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Players in the News - Week 1

Hi Folks,

Due to the short week, the Player in the News (PIN) will just cover the offensive skill positions this week. The full PIN with individual defensive players (IDP) will debut in week 2.

Here you go. Also note that we'll continue to update this feature on the website all the way up till kickoff Sunday morning.

J


Quarterbacks:

QB Rex Grossman (Chi) is out for the season with a broken ankle. Rookie Kyle Orton is the starting QB for the Bears in week 1.

QB Jeff Garcia (Det) is expected to be out six to eight weeks with his broken leg, and the Lions have no immediate plans to sign another quarterback. Joey Harrington remains the starter.

QB Brett Favre (GB) will start as usual despite a sore ankle.

QB Trent Green (KC) will start as usual despite undergoing surgery on August 30th to put a stent in an artery in his lower leg. He appears as probable on the injury report, but has practiced all week.

*** Saturday Update - Trent Green has practiced all week and will start as expected.

QB Gus Frerotte (Mia) has been named the starter for week 1.

QB Tom Brady (NE) has a bruised throwing shoulder, but will play as expected. He appears as probable on the NFL injury report.

QB Eli Manning (NYG) returned to practice Tuesday. It has been more than two weeks since he sprained his elbow. He will start as expected this week.

*** Saturday Update - QB Eli Manning (NYG) practiced all week and will start as expected.


Running Backs:

*** Friday Update - HC Brian Billick said starting RB Jamal Lewis and backup RB Chester Taylor will split time throughout the game, estimating their carries could be "fairly equitable." According to Billick, Lewis will receive more carries next week and should be ready to handle the entire workload after the Week 3 bye.

*** Saturday Update - RB Jamal Lewis (Bal) practiced all week despite a sore ankle.

RB Stephen Davis (Car) makes his improbable early return from off-season micro-fracture surgery. He will start this week, but will likely be limited to around 15 carries. DeShaun Foster will back him up.

RB Eric Shelton (Car) is gone for the year.

*** Friday Update - Don’t expect to see too much of Bears rookie RB Cedric Benson (Chi) on Sunday. Putting Benson on the field too much could get QB Kyle Orton pummeled because the rookie may not have enough experience in blitz pickup and pass protection.

*** Saturday Update - RB Chris Perry (Cin) did not complete practice on Thursday after suffering heat cramps. He is expected to play on Sunday.

RB Reuben Droughns (Cle) was listed as the #1 RB on an "unofficial" depthchart released by the team. Coach Romeo Crennel says he'll likely wait until Sunday to name the official starter. Will Green will likely see work.

RB Lee Suggs (Cle) is not expected to play in this week's game as his injured ankle heals. He appears as doubtful on the league injury report.

*** Saturday Update - RB Lee Suggs is expected to be inactive for this week's game.

RB Mike Anderson (Den) will start this week having beat out Tatum Bell for the job.

RB Cory Schlesinger (Det) will miss this week's game with a broken fibula.

*** Friday Update - HC Steve Mariucci this week made a point of saying that RB Kevin Jones (Det) will not be getting all the carries. He'll be sharing time with RB Artose Pinner and RB Shawn Bryson. He said he wants to keep Jones fresh for later in the season.

RB Dominic Rhodes (Ind) is doubtful for the season opener with an injured foot.

*** Saturday Update - RB Dominic Rhodes did not practice all week and is expected to be inactive for the game.

*** Friday Update - RB Quentin Griffin is scheduled to work out with the Chiefs today.

RB Jesse Chatman was signed by Miami.

*** Friday Update - RB Ronnie Brown (Mia) will start for new Miami HC Nick Saban against the Broncos. With RB Ricky Williams beginning a four-game suspension for violating the NFL drug policy, Brown figures to be busy against the Broncos.

*** Saturday Update - RB Jim Kleinsasser (Min) practiced on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play despite his sore groin.

