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Andre Johnson a game-time decision

Texans wideout Andre Johnson will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

Johnson is battling a concussion, and was unable to take part in practice on Thursday due to the issue. Head coach Bill O'Brien told reporters the team won't know whether Johnson can play until Sunday, making him a game-time decision.

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Brandon Meriweather Misses Another Practice

Meriweather didn't take part in practice Thursday.

Meriweather is on track to miss a second consecutive game due to a sprained toe. If he remains sidelined, Phillip Thomas would be the likely beneficiary after racking up 10 tackles (six solo) in the last two contests.

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Peyton Manning on Reggie Wayne: 'One of the all-time great receivers'

INDIANAPOLIS -- If history is any indication, at some point on Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans, the tears may start to slowly roll down the side of Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne's face.

It might be when he’s putting his jersey on. It might be when he pauses for a second and then sprints through the tunnel during pregame introductions. Might be during the national anthem, similar to at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants last month. Or they might not come until Wayne is acknowledged by the public address announcer for moving past Peyton Manning for the most games played in franchise history at 209.

It wouldn't be right if the tears didn't flow for Wayne.

Wayne joined the Colts as a wide-eyed rookie in 2001, simply wanting to fit in alongside Manning, Marvin Harrison and the rest of the offense.

“That’s all I wanted,” Wayne said with a smile that can easily light up a room. “I didn’t want to mess things up.”

Now, 1,061 receptions, 14,207 yards and 82 touchdowns later, Wayne is at the top of the record book for the Colts.

“The talent that he has, the work ethic, I think, combined with that talent has made him a special player, such a productive player. His durability, I think last year, I think it was against us, was the first time we’ve ever seen him get injured and miss any time, so he’s been a true tough guy out there,” Manning, now with the Denver Broncos, said this week. “He’s a Hall of Fame receiver, in my opinion, five years after he decides to retire, you know, go down as one of the all-time great receivers, all-time great Colts. Great guy to play with, great teammate, heck of a wide receiver, too.’’

It’s uncertain how many more games Wayne will add to his total with Indianapolis beyond this season. That's because as hard as it may be for some to admit, Wayne’s career is coming to an end, probably quicker than many want it to be.

Durability had never been issue during Wayne’s first 12 years. But his body has started to break down. It started with the torn ACL last season. He suffered an MCL injury in his surgically repaired knee earlier this season. Then there was an elbow injury that caused him to miss a game and he’s currently dealing with a torn triceps.

Wayne, a free-agent to be, will sit down with his family at the end of the season and weigh his options. One thing that will impact Wayne’s decision – outside of how his body feels – is his family. It’s not fun for Wayne to have to hear about his son’s football games via phone or text. He wants to be Mr. Soccer Dad; you know, the father who's in the stands cheering his children on and giving them tips while playing in the backyard.

Year round, not just during the offseason.

“It’s faith, family, football,” Wayne said. “I don’t think my family would say, ‘Hey, no more’ we still have bills. But at the same time, family is very important. You definitely have to listen to your body and then you weigh your options. All those things play a key role into it. It’s something you never can prepare for until it’s all over.”

Just know that when he decides to finally call it quits, Wayne won’t be one of those players who has second thoughts and comes out of retirement.

And playing for another team? Not going to happen. That’s not how he operates.

“If I’m going to make Corona commercials and put my feet in the sand, they’re going to stay in the sand,” Wayne said. “I’m just happy I’ve made it this far with just one team. That’s hard to do these days.”

Whether his career ends at the end of the season or in the next year or two, Wayne has no regrets. He approached each game, each practice, each offseason workout like he was auditioning for a job. He always wanted to make sure the front office never had any reason to let him go.

“Stability. Longevity. Playmaker,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said. “He’s good enough to hang around for 14 years and he’s someone that you want around for 14 years with your young guys. ... He set the standard. He’s set the bar pretty high as far as being a professional.

“He does everything right as far as stuff that needs to be done to be able to be in this game for so long. Fourteen years and only one hiccup, last year, and to come back, bounce back, full-go from it, it just lets you know the guy does the little things right.”

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Olivier Vernon: “Just Trying to Get This Win, Point Blank”

Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon joined the Joe Rose Show this morning on WQAM, with much of the focus on the challenge of beating the New England Patriots this Sunday in Foxborough, where Tom Brady’s squad is an unbelievable 27-3 over the last four seasons.

“Just trying to get this win, point blank,” he said. “We have a good gameicon1 on our hands.

“We’re coming off a tough loss. Our main goal right now is to get back into position that will help us further ourselves and make it in the playoffs.”

If the Dolphins were to upset the Patriots on the road, their playoff odds would surge back to relevance, but the task will be difficult considering they haven’t beaten the Pats on their home turf since September of 2008.

A third-round selection out of the University of Miami, Vernon has been a South Florida boy for his entire football career after graduating from American High in Hialeah. Playing professionally in his hometown has created a challenge with the mass of familyicon1 and friends hunting for free tickets to Dolphins games.

“I have to change my phoneicon1 number a lot.” Vernon said. “That’s pretty much what happens.

“You have to limiticon1 the tickets. Everybody’s gonna ask you left and right.”

Vernon had a career year last year, leading the team with 11.5 sacks. As for how he’s been able to develop into a productive player at the game’s highest level, he spoke about the mentality needed to be successful.

“You have to be relentless out there man, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come up to make a big playicon1 and change the game. You have to take that mindset on every snap.”

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Jimmy Graham's shoulder injury hurting Saints' O

Jimmy Graham is coming off one of the worst performances of his career, dropping a career-high three passes and failing to reel in two more that were broken up as they hit his hands last week.

Although Graham hasn't been the same since his early October right shoulder sprain, coach Sean Payton is not allowing any excuses on the heels of the New Orleans Saints' embarrassing loss to the Carolina Panthers.

"We've got to be able to handle some balls that are thrown our way," Payton said this week, via ESPN.com. "And sometimes it's going to be tight, and sometimes it's going to be bumped. That's part of the deal."

Graham's inability to fight for contested balls and lunge for errant passes has been similar to that of Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is playing through a torn triceps.

The Saints have been tight-lipped about the particulars of Graham's injury, but there are signs that it is more serious than originally reported.

Graham acknowledged a week ago that he's still managing the pain "every day" and that the shoulder "has really held me back sometimes."

During the broadcast of the Week 10 game versus the San Francisco 49ers, Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver revealed that Graham was getting a maximum of four hours of sleep per night due to the pain in his shoulder.

The All-Pro tight end is no stranger to lingering injuries. His consistency has taken a severe blow due to a 2012 season-long wrist injury, a 2013 torn plantar fascia and the current shoulder sprain.

In effect, Graham has been half as productive while battling through injuries.

At peak strength over the past two years, he has averaged eight receptions, 104 yards and a touchdown per game. Unable to beat double teams and fight through traffic at the catch point, that average has dropped to 4.5 catches, 52 yards and 0.8 touchdowns while playing in pain.

