.

Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters on Wednesday that Coleman will make his preseason debut versus the Browns. Buffalo acquired Coleman on Aug. 5 for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Coleman asked to be traded during an episode of "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns" after being relegated to the second team in favor of rookie Antonio Callaway.

Coleman was the 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft but has battled inconsistencies and dealt with injuries since entering the league.

--Right tackle Lane Johnson is embracing the thought of a rude reception when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the New England Patriots in a preseason game on Thursday.

Johnson didn't mince words after the Eagles posted a 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, saying the latter team is a "fear-based organization" with players that "act like (expletive) robots."

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The 28-year-old also said that he relished the opportunity to read all of the fans' hate mail at the time, and he expects quite the reaction at Gillette Stadium.

--The Denver Broncos claimed wide receiver DeAndrew White on waivers from the Houston Texans and signed defensive lineman DeQuinton Osborne, the team announced.

To make room for White and Osborne on the roster, the Broncos waived defensive lineman Paul Boyette and waived wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown with an injury designation.

The 6-foot, 195-pound White is in his fourth NFL season and played in six games with the San Francisco 49ers and the Texans. He also spent time on New England's practice squad and offseason roster from 2016-17.

--The Arizona Cardinals signed safety Harlan Miller to a contract, the team announced.

Miller will begin his second stint with the Cardinals, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2016 draft out of Southeastern Louisiana. They released him May 9.

The 6-foot, 182-pound Miller shuffled between the active roster and practice squad during his two seasons in Arizona. He recorded 12 tackles and an interception in seven career contests.

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Cornerback Lou Young III, who was nursing an ailing hamstring, was waived with an injury designation. The 26-year-old registered one tackle in six career games with the Carolina Panthers in 2016.

--Wide receiver Carlos Henderson of the Denver Broncos has been suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced.

The suspension, which is without pay, apparently stems from an arrest for marijuana possession in Louisiana in January.

The NFL statement read: "Carlos Henderson of the Denver Broncos has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Henderson is currently on the Broncos' Reserve/Did Not Report list."

--The Oakland Raiders announced that they have claimed defensive tackle Gabe Wright on waivers from the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins waived the 6-foot-3, 309-pound Wright after he threw an elbow at running back Kenyan Drake during practice recently.

The 26-year-old Wright was selected in the fourth round (No. 113 overall) out of Auburn by Detroit in 2015, but he was waived by the Lions before the start of the 2016 season, which he sent on the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns.

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Wright was in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles last year and spent the 2017 regular season with the Dolphins, playing in one game.

--The Buffalo Bills claimed rookie defensive lineman Albert Havili on waivers from the San Diego Chargers, the team announced.

In a corresponding move, the Bills waived defensive tackle Marquavius Lewis with an injury designation.

Havili, signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington this year, made 12 sacks during his college career, including seven as a senior. He set a freshman school record with 61 tackles.

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