NFL

NFL news and notes: Bucs won't bench Winston, Cooper has 'painful' thigh bruise

By Sports Desk October 14, 2019

Change does not appear to be looming in Tampa Bay.

But we take a look at the adjustments to come with the latest injury updates around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Winston's job appears safe... for now

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not ready to throw in the towel just yet, as head coach Bruce Arians confirmed the team are not looking to make any changes under center at this time.

"No. I look at the reasons why. What happened?" Arians told reporters. "If it happens again, yeah, it'll concern the hell out of me."

Jameis Winston, who is in the final year of his rookie contract after his fifth-year option was picked up, threw five interceptions and had two fumbles against the Carolina Panthers, though Arians admitted the team's battered line was partly to blame.

"I think when you get hit — I don't care if you're Tom Brady — when you get hit early in games, it's different," Arians said. "And we got him hit early in the game, excluding the first play. We got him hit too much early in the game."

Cooper diagnosed with thigh bruise

Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper suffered the injury in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets, though one report suggested there is "no indication of long-term damage." Cooper could, however, be dealing with the "horribly painful" ailment at a time when Dallas faces a must-win scenario in Week 6 against NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cooper, who has 32 catches for 512 yards and five touchdowns this season, also battled foot and ankle injuries earlier this season.

Barkley ramps up workout after tweeting he'll "be back soon"

The New York Giants got a little healthier as the star running back was joined by fellow back Wayne Gallman (concussion), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) and tight end Evan Engram (knee), who all missed Thursday's loss to the New England Patriots. Each player took part in individual drills during the team's light practice.

Saquon Barkley has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain, but all signs point to him returning ahead of schedule, possibly this week against the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants do not want to rush him, but the hype video he tweeted this weekend indicates he is itching to get back on the field.

Two things that don't matter

Rudolph eyeing Week 8 return

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph entered the concussion protocol last week after being knocked out by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in Week 5. However, he practiced just three days after taking the hit, a positive sign that he should be back after the ransacked Steelers get some much-needed rest on their bye.

The team had a morale-boosting win in primetime on Sunday with third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges at the helm, thanks in large part to a stout performance by running back James Conner, though he did suffer a game-ending quad injury in the third quarter. His status will also be closely monitored before the Steelers return to action against the Miami Dolphins.

Brady won't lure Gronkowski out of retirement

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is happy to see his former team-mate thriving in life after football and does not want to disrupt that peace.

"I'm so happy that he's enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. I don't lobby for those things," Brady said on Monday morning in his weekly appearance on WEEI, a Boston sports radio station.

Rob Gronkowski retired in March and started work last week as an NFL analyst on Fox, where he said that he will always leave the door open to unretire. But it appears unlikely to happen any time soon.

"He's given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he's brought to the team and what he's brought to the region," Brady said. "I think he's just a very special guy. He's at a different phase of his life."

One video you have to see

Not only were the Los Angeles Chargers embarrassed on Sunday Night Football, Steelers fans also took over their stadium.

Monday's tweet of the day

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is pumped to be back after serving a six-game suspension for PEDs.

Related items

  • Gronkowski hints at NFL comeback - but will not return in 2019 Gronkowski hints at NFL comeback - but will not return in 2019

    Rob Gronkowski admits a playing comeback is "always an option" but has no plans to come out of retirement for the 2019 NFL season.

    A three-time Super Bowl champion during his stellar career - one spent entirely with the New England Patriots - Gronkowski triggered speculation he could be set to return when he scheduled an announcement for Tuesday.

    The 30-year-old will not be seen on a football field this season, though, instead revealing via social media that he will be hosting a major Super Bowl party in South Florida.

    "I'm bringing the FIESTA to Miami with GRONK BEACH BIG GAME WEEKEND," he tweeted, along with a video where he explains further details of the event.

    However, the clip included a line from Gronkowski that suggested he may not be done with playing just yet, as – dressed in pads and holding a helmet – he said: "Okay, maybe we call an audible – but just for this year..."

    A second-round pick by the Pats in 2010, the tight end revealed to ESPN that he continues to stay in shape, just in case he wants to get back on the field at some stage in the future.

    "I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man," he said.

    "It's always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything. I'm never stressed over it."

    Gronkowski retired in March after helping New England win Super Bowl LIII. He posted 521 receptions and had 79 touchdowns in his nine seasons with the franchise.

    The Pats have not struggled in his absence this term, improving their record to 9-1 with a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.

  • Chargers QB Rivers determined to cut out costly turnovers Chargers QB Rivers determined to cut out costly turnovers

    Philip Rivers knows he must cut out the turnovers that are "hurting" the Los Angeles Chargers after they were beaten 24-17 by the Kansas City Chiefs.

    The Chargers quarterback threw a fourth interception of the game with 24 seconds remaining attempting to pick out Austin Ekeler in the end zone on Monday.

    That late underthrow summed up another disappointing evening for Rivers and left the Chargers at 4-7.

    The 37-year-old has hurled 14 interceptions this season - with 16 turnovers in total - and is aware that is not acceptable.

    "It's a football game," the veteran said. "If you could just pick and choose and never throw them ever, I'd choose to throw zero.

    "So I certainly don't want to throw them, but I know it's hurting us right now. So obviously I need to cut them out."

    Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Rivers should not take full responsibility for his tally of turnovers, but must raise his game.

    "Philip just has to execute better, as far as turnovers," Lynn said. "Now, when you look at his turnovers, it's not always on the quarterback.

    "I mean, sometimes the quarterback is getting hit late, or sometimes a receiver may slip down, so you can't put all of those turnovers on Philip.

    "But his turnovers are a little higher than I would like. He knows that. And we have to get better in that area - period."

  • Chiefs overcome Chargers in Mexico Chiefs overcome Chargers in Mexico

    The Kansas City Chiefs recorded an important 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City in the NFL on Monday.

    A pair of third-quarter touchdowns helped the Chiefs (7-4) past AFC West rivals the Chargers (4-7) at the Estadio Azteca.

    Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes improved in the second half and finished with 182 yards on the back of 19 of 32 completed passes with one TD and an interception.

    Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 92 receiving yards, including a TD, in a key win for division leaders Kansas City, who had Tyreek Hill suffer a hamstring injury.

    Kelce became the fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 6,000 yards and 450 receptions, according to the Chiefs.

    Philip Rivers (28 of 52 for 353 yards with one TD) almost saw the Chargers to a late victory, but the QB threw his fourth interception in the dying seconds.

    After a first-quarter Michael Badgley field goal for the Chargers, the Chiefs took a 7-3 lead when Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Rivers, allowing LeSean McCoy to rush across from six yards for a TD.

    Badgley made two more field goals – either side of one from Harrison Butker – as the Chiefs took a 10-9 lead into half-time.

    Mahomes was better in the second half as the Chiefs scored twice to go ahead 24-9.

    Darrel Williams rushed over before Mahomes' 23-yard pass for Kelce saw the Chiefs take control.

    However, the Chargers responded when Rivers found Keenan Allen and a two-point conversion brought them back within seven.

    Rivers looked to lead the Chargers on a scoring drive late and a 50-yard pass to Mike Williams set up a potential TD, but the QB was intercepted again in the closing seconds.

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