Much like Tom Brady's reliance on Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees' fortunes rest on Graham's ability to dominate week-in and week-out. It's no coincidence that the Saints' offense has been hit or miss when Graham isn't in monstrous goal-post dunking form.

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Reggie Wayne: A Colt for life

The round table – that's what they came to call it, the Thursday night dinners that became a weekly tradition for a few tightly knit teammates. A decade later the ritual endures, the group bonded by a brotherhood that stretches beyond the field the men once shared.

Turnover became constant. Blame the ruthless reality of the NFL, which claimed a casualty or two every offseason, but sooner or later most of the round table's original members went from current Indianapolis Colts to former Indianapolis Colts. Raheem Brock was cut. Mike Doss was cut. David Thornton signed with Tennessee. Gary Brackett retired. Some would move away, replaced by younger counterparts.

One of the initial members has been there every Thursday of every season, and on Sunday afternoon inside the visitor's locker room at Cleveland's First Energy Stadium, he slumped in his seat as a crowd of reporters hovered a few feet away, oblivious to his existence. While television camera lights danced off the faces of T.Y. Hilton and Boom Herron, heroes of the Colts' stirring, last-second victory, Reggie Wayne's eyes remained fixed on the floor.

Never had it been so jarring, so apparent: They were the present, Wayne the past.

Wayne, the Colts' 36-year-old wide receiver, leaned forward, back to the world, and ran the palm of his right hand over his smooth scalp. While teammates howled around him, relishing in the joy of their triumph, Wayne dressed in silence. He lifted a tank top above his head and slid it gingerly over his shoulders. He grimaced.
A reporter approached and asked him what he thought of his performance.

"I played like s---," he said.

Most of the members of the original round table – started in 2003 – have moved on from football, their days in the game long expired. Wayne remains the outlier, a relic whose football pulse is still beating. He has played long enough to link two distinct eras of Colts history: He is the bridge between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

But the hard-to-swallow truth is this: Wayne is not the player he once was. Take Sunday. Torn triceps. Sore knee. Bum elbow. In eight targets, the oldest receiver in the league proceeded to drop more passes (three) than he caught (one).

The hints have come – those uncharacteristic drops, the tears that flooded down his face during the national anthem last month, the lack of explosion and elusiveness and dependability he made his name on. His was a career built on blue-collar consistency, on showing up every Sunday, on squashing the doubts that have trailed him since he arrived in Indianapolis 14 years ago. Doubt Wayne? He'd earn the last laugh.

Could he fill the void opposite Marvin Harrison?

Could he become the team's No. 1 receiver after Harrison's exit?

Could he return from an ACL tear last season?

Wayne did it all, and did so without heeding the temptation to ply his trade elsewhere. Edgerrin James, a former college and pro teammate and close Wayne confidant, saw it a decade back. Jettisoned to Arizona after the Colts elected not to bring him back after the 2005 season, James saw the arc of Wayne's career before anyone else.

"I hope you're the one who stays here forever," James told him.

Forever on Sunday reads 209 – Wayne's career games in Indianapolis. It'll be more than Manning, more than Unitas, more than any player who has ever worn a Colts uniform in the 61-year history of the franchise.

A decision beckons. Wayne will become a free agent at season's end, and he's vowed he won't play anywhere else. Hang up his cleats or return for a 15th season? Wayne acknowledges his choice, this time, is as much about family as it is football. His three boys are growing, growing quickly, and he's tired of missing moments he can't get back.

"Whatever the decision is, that will be the decision," he says. "I won't do the whole Brett Favre thing."

Thick into the twilight of his gilded career, Wayne has answered every question but one.

How many Sundays are left?

"You want to squeeze the juice out of the orange as long as you can," he says of this season. "Hopefully, there's still a little bit more juice to squeeze."

The work – Wayne saw it early. Saw Marvin Harrison leave his receiver gloves on the sidelines during practice, because those gloves made catching the football easy, and Harrison wanted the toughest hands on the field. Saw Manning take every snap in practice. Saw Harrison run to the endzone after every catch. Saw Manning, Harrison and James treat practice days like game days.

These guys worked, Wayne thought. He would work too.

"He didn't want to be left out," James remembers.

"The quality of those practices was surreal," adds another longtime Colt, Gary Brackett. "Reggie saw that those guys were always in game mode, so that became his approach too."

Wayne went seven years without missing a practice, 11 without missing a game. He became a Sunday staple, the fourth triplet, mastering the middle the way Harrison owned the sidelines. He became the Colts' Iron Man.

Linger long enough after a Colts training camp workout and you'll find Wayne paired with his trusty companion, the Jugs machine. He'll toss his receiver gloves to the sideline, the way Harrison used to, and snatch a hundred balls under the blazing sun while teammates half his age trickle back to their rooms. It's the sort of work Wayne grew to love a long time ago.

"Marvin Harrison told me one time that you earn your money in practice," Wayne says. "The games? Those are for free."

It stems from his childhood. Ralph and Denise Wayne ran a tight ship for their three boys. Reggie's first love was baseball. Football? Nah. Not for him. He was scared of getting hit. That was until Ralph Wayne, a former college linebacker at Grambling, sat his youngest son down, opened his college yearbook and showed him a picture from his playing days.

"You can't be no chump," he told Reggie. "Because there are no chumps in this house."

From that point, it was always football. Wayne became a two-way star for Marrero Ehret High School outside of New Orleans. In one game, his team trailing 14-0 early, Wayne caught four touchdowns in the second quarter. By his senior year, college coaches were drooling. He chose the University of Miami and became the most prolific receiver in the program's proud history.

But his startling ascent reads smoother than it actually was. Wayne grew so homesick his first summer away that he ran up a $900 phone bill, calling his parents between every two-a-day. In his second start, Wayne played just days after learning his grandmother had died; he caught nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. It wouldn't be the last time tragedy touched in the middle of a season.

He left after four seasons and figured Indianapolis was the last place he'd end up. With Manning, Harrison and James all on the precipice of their prime, the Colts' offense was set to explode. Then-general manager Bill Polian sought defense in the 2001 draft.

"Talked to every team but the Colts," Wayne remembers.

But Polian couldn't land the bruising defensive tackle he sought. Four went before the Colts' selection, so Polian traded down and grabbed Wayne at No. 30. The move was met with a chorus of criticism in Indianapolis. Another wide receiver? That's the last thing this team needs.

"That's the first time I've heard his name," a surprised Peyton Manning said after the pick. "I was thinking defense."

The accompanying headline in The Indianapolis Star the following day: "Colts fall back on Plan B."

Hearing that all these years later, Wayne smiles. Plan B has lasted 14 seasons.

"Hey, I could've played safety if they wanted me to."
* * *

The trust – it came quickly. Wayne earned his keep by showing up every day, ready to work. Manning respected that, and steadily, No. 87 paired with No. 88 to form the NFL's most lethal pass-catching tandem over the next decade.

Wayne became a full-time starter by his third season and ran off seven straight 1,000-yard seasons beginning in 2004. He became a six-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champ, a bedrock of reliability, one of the most respected players in the league.

