Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Around NFL training camps: Aug. 13
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BROWNS LOSE RUCKER (6:58 p.m.) Cleveland Browns rookie tight end Martin Rucker will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee and miss four to six weeks.
Rucker twisted his knee during practice Monday. He will have a piece of cartilage removed from the knee on Thursday, Browns coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday.
The Browns have struggled during training camp with injuries at tight end. But Kellen Winslow (hamstring) and Steve Heiden (knee) returned to team drills this week. Both Winslow and Heiden are expected to play in the Browns' second preseason game against the New York Giants on Monday night, Crennel said.
The Browns are without their top two draft picks -- rookie linebacker Beau Bell, also a fourth-round selection, had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. -- The Associated PressRAIDERS' DEFENSIVE BACKS HOBBLED (6:45 p.m. ET)
The Oakland Raiders wrapped up training camp on Wednesday in search of healthy cornerbacks and kickers and answers to the questions about how improved the team will be this season.
Coach Lane Kiffin has asked for very little from quarterback JaMarcus Russell in drills. Russell threw just five passes in two drives against the 49ers and is expected to play the entire first half Friday and will be asked to throw much more often.
The most immediate question for the Raiders surrounds the health of their two talented starting cornerbacks. Nnamdi Asomugha injured his right foot on Tuesday but returned to practice Wednesday, although he was not able to break on balls as well as he usually does.
DeAngelo Hall still has a cast on his injured right hand and the Raiders are planning to have a third doctor examine the MRI and X-rays to determine if there is a break.
With backup cornerback John Bowie sidelined by a knee injury and Michael Waddell limited by a sore back, the Raiders are thin at cornerback with Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, Darrick Brown and newly signed Nick Sanchez the only healthy ones.
The Raiders are also dealing with injuries to both of their kickers. Sebastian Janikowski hurt his left hamstring last week and will miss his second straight exhibition game. Punter Shane Lechler has an injured quadriceps and will be out at least a week, forcing Oakland to find a punter for Friday night's game. -- The Associated PressVETERAN NEAL MAKING MARK WITH RAVENS (5:10 p.m. ET) Lorenzo Neal made a solid first impression Wednesday during his initial practice with the Baltimore Ravens.
Feeling right at home in Cam Cameron's offense, the Pro Bowl fullback bulled up the middle to open holes for an assortment of running backs.
After being cut by the San Diego Chargers in February, the 37-year-old Neal was virtually ignored despite making it clear he had no desire to retire. The 5-foot-11, 255-pounder stayed in excellent shape, and finally began preparing his return to the NFL after taking a call from Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome about a week and a half ago.
His acclimation with the Ravens' offense was made easier by his relationship with Cameron. Neal was San Diego's starting fullback when Cameron was the team's offensive coordinator from 2003-06, and both are delighted to be together again in Baltimore.
In 15 seasons with New Orleans, the New York Jets, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Cincinnati and San Diego, Neal has 214 carries for 782 yards. But running with the ball is not really his job; his task is to unselfishly plow a path for his backfield mate.
"I know my job. I don't need to run the ball," he said. "I'm just here to hit guys, be the battering ram that I can be." -- The Associated PressPATRIOTS ADD JIMOH, BOLSTER SECONDARY (4:30 p.m. ET)
The New England Patriots signed veteran cornerback Ade Jimoh on Wednesday to bolster a position that has been depleted by injuries and free agent losses.
Jimoh played four seasons with the Washington Redskins after being signed in 2003 as a rookie free agent. He signed with the Chicago Bears in 2007, but was placed on the injured reserve list in November with a broken collarbone.
The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder has 28 career tackles and 68 special teams tackles.
Cornerbacks Ellis Hobbs, Jason Webster, Mike Richardson and Jonathan Wilhite all sat out the Patriots' first preseason game last week. The team lost Pro Bowler Asante Samuel and Randall Gay to free agency.
To make room for Jimoh on the roster, the Patriots released offensive lineman Pete McMahon.
-- The Associated PressBILLS' MURPHY INJURED (1:10 p.m. ET)
The offensive tackle situation for the
Buffalo Bills is getting shakier by the day.
The agent for Matt Murphy says the offensive lineman has a partially torn
left rotator cuff, but it will be another two weeks before a
decision is made whether he'll have what could be season-ending
Agent Kevin Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press that there's
a possibility the rotator cuff could heal enough to allow Murphy to
play and delay surgery until the end of the season.
Murphy was hurt Monday during an 11-on-11 drill during a
training camp session at Saint John Fisher College in suburban
Rochester. Murphy had to be taken to a local hospital to be checked
The Bills are already down to three tackles and Pro Bowl left
tackle Jason Peters is holding out for a new contract. -- The Associated PressPANTHERS BREAK CAMP (12:49 p.m. ET)
The Carolina Panthers wrapped up a training camp that will be remembered for Steve Smith punching and breaking the nose of a teammate.
The Panthers held their final practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg on Wednesday, a day before they visit Philadelphia for their second preseason game.
The players insisted they've moved on since Smith punched cornerback Ken Lucas in the face almost two weeks ago, but the repercussions are evident.
Lucas didn't practice again Wednesday, and Smith wasn't around for the last practice. He left Wednesday to recover from a concussion suffered in Saturday's preseason opener.
Coach John Fox said the Panthers had a good camp, and the players said they'll overcome the distraction. -- The Associated Press