Melvin Gordon ruled out for Sunday

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 9:44 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Getty Images

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon has gone from likely to miss Sunday’s game against the Chiefs to out of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

The Broncos ruled Gordon out on Saturday. He had been listed as doubtful to play due to shoulder and hip injuries and will not be making the trip to Kansas City for the Sunday night matchup of AFC West teams.

Javonte Williams and Mike Boone will be joined in the backfield by Damarea Crockett. The Broncos signed Crockett off of their practice squad Saturday.

Crockett has appeared in eight games this season. Most of his playing time has come on special teams, but he has also carried three times for seven yards.

Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland was waived in a corresponding move.

Yes, it’s Ben Roethlisberger’s last season in Pittsburgh

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 9:40 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFL: NOV 28 Steelers at Bengals
Getty Images

This week’s Sunday Splash! cycle started a little early, with a flat, predictable Saturday stone that may skip right over to the other side of Lake Obvious.

Via Adam Schefter of, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger “privately has told former teammates and some within the organization that he expects this to be his final season” with the team.

Few if any expected otherwise at this point. Roethlisberger, who turns 40 in March, has looked sluggish and ineffective this season. He wisely pivoted following an early three-game losing streak from trying to extend plays with his feet, because he just can’t do it like he once did.

Overall, he’s been better in recent weeks. He missed a game due to COVID after self-reporting symptoms, and he has been dealing with various injuries, injuries that are harder to recover from based on the wear and tear he has taken over the years and the fact that he’s definitely not a TB12 devotee.

One unnamed source told Schefter that it’s “highly unlikely” that Roethlisberger would play for another team in 2022. That’s not a surprise, either. He’ll be another year older, another year more likely to not be able to make it through the year. Another year closer to permanently losing the race with Father Time. It’s hard to imagine any team handing him the reins next year.

I was surprised he came back for 2021. The Steelers, as the rumors rattling around the NFL go, were surprised, too. They offered him a $4 million reduction in pay with no way to make it back in incentives. That number, as the thinking goes, was selected to be low enough to get him to pass on it but not so low as to be an insult. They were, as the same thinking goes, surprised that he accepted.

When the two sides decided to give it one more go, with the not-so-subtle goal of winning a Bettis-style walk-off Super Bowl, that seemed more delusional than usual, even as blind optimism in the NFL goes. I thought both sides would regret making one last ride together by November. As the first Sunday in December arrives, chances are that team and player would say, if attached to a lie detector test, that they probably should have gone their separate ways.

After the current season, they apparently will. They should. It’s been a Hall of Fame career for Roethlisberger. But it’s time for the Steelers to turn the page. And they need to hope that they can find their next franchise quarterback sooner than they got their last one, because it was 20 long years between Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger.

Raiders downgrade Darren Waller to out for Sunday

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 9:37 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Cincinnati Bengals v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

The Raiders left the door open a crack for tight end Darren Waller to play on Sunday, but he won’t be walking through it.

Waller left the Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys with a knee injury and was listed as doubtful on Friday with a back injury in addition to the knee issue. The Raiders announced that he has been downgraded to out on Saturday.

Waller has missed one other game this season. He has 53 catches for 643 yards and two touchdowns on the season.

The Raiders ruled defensive end Carl Nassib (knee) and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor (hamstring) out on Friday. Running back Josh Jacobs (ankle) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (calf) are listed as questionable to face Washington.

Seahawks elevate Adrian Peterson from practice squad

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 8:44 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Getty Images

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said on Friday that it is realistic for running back Adrian Peterson to play for the team days after being signed to the practice squad and they’ve made a move to add him to the active roster for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

Peterson was elevated to the active roster on Saturday. He will be available on Sunday and will return to the practice squad after the game.

Peterson had 27 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown in three games for the Titans after Derrick Henry‘s injury. He was released a couple of days before Thanksgiving and signed with the Seahawks on Wednesday.

Alex Collins (abdomen), Travis Homer (calf), and Rashaad Penny (hamstring) are listed as questionable for the Seahawks, which left DeeJay Dallas as the only healthy back on the 53-man roster.

Vikings activate Michael Pierce, rule out Eric Kendricks

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 7:46 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Getty Images

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce will be available for the Vikings against the Lions on Sunday, but linebacker Eric Kendricks won’t be able to play.

The Vikings announced on Saturday that they have activated Pierce from injured reserve. He was designated to return from an elbow injury this week and took part in practice the last three days.

Kendricks was listed as questionable with a biceps injury, but the team downgraded him to out. Running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) safety Camryn Bynum (ankle), and tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle) have also been ruled out.

The Vikings also added running back Kene Nwangwu to the injury report with an illness and waived defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. Nwangwu is listed as questionable.

Defensive end Kenny Willekes, running back Jake Bargas, and safety Myles Dorn have been promoted from the practice squad for the game.

In addition to the roster moves, the Vikings announced that defensive backs coach Karl Scott will miss the game due to COVID-19 protocols. Assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson will take on more responsibilities in Scott’s absence.