The world championship season of 2006 was darkened for Wayne in Week 3, the afternoon he returned to the locker room after a win over Jacksonville and was met with spine-shattering news: His older brother, Rashad – the same brother who'd regularly send him text messages of encouragement at halftime of games – had been killed in a car accident.

Wayne soldiered on, football serving as his retreat while he mourned the hole in his heart. He was on the field a week later – Iron Man, remember – and caught four passes for 41 yards. He bawled his eyes out on the sidelines after the win.

Four months later the Colts stared at a 21-6 halftime deficit in the AFC Championship game. Wayne said a prayer to Rashad. It was his way of texting, he would say later, his way of seeking his brother's wisdom like he always had in such moments. It calmed him. It inspired him.

Hours later, in the midst of the game-winning drive, Wayne caught a slant over the middle and lost the football. It hung above his head for a split second while every soul in the RCA Dome gasped.

Then Wayne swiped it, saved it, kept the drive beating. The Colts finished. Won 38-34. Two weeks later, Wayne caught the team's first touchdown in a 29-17 Super Bowl triumph over the Chicago Bears.

"There are a lot of guys that are just happy to be in the NFL, and Reggie's not one of them," James says. "It means more to him. We'd drive to and from every home game together, and if he'd drop a pass or something, he wouldn't say a word the whole way home."

Wayne could've found a new home following the disastrous 2011 season. With Manning sidelined, the Colts stumbled to 2-14 and promptly cleaned house. Brackett was cut. Dallas Clark was cut. Joseph Addai and Melvin Bullitt were gone. Manning's exit, too, came soon enough. Wayne was a free agent. He figured his time in Indianapolis had come to a close.

He packed his belongings in the locker room and had them shipped home to Miami.

"Did I want to move on? No," he says now. "But I was ready if I had to."

The calls came in, opposing teams chasing a veteran receiver and proven winner. Wayne locked himself in the office of his Miami home, his sons banging on the door while he waited for updates from his agent. He pondered life after the Colts.

"I was pretty darn close to leaving," he says. "I was prepared for the worst."

In the end, though, he couldn't. The Colts wouldn't allow it. Robert Mathis called him, texted him, begged him to stay.

"Quit bulljiving," Mathis remembers telling him. "Let's go. Let's get it done. Sign the contract."

Wayne's phone rang again. It was Chuck Pagano, an old friend from his Miami days who had just been hired as the Colts' new head coach. It was his job to pilot owner Jim Irsay's ambitious rebuilding effort.

"I can't do this without you, Reg," he told him.

It was all Wayne needed to hear. He took less to stay home, and alongside Mathis, became the backbone behind the Colts' improbable turnaround in 2012.

"His heart was always here in Indy," says former Colts linebacker David Thornton, a member of the original round table and now the team's Director of Player Engagement. "It was clear from the contract he took that he could've made more money on the market. But it wasn't about dollars for him. It was about him being a horseshoe guy his whole career."
* * *

Those orange gloves – they were everywhere that afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. On third-and-9, Wayne for 15 yards. Third-and-12, Wayne for 15 more. First-and-goal, Luck to Wayne one last time. He snatched the football with those orange gloves while three defenders converged. He twisted, stretched and leaned across the goal-line for the four-yard game-winner.

The crowd serenaded him once more: "Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie!"

The tension was thick, the pressure mounting, and Andrew Luck leaned hard on his trusty target, Wayne, on the most important drive of the 2012 season. They'd trailed Green Bay 21-3 at halftime of Week 3 while their head coach, Pagano, stricken with leukemia, sat confined in a hospital room of the IU Health Simon Cancer

center a few blocks away.
Wayne erased the deficit in those orange gloves – signifying leukemia awareness – with 13 catches for 212 yards. The game ball went to Pagano's hospital room. The win began a 10-3 run that delivered the Colts an improbable 11-5 season and playoff berth. Wayne was the catalyst. The Luck Era had begun.

"There's no better teammate around, and nobody's represented the 'shoe quite like Reggie Wayne has," Pagano gushes two years later.

Wayne knows his good fortune. He spent 10 seasons with Manning. He's on his third with Luck. Receivers rarely have it so good.

"I know guys who've been in the league seven years and are on their fifth quarterback," Wayne says. "I've been blessed. And I still love it. I'm still having fun, playing with these young guys in this locker room."

His staggering numbers are testimony to the breadth of his production. Few have done it better, and longer, than No. 87: He's seventh all-time in catches (1,061), eighth in yards (14,207) and 22nd in touchdowns (82). Only four wideouts in NFL history — Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Hines Ward — have played more games with one team than Wayne has with the Colts.

"Sometimes, you look at a guy and go, 'How has he stayed in the league this long?'" says Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, an 19-year veteran. "Well, follow Reggie around for a day and you absolutely know why. He still works like he's in his first year in the league."

"Stability, longevity, playmaker," Mathis says. "The ultimate professional."

"The face of the Colts," adds James. "He is Indianapolis. He didn't have to leave, he could just stay there and every time you look up, you're going to see that No. 87."

Sunday will be Game No. 209 for No. 87, and it could mark the final regular season home game for him. He came in with Manning and Harrison and James and will exit alongside Luck and his young protégé Hilton, two eras linked by one man.

Whenever it comes, whenever Wayne slips off his uniform for the last time, whenever he bids farewell to Indianapolis and retires to the sun of South Beach, he might as well plan to have these words emblazoned on his tombstone.

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Reggie Wayne continues to chase records

INDIANAPOLIS -- At age 36, Reggie Wayne could revel in the spoils of his success.

A poster-sized photo of the Colts' receiver hangs outside the front entrance of Lucas Oil Stadium. The hometown fans regularly serenade him with chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie." He's a respected leader and mentor in the locker room and a pillar in the community of his adopted hometown.

He also knows this is no time for a victory lap -- not with a playoff spot and two of the Colts' most revered records on the line Sunday.

"I put my hard hat on and go to work," Wayne said. "I just want to be here with my teammates. Being available is something I've always taken pride in."

Few NFL players have stuck around longer or been more consistent over 14 seasons than Wayne.

He goes into this week tied with Peyton Manning for most games played (208) and most wins (141) in franchise history. A victory over Houston (7-6) would break the ties and allow Wayne to celebrate his ninth division title.

Those who know Wayne aren't surprised by his resume -- 1,061 receptions, seventh in league history; 14,207 yards, eighth in NFL history; 82 TD receptions, tied for 22nd in league history; 82 consecutive games with three catches or more, an NFL record; six Pro Bowl appearances; two AFC championships and one Super Bowl ring.

Former Colts general manager Bill Polian is already lobbying for Wayne's Hall of Fame candidacy.

The numbers only provide a small glimpse into the everyday impact Wayne makes, though.

"I think what's really helpful about having a guy like Reggie in the locker room is that he takes such a big burden off the other guys," backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "He's the guy people want to talk to after a bad game, he's the guy the marketing department goes to, he's the guy they ask to do community outreach, he's the guy who can walk down to the coach's office or the GM's office and say, 'Hey, something's out of balance in the locker room,' and that allows the younger guys to just play football."

