NFL Notebook: Steelers Brown evaluated for injury

The Sports Xchange

August 02, 2018 at 7:59 pm.

Dec 10, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a pass for a first down in the fourth quarter as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr (24) gives chase at Heinz Field. The play set up a Steelers touchdown as they went on to win 39-38.    Photo Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 10, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a pass for a first down in the fourth quarter as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr (24) gives chase at Heinz Field. The play set up a Steelers touchdown as they went on to win 39-38. Photo Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown was not at training camp Thursday due to an unspecified injury.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Brown was sent to Pittsburgh to be evaluated for an injury that he declined to reveal, according to multiple media outlets.

Pro Football Talk, citing a league source, reported that Brown is dealing with a quadriceps strain. Tomlin said Brown is considered day-to-day.

The 30-year-old Brown had 101 receptions for an NFL-high 1,533 yards in 2017 despite missing two games with a calf injury. He also had nine touchdown grabs.

It was the fifth consecutive 100-catch season for Brown, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year and received Pro Bowl honors for the sixth time.

–Tennessee Titans starting safety Johnathan Cyprien sustained a torn ACL and will miss the upcoming season, coach Mike Vrabel announced.

Cyprien suffered the injury on a non-contact play during Wednesday’s practice.

“I am devastated to say that he tore his ACL,” Vrabel said, per ESPN. “It’s tough for me as a new head coach watching guys work hard in the offseason, play hard and not get a chance to experience the NFL season this year.”

Cyprien recorded 57 tackles and one sack in 10 games last season with the Titans. He missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury after signing a four-year, $25 million contract.

–The New England Patriots will sign free-agent wide receiver Eric Decker to a one-year deal, multiple media outlets reported.

Decker worked out for the Patriots earlier this week and is expected to be signed on Thursday, per reports. The expected move comes one day after the Patriots released wide receiver Jordan Matthews with an injury settlement. Matthews sustained a hamstring injury during Sunday’s practice, according to the Boston Globe.

Fellow wideouts Kenny Britt (hamstring) and Malcolm Mitchell (knee) are both on the physically unable to perform list while Julian Edelman is expected to serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Decker will rejoin current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after the latter served as his coach with the Denver Broncos. The 31-year-old was selected by the Broncos with a third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

–Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said the team and Aaron Donald’s representatives are having a tough time coming to terms on a new contract for the star defensive tackle.

Donald, who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, reportedly is seeking to surpass the six-year, $114 million deal that Ndamukong Suh signed in 2015. The 27-year-old is slated to make $6.892 million in 2018 on the fifth year of his rookie contract.

“I don’t think they’re unrealistic,” Demoff said of Donald’s representatives on Mighty 1090 AM in San Diego. “I think they see their client at a certain point that they value at, we see it at a different point. To me, that doesn’t mean one side is right or wrong. I think that’s the worst thing you can say in negotiations.”

The former University of Pittsburgh standout was selected first-team All-Pro for the third straight year and to the Pro Bowl for the fourth year in a row.

–Six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas said he does not plan to return to the Seattle Seahawks until they meet his demands.

Writing for The Players’ Tribune, Thomas elaborated on the demands that he posted on Instagram last month in which he asked the Seahawks to offer him an extension or trade him.

“I’m asking the Seahawks to do one of two things: Offer me an extension. Or trade me to a team that wants me to be part of their future,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas wrote he believes he should be paid significantly more than the $8.5 million base salary he’s due this year — and he has no issue continuing his holdout in the interim.

–Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney has yet to fully participate in a training camp practice, but one of his coaches likes what he has seen.

“He’s been very limited in terms of what he’s done on the field, but he looks great,” Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver told the Houston Chronicle. “He looks great, and I know that’s the plan to get him as physically strong as we can just so hopefully we can avoid some of those injuries he’s had in the past that have nagged him throughout the season.

“So, I’m excited. He’s in good spirits and when he’s in good spirits, I’m in good spirits.”

Clowney has been rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery and been limited to individual drills, although the team expects him to be ready for the start of the regular season.

–Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson is expected to miss a couple days of practice as he nurses a left shoulder injury.

“Josh is OK. Everything checked out fine,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Doctson, who was injured after colliding with cornerback Josh Norman during red-zone drills.

Gruden said that the 25-year-old Doctson’s absence due to an AC joint sprain will be short in what has been a productive offseason.

“Good. Very good,” Gruden said. “Done a lot of good things down the field … Everything, he’s been good.”

–Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams appears to have avoided a long-term injury.

Williams had to be helped off the field after hurting his ankle at Tuesday’s practice, but coach Anthony Lynn told reporters that his sprained ankle did not appear to be too serious, although he had no timetable for his return.

It was initially feared that Williams suffered a high-ankle sprain. The Los Angeles Times reported that Williams is expected to miss two weeks.