*** Friday Update - The Giants and RB Tiki Barber have agreed to a two-year extension, or a new four-year deal depending on perspective, that will keep Barber a Giant through 2008.

RB Justin Fargas (Oak) is nursing a sore knee, but is expected to be available tonight if needed. He was able to practice on Wednesday.

RB Josh Parry (Phi) practiced with his injured shoulder and is expected to play on Monday.

RB Lamar Gordon was signed by the Eagles and is expected to be the change of pace back to Brian Westbrook this season.

*** Friday Update - RB Brian Westbrook's (Phi) contract negotiations with the Eagles are off again, and that development has left the running back feeling "disrespected" and "disappointed" heading into the team's Monday night opener.

RB Jerome Bettis (Pit) has been ruled out for Sunday's game with Tennessee with his strained right calf.

RB Duce Staley (Pit) dressed for practice on Wednesday, but the team told him to sit. He would love to play this week, but that likely will not happen.

*** Saturday Update - RB Duce Staley (Pit) has been downgraded to doubtful on the injury report. He has not practiced all week and is not expected to see the field this week.

RB Willie Parker (Pit) will start this week with injuries to Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis.

The San Francisco 49ers signed fullback Chris Hetherington.

RB Arlen Harris (StL) will be available to play this week if needed. He appears on the injury report as probable with a concussion.

*** Friday Update - RBs Cadillac Williams (TB) and Michael Pittman are expected to share the backfield for much of Sunday's season opener. "Both us are going to be on the field at the same time, with me playing fullback, and tailback and receiver and tight end," Pittman said. "All kinds of stuff, man. I'll be able to line up everywhere."

RB Chris Brown (Ten) will start the season opener against Pittsburgh.

RB Travis Henry (Ten) is expected to play this week despite an injured toe.

*** Friday Update - RB Travis Henry practiced on Thursday and said he feels about "90 percent" in his recovery from turf toe.

*** Saturday Update - RB Travis Henry (Ten) was held out of some of the drills on Thursday and Friday, but he is expected to play.


Wide Receivers:

WR Devard Darling (Bal) missed Wednesday's practice with an injured quad. He appears on the injury report as questionable and will likely be a game-time decision.

*** Saturday Update - WR Devard Darling (Bal) missed practice on Thursday and Friday and has been declared out for this week.

WR Roscoe Parrish (Buf) has been ruled out this week with his injured wrist.

WR Josh Reed (Buf) is nursing a sore hamstring, but is expected to play on Sunday. He was held out of Wednesday's practice.

*** Saturday Update - WR Josh Reed (Buf) practiced on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play with his sore hamstring.

WR Justin Gage (Chi) has secured the WR2 job on the team beating out Mark Bradley.

WR Kelley Washington (Cin) was held out of practice on Wednesday with a sore hamstring. His status is not known at this time.

*** Saturday Update - WR Kelley Washington practiced on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play despite a sore hamstring.

Dallas signed Peerless Price and quickly made him their #4 WR on their depth chart.

WR David Terrell was released by the Patriots and quickly signed by the Broncos. He is not expected to play a major role with the Broncos, but will fill in for the spot vacated by the retirement of Jerry Rice.

All-World WR Jerry Rice (Den) retired from the game this week.

WR Jabar Gaffney (Hou) is expected to play this week despite an injured shoulder. He appears as probable on the injury report and practiced Wednesday.

WR Jerome Mathis (Hou) missed Wednesday's practice with a sore hamstring. He is looking like he will not be available for this week's game.

*** Saturday Update - WR Jerome Mathis (Hou) did not practice all week. He is expected to be inactive for this week's game.

*** Saturday Update - WR Jabar Gaffney (Hou) is expected to start despite nursing a sore shoulder. He practiced all week.

WR Troy Walters (Ind) was initially released and the re-signed by the Indianapolis Colts this week. Although not a weekly contributor, he could have fantasy value should the Colts' workhorses at WR get dinged.