Sure, Wayne has some fun.

His grand entrances at training camp have become the stuff of legend -- driving a dump truck, showing up in a military convoy, riding on a helicopter with a recovering hospital patient. It's not just show. There's always a deeper message, like this summer when he arrived in an IndyCar -- demonstrating he had his wheels back after tearing the ACL in his right knee.

But Polian never doubted Wayne skills or personality would help him excel.

It was one of the reasons Polian defied conventional wisdom in the 2001 draft, taking Wayne instead of a defensive player.

The initial plan, Polian explained, was to choose a defensive tackle with the 22nd overall pick. When the Colts' turn came, the player they coveted was gone. With no consensus among the coaches and scouts about who to take, Polian dealt the pick to the Giants who chose cornerback Will Allen. Polian then took Wayne at No. 30.

"He was absolutely a terrific route runner, a clutch performer with a great work ethic and great football instincts," Polian said. "Everybody in that room was really convinced we had a good one."

At first, Wayne wasn't so good.

He spent the better part of two seasons working through injuries and developing a rapport with Manning.

In 2003, Wayne blossomed in an offense that featured Manning, Marvin Harrison and two-time NFL rushing champ Edgerrin James. By 2006, Wayne was emerging as the next big thing and wound up dancing in the rain after catching a TD pass in Indy's Super Bowl win.

Not long after that, Wayne supplanted the aging and injured Harrison as Manning's No. 1 target, a title he held until the Colts embarked on a massive rebuilding project after the 2011 season. When Manning was cut, Wayne considered leaving.

Coach Chuck Pagano, an old friend, urged Wayne to stay and the receiver gave Indy a hometown discount on a three-year deal so he could come back and work with rookie Andrew Luck.

"I don't want to think about that," Luck said when asked how different things might have been without Wayne. "He was so instrumental in my growth as a rookie. He's still instrumental in the growth of this team."

He was still his young self in 2012 and was playing well last year until the ACL injury.

This year has not gone according to the script.

After a solid start, Wayne tore his left triceps and injured his left elbow Oct. 19. He missed the next game and has caught only eight passes for 46 yards in the last three, prompting talk about possible retirement when his contract runs out after the season.

Yet Wayne has continued to be the consummate professional by never complaining and always showing up for practices and games and still making plays on bad days, such as the rub route that got T.Y. Hilton open for Luck's winning TD pass at Cleveland.

That's Reggie.

"It's just a testament to his passion and drive for the game, his love for this organization, this city, the community, his teammates, the locker room," Pagano said. "Availability means a lot in football. He's been available for a long, long time, and he's produced for a long, long time."

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Greg Olsen: No Practice Wednesday

Olsen (undisclosed) didn't take part in practice Wednesday, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Olsen dealt with a knee injury last week, which may have lingered into the current week of preparation. The ailment didn't quell his relevance in the passing game, though, as he racked up 10 catches (on 11 targets) for 72 yards and one touchdown in Week 14. While the impetus for Wednesday's absence should be revealed in the near future, expect his availability for Sunday's game versus the Buccaneers to clear up by week's end.

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Sam Shields admits lack of practice snaps affected him

Green Bay - Packers CB Sam Shields wasn't willing to take most of the blame for the defense's atrocious second-half performance against the Atlanta Falcons Monday night, but he did acknowledge that he wasn't at his best coming off a week of inactivity due to a concussion.

Shields wasn't the only guy who gave up big plays to Falcons WR Julio Jones, who set a record for most receiving yards (259) against the Packers in a single game, but it was clear he was off his game. He gave up one touchdown to Jones and almost another, save for a foot out of bounds, and was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter.

The coaches decided to play Shields despite the fact the only practice he had was some light work on Sunday after being cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol. He said he was cleared to play either Friday or Saturday.

The Packers never reported whether Shields practiced on Sunday, but he said that he had "just a little jog. Nothing major. Mostly rest. Mental reps, rest, things like that."

Now looking back, he admitted not getting any practice time hurt his play. But he said he was back practicing in full Wednesday and he was not on the injury report.
"I needed a couple reps," he said. "That probably would’ve helped out. It happens. I was in there, I got back on the field (and) that was the most important part. I’m getting reps this week and I’ll be ready for Buffalo.

Shields said he wasn't trying to be a "hero" by playing Monday night.

"I don't think I had a bad game or anything like that," he said. "I think it was solid for the reps I did get. One ball over the top that he caught out of bounds that was supposed to be a touchdown. That was my fault. (Stuff) happens. It's football. He's a great receiver. He's in the NFL, too."

There were plenty of players at fault for Jones' huge day.

Cornerback Tramon Williams got beat on a double move and S Morgan Burnett took a terrible angle on Jones' 79-yard reception to start the second half. Shields chased Jones down from the other side of the field and kept him from scoring.

Shields got spun around on another ball down the middle of the field that resulted in a 23-yard gain in the second quarter, but LB Clay Matthews and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix didn't get enough depth on their coverage to take away the middle and contributed to the completion also. On a 30-yard pass down the middle at the end of the first half, CB Casey Hayward and LB Brad Jones were out of position.

"They did a hell of a job," Shields said. "The quarterback and receiver found the open spots, getting their first downs and explosive yards. That's what we can't have this week and continuing (on). That's what happened. Things are going to happen like that. You have to come back next week."

Shields said he did not take his removal from the game after White's fourth-quarter touchdown as a benching. The company line has been that the coaches were being cautious with Shields and coming off that series they decided to go with House.

But until that point, Shields had played the whole game, so it wasn't like they were rotating during the first three quarters.

"They felt that it was right," Shields said. "They kept House in, it's just everybody being a team. That's all it's about. It was House's turn to get up, that's an opportunity for him. He made a couple of great plays, and that's what we need.

"When one person goes down, another person picks it up. That's what happened."

Shields admitted it was frustrating to be taken out.

"There was a lot going through my head," he said. "It was frustration. You don’t want to be on the sideline. Coach made the decision. He made a good decision, put House in there. House made some great plays. I’ll be ready for Buffalo."

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Devin Hester Leads Pro Bowl Votes In Returners

It should come as no surprise that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester is leading the return specialist position in the Pro Bowl voting with 123,158 votes, putting him ahead of Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (84,106).

During a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first quarter of the season, Hester broke the record of former Falcons cornerback and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders for the most combined return touchdowns after returning a 68-yard punt.

Hester now holds the new record of return touchdowns at 20, including 14 punt returns, five kickoff returns and one missed field goal return.
Julio Jones comes in at No. 9 for most votes at the wide receiver position.

Be sure to vote for your favorite Falcon for the 2015 Pro Bowl, which will be held on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Az. This is the final week to vote.

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Reggie Wayne Talks Playing Through Triceps Injury

INDIANAPOLIS – With a lot of interest in Reggie Wayneicon-article-link battling injuries, the 14-year vet joined his weekly radio show again on Tuesday.

