NFL notebook: S Berry back with Chiefs

By The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry holds up the ball after an interception during a game against the Houston Texans in 2016. Photo by Erik Williams/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry holds up the ball after an interception during a game against the Houston Texans in 2016. Photo by Erik Williams/UPI | License Photo

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry participated in practice on Wednesday for the first time since August.

"We'll see how he does and we'll ease him back into it," Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters prior to Wednesday's practice. "The communication has been great. ... We'll see how he does. He and I will talk. We'll talk with the (doctor) and the trainers."


Reid said that he is not certain if Berry will play for the Chiefs (9-2) in their road game against the Oakland Raiders (2-9) on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET).

Berry is bidding to return to game action after rupturing his left Achilles' tendon sustained in the fourth quarter of the 2017 season opener against the New England Patriots.


A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Berry has dealt with obstacles since entering the NFL in 2010.

--New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold participated in practice, marking his first active work since sustaining a foot injury. Darnold took part in positional drills, multiple media outlets reported. Last week, the 21-year-old showed up at practice in pads and a helmet, but did not participate.

Josh McCown has been under center in the last two games for the Jets (3-8), who have dropped five in a row heading into Sunday's road contest against the Tennessee Titans (5-6).

The No. 3 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft out of USC, Darnold has struggled in his rookie season, completing only 55 percent of his passes for 214.9 yards per game with an NFL-high 14 interceptions to 11 touchdowns. His 68.3 passer rating is the worst among starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

--Wide receiver Eli Rogers of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who has been out since sustaining a torn ACL in his right knee during a 45-42 divisional round playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in January, has been cleared to practice, the Steelers announced. Rogers must be either activated by the Steelers or placed on injured reserve by Dec. 19.


Although the Steelers did not tender Rogers a restricted free agent contract offer during the offseason, he signed on the first day of training camp and was placed on the preseason PUP list. Rogers also was suspended one week for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The 25-year-old Rogers was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville in 2016 and was Pittsburgh's No. 2 receiver as a rookie with 48 receptions for 594 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was replaced by JuJu Smith-Schuster as the Steelers' No. 2 wide receiver last season, when he made only 18 receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown.

--Quarterback Mitch Trubisky did not practice on Wednesday because of a right shoulder injury and might not play again when the Chicago Bears face the New York Giants on Sunday.

Chase Daniel replaced Trubisky, who was injured the week before against the Minnesota Vikings, and led the Bears to a victory over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. There was speculation that Trubisky might have been able to play had the game been on Sunday.


The Bears held out Mack and Robinson for two weeks to ensure they were fully healthy and are taking the same approach with Trubisky.

--Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette lost the appeal of his one-game suspension and will sit out this weekend's game against the Indianapolis Colts, the league announced.

Fournette was suspended without pay following his ejection for fighting with Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson on Sunday. The league said that Fournette violated its unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules during the Jaguars' 24-21 setback to the Bills.

Fournette's appeal was heard Tuesday by appeals officer James Thrash, a former NFL player jointly appointed by the league and the players' union. The 23-year-old Fournette will miss practices and team meetings this week as well as the game, but is eligible to return to the team on Dec. 3.

Sunday's contest will mark the seventh game that Fournette has missed this season, with the first six stemming from a pair of stints due to a nagging hamstring injury. Fournette has 90 carries for 314 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season.


--Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he will continue to criticize teammates as warranted given his standing with the team.

Speaking on 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger took issue with wide receiver Antonio Brown's route running on a play that resulted in a late-game interception in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.

The two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection also criticized rookie wideout James Washington for dropping a pass in that game, as well as offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner for failing to call JuJu Smith-Schuster's number enough on the final drive.

--Wide receiver A.J. Green expects to end his three-game absence due to a toe injury on Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Denver Broncos. Green took part in Wednesday's walkthrough and said he's "back to play" for the slumping Bengals (5-6), who have lost all three games in his absence.

The seven-time Pro Bowl selection would help greatly as Jeff Driskel is expected to make his first career start in place of Andy Dalton, who was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending thumb injury.


Green said he's not worried about establishing a chemistry with Driskel, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 155 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in Sunday's 35-20 setback to Cleveland. "Just put the ball somewhere; I'll get it," Green said, via Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Green suffered the injury in a 37-34 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 28. The 30-year-old Green has 45 receptions for 687 yards and a team-leading six touchdown catches, this season, and has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in a franchise-best 32 games in his career. He has 601 receptions for 8,900 yards and 63 touchdowns in 110 games since being selected by Cincinnati with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft.

--Former NFL quarterbacks Josh Johnson, Christian Hackenberg, Zach Mettenberger and Scott Tolzien will continue their careers in the new Alliance of American Football. The league, which begins play on Feb. 9, allowed its eight teams the option to protect a quarterback with geographic ties to the franchise -- or make another selection in the first round on Tuesday.

Johnson was the first player to be allocated, as he went to the San Diego Fleet. Hackenberg and Mettenberger were selected by the Memphis Express, while Tolzien was drafted by the Birmingham Iron.


The 32-year-old Johnson played in 29 career games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals. Hackenberg never played a snap in the NFL after being selected by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Mettenberger was a sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2014 out of LSU. Tolzien, who was selected by Birmingham in the third round, spent the majority of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts.

Other quarterbacks to be drafted or protected included former University of Georgia star Aaron Murray and Jets backup Matt Simms, who went to the Atlanta Legends. Former NFL backup Stephen Morris (Orlando Apollos) and B.J. Daniels (Salt Lake Stallions) were also selected.

--Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after his record-breaking performance in his last outing, the NFL announced Wednesday.

Rivers completed 25 consecutive passes to start the game in Sunday's 45-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals, breaking Mark Brunell's record of 22 straight in 2006. Rivers' string of completions tied Ryan Tannehill, who connected on 25 straight passes over a two-game stretch for the Miami Dolphins in 2011. Rivers finished Sunday's contest with just one incompletion on 29 pass attempts for 259 yards and three touchdowns.


Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper was tabbed as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after he reeled in touchdown receptions of 40 and 90 yards in Thursday's win over the Washington Redskins. Cooper finished with eight catches for 180 yards.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 1.5 sacks in a 34-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on Monday.

Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson was tabbed as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 41 yards for a touchdown in Thursday's win over the Detroit Lions.

Baltimore Ravens punt returner Cyrus Jones was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his 70-yard punt return helped his club gain the advantage against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Seattle Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski was tabbed as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after drilling a 31-yard field goal for the win against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.


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