WR Brandon Stokley (Ind) sounds very much like someone who will be playing, not watching. The team's No. 3 wide receiver practiced on Wednesday after missing the entire preseason with a dislocated left shoulder. He appears as probable on the injury report and is expected to play.

*** Saturday Update - WR Brandon Stokely practiced on Thursday and Friday and will be the team's #3 WR on Sunday.

*** Saturday Update - WR Cortez Hankton (Jac) missed practice on Wednesday and Friday and has been ruled out for this week's game. He has a twisted ankle.

WR Dante Hall (KC) is nursing a sore hamstring, but is expected to play on Sunday.

*** Saturday Update - WR Dante Hall (KC) practiced on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play with his sore hamstring.

*** Friday Update - The Miami Dolphins today terminated/injury settlement WR Derrius Thompson off its injured reserve list.

WR Koren Robinson signed with the Minnesota Vikings this week. Surprisingly, Koren does not face any penalties with the league and could see action this week. WR Kelly Campbell (Min) was released by the team to make room for the move.

*** Friday Update - WR Koren Robinson (Min) will be inactive this week and may not be ready to play in week 2 either.

WR David Givens (NE) was added to the Wednesday injury report as questionable with a chest injury. Givens landed awkwardly catching a touchdown in Green Bay, although the Pats reported he just had the wind knocked out of him. He did not practice on Wednesday.

WR Andre Davis (NE) is not expected to play tonight. He has a sore foot and has missed practice all week.

WR Bethel Johnson (NE) will be a game-time decision. He has a bruised thigh.

WR Az-Zahir Hakim (NO) has not practiced all week with his sore hamstring. He will likely be a game-time decision this week.

*** Saturday Update - WR Az-Zahir Hakim did not practice all week and will likely not suit up this week.

WR Jamaar Taylor (NYG) missed practice on Wednesday with a sore groin. His status on Sunday is uncertain.

*** Saturday Update - WR Jamaar Taylor (NYG) missed Thursday and Friday practices and has been downgraded to doubtful. He is expected to be inactive on Sunday.

WR Doug Gabriel (Oak) did not practice all week and will not play against the Patriots tonight.

WR Jerry Porter (Oak) is listed as questionable on the Injury Report. Coach Norv Turner is cautiously optimistic he'll be ready to go. Porter had this to say: "I feel like I'll be ready to contribute and play my best against New England on Thursday night. I would have liked to have gotten at least one or two preseason games in and gotten a chance to play against somebody. It is what it is." Hamstrings are always touchy so be careful here. Ronald Curry will likely pick up the slack if Porter is limited.

*** Friday Update - WR Jerry Porter (Oak) played, but was clearly at half-speed all night. This could be an injury that lingers all season long (especially if he is not rested).

WR Terrell Owens (Phi) is ready to end his feud with Donovan McNabb. Owens and McNabb haven't been on speaking terms throughout the preseason, but the All-Pro wide receiver said Tuesday in an interview on ESPN that he plans to talk to McNabb before Philadelphia's season opener at Atlanta on Monday night.

WR Quincy Morgan was signed by Pittsburgh this week. He takes over the #4 spot for the Steelers, but has the talent to become the #2 WR behind Hines Ward.

*** Saturday Update - WR Vincent Jackson (SD) is nursing a sore achilles, but practiced all week and is available to play if needed on Sunday.

WR Jerome Pathon was released by Seattle

WR Taylor Jacobs (Was) appears on the injury report as questionable with turf toe, but was able to practice on Wednesday.

*** Saturday Update - WR Taylor Jacobs (Was) practiced on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play with his turf toe.


Tight Ends:

*** Friday Update - TE Todd Heap (Bal) is expected to see significant action in the Colts game, but will likely appear in fewer snaps than usual as he rounds into football shape.