Wayne was his normal self in giving extremely honest, candid answers.

Here are some of the highlights from Wayne joining Query and Schultz:

On the Cleveland game and finishing with just one catch:
“It was just lack of concentration. I just wasn’t focused the way I should have been when it’s time to catch the pass that’s thrown to me. It happens. Normally, I catch those balls with no problem but it was just one of those days. It was one of those bad games. You see it with athletes all the time. If people want to pick one or two games out of 208 then so be it. The key thing is we got out of there with a W. My teammates had my back after some drops.

“The same pain that you would think I had after that game is the same pain I had in the New York Giants game, the same game where I took a 40-yard touchdown to the house. It was just a lack of concentration. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

On playing through a triceps tear:
“Yes, I do have a partially torn triceps. That’s part of the reason you see me wearing a brace. I’ve been wearing a brace…since the Cincinnati game. I’m playing through it. We all got injuries. I appreciate Coach Pagano sticking up for me, or what not, but at the end of the day, I’m grown. This is the NFL. I just dropped the passes. That’s all it was.”

On if there was ever talk following the Cincinnati game to go on injured reserve:
“No. Like I said, nothing. N-O. I’m good. If I’m out there playing, I’m alright. I’m not going to be out there putting myself at risk to hinder me in the future. If I’m out there, I feel like I can get the job done with no problems.”

On how you go about treating such an injury:
“You just want to strengthen it. Keep it strong. Ice, stem, things like that. Stuff that you normally do as an athlete. The main thing is you just want to keep it strong.

“The more you rest, from what I found, the weaker it gets. Honestly, right now I have zero pain. As the game goes on and on, you get tackled, you’re hitting the ground, you get taken down, you start to feel it a little bit. But I also feel that in the other triceps. It comes with football.”

On if he’s thought about his future after this season in regards to his body:
“It’s too early to ask that. The way you judge that is once the season is over. Then you sit down and you put everything together and you say, ‘Alright, this is how I feel. This is what I think.’ Then you sit down with your family and say, ‘This is what I’m thinking. What are you thinking?'

“Right now, I still feel I got a couple of years, to be honest with you. I feel pretty good. Injuries come. Injuries happen. I’ve dealt with injuries throughout my career and just continued to get treatment and rehab and played through those injuries. That’s just what it is. That’s the situation we have now.”

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Frank Gore: 'Hard to get in a rhythm' in 49ers' offense

The San Francisco 49ers under Jim Harbaugh have earned a reputation for pulverizing opponents with the run. But not this season.

Coming off three straight 1,000-yard campaigns, workhorse back Frank Gore has struggled to move the ball on the ground for a milquetoast Niners offense that laid an egg on Sunday against the two-win Oakland Raiders.

San Francisco came into the year hoping to manage Gore's carries and keep the 31-year-old bruiser fresh, but his 14.8 totes per game -- his lowest since 2005 -- have had the opposite effect.

"It's hard to get in a rhythm," Gore said this week, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "As players, you have to be in a rhythm on the field to be successful. And it's been tough all year to get in a rhythm."

Not just for Gore. The entire 49ers attack has been tough to watch this season. What used to be one of the league's most creative schemes has sputtered of late to rank dead last in points per game since Week 7.

We don't like their chances against Seattle's high-flying defense on Sunday and we don't expect Harbaugh -- or Gore -- to stick around beyond this season. The rhythm in San Francisco is about to shift from the ground up.

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Jason Fox Doesn't Expect To Start Over Thomas

Depending on who’s counting, Dallas Thomas was responsible for three or four sacks allowed in Sunday’s 28-13 loss to Baltimore.

But his backup, Jason Fox, said he expects Thomas to remain the starter.

“Yes, as far as I know,” said Fox when asked if he stay on the bench for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

“Right now Ja’Wuan and Dallas are the starters and I want to root them on and wish them the best and if my name gets called I’m going to go out there and do the absolute best that I can,” Fox said.

Coach Joe Philbin has defended Thomas throughout the week and again today said he saw some good things from Thomas against the Ravens.

“There’s a lot of pictures in the game where he pass protected well to be honest with you,” Philbin said. “There are a lot of good pictures in the game. There are a few that aren’t very good. I think in the run game he’s been productive, but you have to remember there are 50 some odd plays in a game. We all sometimes get focused on the three or four bad ones, but there are a lot of good things.”

Thomas, speaking to reporters for the first time, said he’s never given up three sacks in any game at any level. He said his teammates have offered their support and that he’s moving on and focusing on the Patriots.

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Clinton Portis Presented Bronko Nagurski Trophy At Banquet

Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis on Monday was a presenter during a banquet that honored Pop Warner players and collegiate student-athletes held at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC.

Portis stood at the podium and helped introduce one of the awards of the night to the Mallard Creek Chargers, the Pop Warner defensive/scholastic team of the year.

At the end of the night,  the Bronko Nagurski Trophy — which honors annually the best defensive football player in the NCAA as judged by the membership of the Football Writers Association of America — went to Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.

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Frank Gore uses colorful language to praise Bobby Wagner

RENTON, Wash. – San Francisco 49ers running Frank Gore had some colorful comments Wednesday on a conference call when asked about the Seattle Seahawks defense. He is extra impressed with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

“That 54, Bobby, man, he f---ing fast as f---, man," Gore said.

Well, OK. Wagner smirked when he heard what Gore had to say, but also appreciated the thought.

“It’s a great compliment coming from a great player,” Wagner said. “I love playing against him. Every time is a fun matchup because he’s a great running back. He’s a very shifty guy and I’m looking forward to playing him again Sunday.”

So does Wagner agree with Gore about saying Wagner’s speed is his best asset?

“I think it’s one of them,” Wagner said. “I take pride in my speed, but I’m a big guy, too, and like to be physical.”

Gore had nothing but nice things to say about the Seahawks.

“They play great together and I respect their team a lot," Gore said. “I can’t take nothing away from 'em.”

But Gore is shocked to see his team at 7-6 and having only a slim chance of making the playoffs.

“It’s tough, man,” he said. “It’s been difficult for us. The games we should have won we didn’t take control of. I’m not happy about the situation where we’re at. Things just haven’t gone right for us this year, but I just want to try and finish it out right and give them boys up there [the Seahawks] a good game and get the win.”

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Shane Larkin back in the rotation

Shane Larkin played 25 minutes against the Spurs on Wednesday with six points, three rebounds, four assists and one turnover.

He is going to get some minutes off the bench as the Knicks try to piece together their second unit. Larkin hasn't really done much in his first season with the Knicks and is only worth grabbing in very deep leagues.

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Padres Trade Yasmani Grandal

A source tells Kirk Kenney and Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego that it’s a done deal. The Dodgers are sending Tim Federowicz along with Kemp to San Diego for Grandal and Eflin, as well as Joe Wieland (Joe Ross, as previously reported below, does not appear to be involved). The Dodgers are kicking in around $30 million to help offset the $107 million over five years left on Kemp’s contract.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the Dodgers and Padres are close to a deal to send superstar outfielder Matt Kemp to sunny San Diego in a blockbuster trade. Heyman writes that the two sides are exchanging final details. A source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the deal is “closer but not done”.