The injury to Williams, who was at Thursday’s practice on crutches and wearing a walking boot, came four days after four days after former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett suffered a season-ending torn Achilles during a conditioning test. The team placed Jason Verrett on injured reserve on Thursday.

–The Indianapolis Colts restored safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers to the active roster, the team announced. Both players, who had been on the physically unable to perform list, will be eligible to practice immediately.

Hooker, the team’s first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft, was having a stellar rookie season until he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the seventh game of the season against Jacksonville.

In seven games (six starts), Hooker recorded 21 tackles and three interceptions while solidifying his reputation as a ball-hawking defender who wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the opposition.

Geathers, a fourth-round selection in 2015, started the season on the PUP list for the second straight year. He had 58 tackles while making nine starts in 2016 before going on injured reserve in December.

–Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette expects less weight to translate to more production.

Fournette told the team’s official website that he checked into training camp at 223 pounds — a decrease of 15 pounds from which he played much of his rookie season.

“I want to be great,” said Fournette, who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games during his first season in Jacksonville.

Fournette said he can already feel the difference from the weight loss and hopes to be more explosive after averaging 3.9 yards per carry in 2017.

–The Cincinnati Bengals released wide receiver Brandon LaFell, the team announced.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the move was done at the request of LaFell’s agent. LaFell, 31, had 52 receptions for 548 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games last season.

“We want to thank Brandon for his contributions to Bengals,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “He has been a consummate pro and teammate, a strong voice on the team and a great mentor for the young players. We wish him and his family the best in the future.”

LaFell reeled in 394 catches for 5,263 yards with 29 scores in 119 career contests with the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and Bengals.

–Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James is expected to practice for the first time in training camp after being activated from the non-football injury list, the team announced.

James, who was nursing a hamstring injury, was selected with the 17th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 21-year-old James is projected to find his way into the starting lineup during his rookie season. Jahleel Addae, Adrian Phillips, Jaylen Watkins and Rayshawn Jenkins are also vying for playing time at the position.

James was Florida State’s lone All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection last season after being the Seminoles’ second-leading tackler with 84 stops. He also had two interceptions and one sack.

–Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Greg Robinson returned to practice.

Brown, who was injured Friday and carted off the field during the first practice of training camp, was cleared from a concussion, reported.

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft practiced with the third-team unit at left tackle behind Joel Bitonio and Shon Coleman.

Robinson started six games for the Detroit Lions in 2017 before injuring his ankle in mid-October. He was placed on injured reserve and waived with an injury designation.

–The NFL Network is expected to sever ties with Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, the New York Post reported.

Faulk was among three analysts suspended by the NFL Network in December 2017 in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and assault brought by a former employee of the station.

Ike Taylor, also named in the lawsuit filed by former NFL Network employee Jami Cantor, already has left the station and Heath Evans is not expected to return, according to the newspaper.

In her lawsuit, Cantor claimed that Faulk fondled her breasts, groped her behind and asked Cantor “deeply personal and invasive questions” about her sex life.

–The Miami Dolphins are seeing what rookie tight end Mike Gesicki can bring to the team’s passing game.

Gesicki flashed some of those offensive skills Thursday at training camp, hauling in a touchdown pass from quarterback Brock Osweiler during one-on-one drills, the Miami Herald reported.

However, the second-round draft pick out of Penn State also failed to pick up a blitz that would have led to a sure sack, an ongoing concern, according to the newspaper.

Gesicki was a three-year starter at Penn State, where he caught 129 passes for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns — all school records for a tight end. He finished his collegiate career with at least one reception in 27 consecutive games.

–The Seattle Seahawks signed linebacker Josh Forrest and cornerback Jeremy Boykins, the team announced.

Forrest appeared in two games with the Seahawks last season before he was placed on injured reserve in December. Seattle signed Forrest to its practice squad in November.

A sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in the 2016 draft, Forrest started four of 10 games as a rookie and had six tackles and one fumble recovery.

Boykins was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Central Florida in 2017 and spent time on the Titans’ practice squad.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers signed tight end Bucky Hodges and offensive tackle Kyle Meadows, the team announced.

Both players signed one-year contracts. In corresponding moves, the Steelers released linebacker Darnell Leslie and tight end Ryan Malleck. Malleck was waived with an injury designation.

Hodges was a sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he was placed on injured reserve and released just before the start of the season. Meadows was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky this year.

–The Indianapolis Colts signed undrafted rookie Nick Callender, one day after the announced retirement of fellow guard Jack Mewhort.

Callender was signed by the Seattle Seahawks on May 7 before being waived the following month.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 321 pounds, Callender played in 37 games (21 starts) at Colorado State. He was named All-Mountain West honorable mention after playing in all 13 games during his senior season in 2016.