*** Saturday Update - TE Todd Heap (Bal) practiced all week despite a sore ankle.

TE Tim Euhus (Buf) has been ruled out for week 1. Mark Campbell will start as usual for the Bills this week.

TE Aaron Shea (Cle) missed Wednesday's practice with his injured shoulder. His status for Sunday's game is questionable at best.

*** Saturday Update - TE Aaron Shea (Cle) has missed practice all week and is not expected to play on Sunday. He remains questionable on the injury report.

TE Bubba Franks (GB) is expected to play despite missing Wednesday's practice with an injured knee. He appears as probable on the injury report.

*** Saturday Update - TE Bubba Franks (GB) returned to practice on Thursday and Friday and will start as expected.

The Packers signed TE Donald Lee to a contract and released TE Ben Steele.

TE Dallas Clark (Ind) appears on the injury report as questionable with a concussion, but is expected to be cleared to start this week.

*** Saturday Update - TE Dallas Clark (Ind) has not practiced all week and is now very questionable to play this week. He will be a gametime decision.

TE Kris Wilson (KC) has a sore elbow, but will play on Sunday.

*** Friday Update - TE Randy McMichael (Mia) was cleared of two charges at his arraignment Thursday morning, however, in absentia, he pled guilty to criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor, for his role in an altercation with his wife last July. According to the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, any time a player is "convicted or admitting to a criminal violation,'' he is subject to a fine and/or possible suspension

TE Jim Kleinsasser (Min) missed Wednesday's practice with a sore groin, but is expected to play on Sunday.

TE Shad Meier (NO) has been ruled out this week with his twisted knee.

TE Boo Williams (NO) is gone for the year.

TE Teyo Johnson was released from the Raiders. This cements Courtney Anderson as the starting TE for the Raiders.

TE Antonio Gates (SD) is out for week one. Gates cannot play in the opener as a result of the Chargers putting him on the Roster Exempt List during his training camp holdout. Gates will return to the active roster next week.

*** Saturday Update - TE Itula Mili (Sea) appears on the updated injury report as doubtful with an intestinal injury. He was unable to practice all week.

TE Eric Johnson (SF) is not expected to play this week as his foot heals. He has missed practices all week and is listed as doubtful on the injury report.

TE Ben Troupe (Ten) is not expected to play this week as his foot heals. Erron Kinney, who is also banged up with a bruised chest, is expected to start in his place.

*** Saturday Update - TEs Ben Troupe and Erron Kinney (Ten) were held out of some of the drills on Thursday and Friday, but are expected to play. They will likely both be gametime decisions.

*** Friday Update - TE Ben Troupe (Ten) was on the field for the first time since breaking a bone in his left foot on May 23. He said he was "real encouraged" and that he plans to play against the Steelers. Troupe is listed as questionable on the injury report and Fisher said the second-year pro's status is likely to remain that way for a few more days. TE Erron Kinney (chest) is listed as questionable on the first injury report, but he practiced.


Place Kickers:

PK Jose Cortez (Dal) will start at kicker for the Cowboys this week. The fact the Cowboys keep trying out more people should alert people that Cortez is likely one bad game from being cut by the team.

PK Lawrence Tynes (KC) remains the Kansas City Chiefs kicker despite his preseason struggles.

Rookie PK Mike Nugent (NYJ) won the starting job and will debut his strong leg on Sunday.

PK Matt Bryant (TB) beat out Todd France for the place kicking job.

PK Rob Bironas (Ten) remains the Titans kicker at least for now.


Other:

*** Friday Update - Tropical Storm Ophelia strengthened off Florida's Atlantic coast on Thursday, threatening the Jacksonville area with strong wind and heavy rain. The storm could affect Sunday's game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks, and could also impact the travel plans of the Seahawks. The Seahawks are currently planning to fly into Jacksonville on Friday.

The Saints are without a home as Hurricane Katrina has devastated their city. The league has rescheduled their week 2 home game against the Giants to a road game to be played in New York.

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