On the Padres’ side, they appear to be giving up catcher Yasmani Grandal along with minor league pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin. Per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers are looking for a catcher to pair with A.J. Ellis and Grandal certainly fits that bill. In 443 plate appearances for the Padres last season, Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI.

Kemp will earn $21 million in 2015 and $21.5 million in each season between 2016-19. The Dodgers would almost certainly be helping out with the finances. The Padres, of course, will get a big boost to their offense which ranked dead last in the National League, averaging 3.30 runs per game this past season. Kemp showed, by batting .287/.346/.506 for the Dodgers in 2014, that he can still be one of the game’s most fearsome hitters when he’s healthy.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has had a busy 24 hours, having also notched deals for shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Howie Kendrick,signing starter Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal, and trading second baseman Dee Gordon.

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Willis McGahee trying out for National Rugby Football League

Former NFL All-Pro running back Willis McGahee is trying out for the National Rugby Football League, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

McGahee will try out for the league at its combine Jan. 12-15 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. According to the league's website, the combine is geared toward "elite" athletes with the following qualifications:

• Willing to make a career change by entering the world of professional rugby/RuXV™
• Who is currently in top physical condition and base athleticism
• "cross-over" athletes who have already proven their status in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA
• Rugby players on a D1 club side in the U.S.A., Canada, or Tier 1 rugby nation

The NRFL intends to begin play in 2015 with six to 12 franchises.

McGahee last played in 2013 for the Cleveland Browns, rushing 138 times for 377 yards and two touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl in 2007 as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and in 2011 as a member of the Denver Broncos. McGahee has four thousand-yard seasons over 10 NFL seasons, beginning in 2004 with the Buffalo Bills, who drafted him 23rd overall in the 2003 draft.

For his career, McGahee has 2,095 carries for 8,474 yards and 65 touchdowns.

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Chuck Pagano: Torn triceps is impacting Reggie Wayne’s performance

After Sunday’s victory over the Browns, Colts coach Chuck Pagano let slip that one of the injuries that’s been bothering wide receiver Reggie Wayne this season is a torn triceps muscle.

The admission came after Wayne dropped three passes and finished the day with just one catch for five yards in a performance that the veteran said made him feel like he was doing everything he “possibly can to throw this game.” Wayne has eight catches for 46 yards in the last three weeks, a total that’s well below what anyone has come to expect from him throughout his career, leading to questions for Pagano on Monday about whether playing Wayne was the right thing for the player or the team.

Pagano wouldn’t say whether Wayne would remain in the lineup, but did say he believes Wayne has more to offer the team. He didn’t argue with the notion that Wayne is struggling to play through his injury a year after a torn ACL, however.

“Is [his play] a byproduct of that? Would I say no? No, I wouldn’t,” Pagano said, via the Indianapolis Star. “There’s something there because we know the player that Reggie is, we know how he’s contributed and we know how he can make the clutch catch. He had a tough day.”

Wayne is one game away from passing Peyton Manning for the top spot on the franchise list of games played, which is a testament to how long he’s been a fixture in Indianapolis. That doesn’t mean that he’s the right player for the team right now if he’s less than 100 percent, though, and it’s also a sign that the end of the line might not be far off with Wayne’s body aching and his contract expiring at the end of this season.

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Drew Rosenhaus Dissapointed Lamar Miller Not Getting More Carries

Lamar Miller has not uttered one syllable of complaint about the fact the Miami Dolphins don't use him as much as seems logical. But his agent Drew Rosenhaus has.

Rosenhaus, who represents multiple Dolphins players including Miller, was on his usual Sunday night appearance on WSVN-7's Sports Xtra show when the frequency of Miller's use became a topic.

Rosenhaus said it was "disappointing" the Dolphins have not used Miller more. Rosenhaus went on to make a case why more use of his client seems more logical for the Dolphins.

Rosenhaus mentioned the idea that getting into rhythm is difficult for any back, including Miller, when he's getting only 10-12 carries a game. He made the point that at a time the Dolphins are struggling with their pass protection due to a troubled offensive line play, running the football more with Miller would be an easy way to keep defenders off the quarterback.

And all those points are valid.

The fact is Miller is No. 12 in the NFL with 782 yards. He's averaging a hefty 4.8 yards per carry.

But he's only carried the football 162 times, an average of 12.4 carries per game. The number of totes ties Miller for No. 16 in the NFL.

So why not maximize Miller? If 162 carries is good, wouldn't 182 be better at 4.8 yards a pop? Might that take some throws away from Tannehill? Maybe. Might that take some runs away from either Daniel Thomas or Damien Williams? Maybe.

I can live with that.

You must understand that at a time much of the NFL is bent on passing, passing, passing, the league's better teams have for several weeks been going in the other direction. The Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and Packers can throw the dickens out of the football but for weeks they've emphasized the running game.

That running game makes it easier to get into the playoffs and tougher to bounce those teams from the playoffs.

But the Dolphins aren't on that course. Indeed, the Dolphins are going in the exact opposite direction.

Miami has run the ball fewer than the game before in three consecutive weeks. They've gone from 24 runs against Buffalo, to 21 against Denver, to 18 against New York, to 16 against Baltimore. Not exactly insistent and tough-minded December football, folks.

Fewer carries for everyone obviously means fewer carries for Miller because the Dolphins long ago decided they want to split the number of carries rather than rely on just one back. That's fine. A large majority of NFL teams divide their carries. It's part of keeping everyone fresh, I suppose.

My problem is the Dolphins are taking carries away from someone who needs more carries and giving them (not many, but some) to players who haven't shown they deserve more carries.

That's because what precious few carries Miller doesn't get in Miami's run-quantity-challenged offense go to Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams. And neither is setting the world on fire.

Thomas has 41 carries this year for 162 yards. Got your calculator? Punch the numbers. That's a 3.9 yard per carry average or about a yard less per carry than Miller.

Williams has 33 carries for 104 yards this season. That's 3.1 yards per carry.

Why are these guys getting the football at all when the better back is easily able to carry it more often and do it better?

I recognize the Dolphins have roles for each player. Williams, for example, has been getting a lot of work on third down. (He dropped a pass last week).

But there is nothing more frustrating than watching Miller get a carry for, say, five yards, another for 4 yards, another two or three plays later for 3 yards, and then he gets taken out of the game. How does that help him get his rhythm?

Sometimes Miller will have a really good series and not be seen in the next series. And the way these games sometimes go, the next time he carries the ball is sometimes a quarter later.

I know Miller isn't worn down. He is not tired. Why do the Dolphins do this?

I ask here because I've asked the Dolphins and the answer one gets is something about making decisions that are best for the team. Instead of clearing things up those kind of answers make me think of the IRS hearings when the dude insisted nothing was wrong after he announced all the emails had been lost.

It is frustrating.

Glad Rosenhaus made that obvious.