Bengals put Auden Tate on IR, sign Trayveon Williams to active roster

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 7:12 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions
Getty Images

The Bengals announced a handful of roster moves ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

Wide receiver Auden Tate is going on injured reserve. Tate was listed as doubtful to play on Friday because of a calf injury. He has not played since Week Seven and had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown in his seven appearances.

The Bengals filled his roster spot by signing running back Trayveon Williams off of their practice squad. He’s played in two games and has six carries for 13 yards.

Guard Keaton Sutherland and wide receiver Pooka Williams have been elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game. Both players will revert to the practice squad after the game.

NFLPA hopes to avoid prosecution of players who obtained and used fake vaccination cards

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 7:10 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Getty Images

Now that the NFL and NFL Players Association have jointly announced suspensions of three players for misrepresenting their vaccination status, the question becomes whether the federal government will get involved.

The relevant federal law imposes a punishment of up to five years in prison for buying, procuring, or using a counterfeit vaccination card, with knowledge that the card is fake. The key to the potential five-year sentence becomes the presence of the CDC label on the card.

So where does this fall on the priority list when it comes to utilizing federal prosecutorial resources? It’s likely something more serious than removing a mattress tag. It’s far less serious than robbing a bank. But it’s surely something the government doesn’t want people doing.

Regardless of whether the threat of prosecution is real, the NFL Players Association doesn’t want any of its constituents to find out. Per a source with knowledge of the union’s thinking on the matter, the 2021 COVID protocol specifically does not include a penalty for using a fake vaccination card in order to avoid creating a clear paper trail that a player receiving that punishment had a fake vaccination card. Likewise, the joint statement regarding Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown, Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent receiver John Franklin III specifically was crafted to avoid saying that they’d used fake vaccination cards.

But, obviously, they did. And now Brown, Edwards, and Franklin will have to wonder whether they’ll hear from the FBI or the DOJ.

The smart move (then again, there’s been nothing smart about any of this) would be to say nothing. Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, opted on Thursday to issue a statement insisting that Brown accepted his punishment “instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome.”

One day earlier, Brown appeared on the Richard Sherman podcast. Sherman suggested that Brown has received the vaccination and the booster shot and that the allegation of the fake vaccination card is false. Said Brown in response, “That’s the sad part. You know, the country say you’re innocent ’til proven guilty. But you’re guilty until you show innocence.”

As to Brown, the NFL decided after doing an investigation that he’s guilty. He opted to accept that outcome.

Maybe that’s enough to get the feds to not mess with him. Or maybe the NFL already has set the table for a prosecution that will allow the powers-that-be to send a powerful message to anyone with a fake card that there are very real consequences.

Colts put Ryan Kelly on COVID-19 reserve list, activate Khari Willis

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 6:54 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
NFL: NOV 28 Buccaneers at Colts
Getty Images

The Colts are going to be without center Ryan Kelly for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Kelly has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Saturday afternoon. If vaccinated, Kelly will need two negative tests taken 24 hours apart in order to come off the list in less than 10 days but the Colts have a bye in Week 14 so he isn’t at risk of missing another game next weekend.

Kelly has not missed a game yet this season. Danny Pinter is listed as his backup on the team’s depth chart.

The Colts also announced that they have activated safety Khari Willis from injured reserve. He had 40 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery in seven games before going down with a calf injury.

Everson Griffen: I am bipolar, I will be an advocate for mental health

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 6:32 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Getty Images

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen announced that he is bipolar in an Instagram post on Friday night.

Griffen was taken to a mental health facility last week after an incident at his house that began when he called 911 about an intruder in his house and said that he had fired a gun without injuring anyone. Griffen also made concerning posts on his social media accounts and refused to leave the house when law enforcement officers failed to find any signs of an intruder when they responded to his call.

Those officers worked with mental health professionals from the Vikings to get Griffen to eventually leave his house and get help. He wrote on Friday that he wants to be an advocate for mental health in the future.

“It’s true I am bipolar. I will embrace it and I will be an advocate for mental health,” Griffen wrote. “I been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore. It all started when my mother passed away. Went into a dark place, thought I was great for many years. I promise this time I will do everything the experts say and my wife. I love my family and I miss my friends. Thank you for all the love and support, but most of all thank you for all the prayers.”

Griffen was placed on the non-football illness list before the Vikings played the 49ers last Sunday and will be on it for two more games before becoming eligible to return to action.

Chiefs OL coach Andy Heck out for Sunday due to COVID protocols

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 5:40 PM UTC
By Myles Simmons · Original Article
NFL: NOV 07 Packers at Chiefs
Getty Images

The Chiefs will be without one of their key offensive assistants for Sunday’s game against the Broncos.

Kansas City announced on Saturday that offensive line coach Andy Heck will miss the matchup due to COVID-19 protocols. With Heck out, assistant offensive line coach Corey Matthaei will fill Heck’s role.

Defensive quality control coach Alex Whittingham is also out for tomorrow’s game due to COVID-19 protocols, but his duties will be absorbed by the rest of the defensive staff.

Head coach Andy Reid said before the start of the regular season that the Chiefs’ entire coaching staff had been vaccinated.

The Chiefs are coming off their bye to face the Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Kansas City has won 11 consecutive matchups against Denver. And Reid is 19-3 in his career off a regular-season bye.