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Jimmy Graham’s three drops a career high

METAIRIE, La. -- Jimmy Graham had another quiet day in Sunday’s 41-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Only this time, the New Orleans Saints’ standout tight end had himself to blame as much as the defensive game plan.

Graham dropped a career-high three passes, according to ESPN Stats and Information, and had two other potential catches broken up as they hit his hands.

Graham finished with only three catches for 25 yards -- two of which came in “garbage time” in the final two minutes. He had another catch nullified by a penalty.

Graham was officially targeted 10 times, though two of them were throwaways by Drew Brees under pressure.

The Panthers played good, physical defense against Graham, with standout linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis and safety Roman Harper each breaking up at least one pass. But they didn’t use many double teams on him.

And Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t let Graham off the hook.

“I think overall, he like the rest of the guys on offense, there were things that you look at the tape and you think ... we've got to be better at. We've got to be able to handle some balls that are thrown our way,” Payton said. “And sometimes it's going to be tight and sometimes it's going to be bumped. That's part of the deal.”

Graham hasn’t spoken to the media since Sunday’s game.

Drops haven’t been a season-long issue for Graham, who was credited for only two all season by ESPN Stats and Info before Sunday.

And Sunday’s game played out much differently than the game at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, when Graham wasn’t targeted once. In that game, the Steelers used a heavy dose of double coverage on Graham, and the Saints made them pay with touchdown passes to five different receivers, 162 receiving yards for Kenny Stills, and 122 rushing yards by Mark Ingram.

Overall this season, Graham’s production is a bit below expectations -- mostly because the Saints haven’t been able to get him or any of their receivers open deep down the field on a consistent basis.

Graham is on pace for 84 catches, 855 yards and 11 touchdowns. The catches and touchdowns are typical -- but the yardage is down significantly.

The shoulder injury that Graham suffered in Week 5 doesn’t appear to be an issue with his ability to catch the football or with his snap counts. Although Graham admitted this past Friday that the shoulder has “really held me back at times” as a blocker, he has still put up some big games since suffering the injury. He had 31 catches and six touchdowns during a five-game span from Weeks 8-12.

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Giants should think twice about re-signing Antrel Rolle

Leave it to Antrel Rolle to botch the perfect teaching moment for the Giants’ young prospects.

Meet the current vocal leader of your 4-9 Giants, and a soon-to-be free agent GM Jerry Reese should think twice about retaining next season.

No-nonsense coach Tom Coughlin made it pretty clear that he didn’t dig Rolle’s imaginary photo shoot end-zone celebration with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ blowout win over the hapless Tennessee Titans. How did Rolle respond?

Rolle admitted that he knew his celebration was “unacceptable,” then seemingly brushed it off.

“Certain things like that, they’re going to take place,” Rolle said Tuesday on his weekly paid WFAN spot. “Certain things like that, they’re going to happen. . . When it’s all said and done, some people are gonna make a big deal of it. Some people are gonna understand the situation. That’s not really my concern. What matters to me more than anything is our confidence.”

Yeah, yeah, it was a silly moment in a blowout, but Coughlin, who has spent years preaching about team and responsibility and respect, wasn’t a fan. Coughlin has twice expressed his displeasure since Sunday, and Rolle, one of the voices of a rudderless squad that has spent all season playing with a lack of discipline, barely cared.

It’s no wonder that Coughlin has had trouble getting the Giants to play disciplined football when one of the team’s leaders thinks he can make like Bobby Boucher from “The Waterboy”when he pleases, with little regard for what his coach thinks. Rolle said his celebration was born of joy for DRC, who has struggled with injuries.

“It goes bigger than us celebrating an interception for a touchdown,” he said. “This is someone who I knew firsthand came to New York to join me and be by my side... He’s been struggling through injuries all season long.”

Admirable? Maybe. Right? Not if the coach doesn’t dig it.

And definitely not now with the Giants rebuilding around rising young stars who look to vets such as Rolle. But instead of pushing them to trust Coughlin’s guidance, Rolle shows them it’s OK to do what they want, even on the playing field.

Rolle, who turns 32 later this month, is viewed as a fiery team-first presence, but in too many moments, he has shown himself to be something else. He threw Prince Amukamara’s sex life into the headlines (a situation that Amukamara handled amicably and admirably), he called a fan a “stupid ass” on Twitter while claiming that he was playing flawless ‘D’ and now this.

The Giants should be prepared to move on. Rolle hardly seems irreplaceable, hardly a game-breaker, having dropped several interceptions and made few big plays this year.

Really, there’s just one reason to keep Rolle around: his relationship with DRC. They have a friendship that dates back to their days with the Cardinals, and Rolle helped lure DRC to East Rutherford.

But they had their moment Sunday. For the Giants, it’s time to move on. 

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Criticism of Reggie Wayne personal to Coach Pagano

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Colts will get back to work on Wednesday as they prepare for a huge game this week against the Texans.

A win on Sunday and Chuck Pagano will have his team back in the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Recently Pagano has had to deal with a lot of criticism surrounding his star wide receiver Reggie Wayne’s play on the field. There’s no doubt the veteran has struggled lately and Pagano revealed just on Monday that Wayne has a torn triceps.

Regardless of the latest injury 24-Hour News 8 asked Pagano does he take the criticism about Wayne personal.

“Yea, and I think everyone else in this organization, starting from the top down, feels that way. All of his teammates feel that way. The entire coaching staff takes it that way. We’re talking about a special special player, a special guy. A guy who’s given everything that he’s got for 14 years to this city, to this community, this organization. He lays it on the line every time he straps that helmet on. It won’t be long before the naysayers, the boo birds, whatever you want to call them, they’ll be back jumping on the bandwagon.” said Pagano.

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Greg Olsen and Bank of America feed local families

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A happy news story about a Carolina Panthers player! Panthers' tight end Greg Olsen, and Bank of America's Charles Bowman, helped sort, distribute, and bag fresh food for about 200 families Tuesday night!

The event took place at Druid Hills Elementary. The families served have kids who attend the school.

This is part of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina's mobile pantry. They are bringing groceries directly to those in need.

That includes almost 200 thousand children in the Charlotte area who are living in poverty.

Tuesday night's event coincides with the 'Give A Meal' program, in which Bank of America matches donations given to either Second Harvest or Feeding America.

Second Harvest thanks you for giving!! Remember, by giving our children a healthy meal, you give them a better chance at a brighter future! In the end everyone wins!!

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Allen Hurns Setting Records

proCane Rookie Jaguars WR Allen Hurns has 6 receiving TDs this season. No other #NFL undrafted rookie has more than 2 in ‘2014. Additionally on Sunday Hurns set a new Jaguars Rookie record for TD receptions in a season with six.

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Frank Gore earned a roster bonus Sunday afternoon

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore earned a sizable roster bonus on Sunday, in what was his 13th active game this season. According to Field Yates, Gore earned a $750,000 bonus. Gore was due $2.75 million in bonuses in 2014. The remaining $2 million is broken down into 16 game-day roster bonuses of $125,000. He has been active the first 13 games, and barring the unforeseen, will be active the final three.

Gore finished the game with 63 yards on 12 carries. I am not entirely sure why the 49ers did not run the ball more, although to be fair, it sounds like Jim Harbaugh wasn't sure either. He was asked if he could

Gore enters free agency after this season, and his future with the 49ers is anybody's guess. Earlier this season I would have guessed it was a virtual certainty. As the season winds down, I am less certain what his future holds. After all, the 49ers will head into the offseason with Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter under contract. Hyde has shown some things at times, but with Hunter a huge question mark due to injury, is that enough to move on from Gore?

The free agency market actually has some quality talent available, but it remains to be seen what the cost will be given how running backs as a whole seem to lose value each year. Guys like DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Ryan Mathews, Knowshon Moreno, Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller and so many others are potentially hitting the market. This lengthy group of options could push down the cost of a mid-20s veteran, or it could very well mean the 49ers bring back Gore at a fairly minimal one or two-year deal.

And of course, there is the draft. Running backs have been sliding down draft boards in recent years, so there likely would not be a huge sense of urgency at the top. There are numerous options, including Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Todd Gurley (Georgia), Tevin Coleman (Indiana), Ameer Andullah (Nebraska), T.J. Yeldon (Alabama), Duke Johnson (Miami), Mike Davis (South Carolina), and Karlos Williams (Florida State). There will be plenty of options to consider in the offseason.

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Greg Olsen snags career-high 10 in Sunday win

The pass-catching hero in a big win Sunday for the Panthers was tight end Greg Olsen. He caught a game-high and career-high 10 passes for 72 yards.

One of those snags was a 16-yarder in which he got wide open and waltzed into the end zone late in the second quarter. He caught seven passes for 49 yards in the second half.

Olsen and his team will try to maintain their momentum against Tampa Bay in Week 15.

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Andre Johnson day-to-day; must pass concussion protocol

The longest-tenured Texan may not be available for his team’s biggest game of the season.

Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered a concussion during the Texans’ 27-13 victory at Jacksonville on Sunday. After receiving a helmet-to-helmet blow, Johnson left the field and did not return to action.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Monday that Johnson will be evaluated as the team prepares for a critical AFC South matchup at Indianapolis.

“He has to pass the concussion test to be able to be cleared,” O’Brien said at NRG Stadium. “I would say that’s definitely a day-to-day thing.”

Johnson, 33, has suffered two concussions since the start of the 2013 season. He leads the Texans in receptions (69) and tied DeAndre Hopkins for a team-high four catches against the Jaguars.

Johnson’s yardage totals have been off this season, though. He’s yet to record a 100-yard game and has averaged just 40.2 yards during his last six contests. If Johnson plays against the Colts, he must average 87.6 yards in the Texans’ last three regular-season games to reach 1,000 yards this year. The 12th-year pro has recorded at least 1,216 yards in five of the last six seasons. The only time he reach the total was in 2011, when he was limited to seven games due to injury.

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Chuck Pagano says Reggie Wayne playing with a torn tricep

CLEVELAND -- Indianapolis Colts veteran receiver Reggie Wayne had one of the worst games of his career against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, catching only one pass for five yards and dropping three balls.

It turns out, according to coach Chuck Pagano, Wayne is dealing with an assortment of injuries.

Pagano said on the Colts' radio postgame show that Wayne is "fighting and playing through stuff; knee elbow and torn tri [tricep]."

All three of Wayne's drops were ones he has routinely made throughout his 14-year career. His biggest drop was in the fourth quarter when the Colts were in Cleveland territory.

"I basically told myself, 'You're doing everything you possibly can to throw this game,'" Wayne said. "Thankfully my teammates were able to have my back. ...You have to have amnesia. That's the way it goes. They happen like that sometimes. You have to put it behind you and keep going. Be thankful you have next week."

Wayne missed a game earlier this season with an elbow injury, suffered against Cincinnati on Oct. 19.

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Allen Hurns records Jaguars' only touchdown Week 14

Rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns had the Jaguars' only touchdown during a 27-13 loss Week 14 against the Texans. Hurns, who was targeted a team-high 10 times, finished with five catches for 36 yards.

Hurns opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter. It was his sixth touchdown reception and first in four games.

The Jaguars are back in action Week 15 at Baltimore.

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Colts should let Reggie Wayne set record, then sit him until playoffs

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts' Reggie Wayne will break Peyton Manning’s record for most games played (209) in franchise history once he plays a snap against the Houston Texans next Sunday.

But then the Colts will have a decision to make with Wayne.

Continue to play the 14-year veteran or rest him the final two games to get ready for the playoffs?

The latter is the better option at this point because as good as he’s been during his career, Wayne isn’t helping the Colts.

Not only did Wayne face an uphill battle after suffering a torn ACL last season, but he's also added some injuries this season. Coach Chuck Pagano revealed for the first time Sunday that Wayne is dealing with a torn left tricep, which goes back to when he got injured against Cincinnati on Oct. 19. He missed the Oct. 26 game at Pittsburgh.

The catches Wayne has routinely made during his career are now drops. He only had one catch for 5 yards and three drops against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. His streak of consecutive games with at least three catches ended at 82.

“The elbow, a lot of nagging stuff,” Pagano said. “It’s difficult for anybody to deal with, so is it a byproduct of that? Would I say no to that? No, I wouldn’t. We know how he can contribute and we know how he can make the clutch catches and all those things. He had a tough day and there are a lot of guys that had a tough day [Sunday].”

A sight that has rarely happened during Wayne’s career came in the fourth quarter when the Colts were trying to cut into the Browns’ lead. After dropping a pass across the middle that would have given the Colts a first down deep in Cleveland territory, Wayne was taken out of the game on third down.

You would have never thought that Wayne, Luck’s security blanket, would be taken out of a game where the Colts were trying to come back. But that's where things unfortunately stand with Wayne.

“I basically told myself, ‘You’re doing everything you possibly can to throw this game,’” Wayne said Sunday. “Thankfully my teammates were able to have my back.”

Wayne has eight catches for 46 yards in the past three games.

Pagano avoided answering the question, which is somewhat understandable considering their relationship, when asked if he thinks they should rest Wayne.

“We talk all the time, we communicate with the trainers all the time,” Pagano said. “The lines of communication are always open in regards to all the players, not just Reggie. We’re going to do the best thing for the team that’s going to give us a chance to win, and what’s best for player.”

Pagano was later asked how much he thinks Wayne, a free agent in the offseason, has left in his 36-year-old body.

“How much? I don’t know,” Pagano said. “I know he has more. He’ll deliver and he’ll be back.”

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Frank Gore: 'I'll Keep Fighting with My Teammates'

Following the San Francisco 49ers disappointing 24-13 loss on Sunday to the Oakland Raiders, Frank Gore insisted that he and the team would not give up on the season.

“I’ll keep fighting with my teammates,” Gore said. “I’m going to give my teammates 110 percent.”

At 7-6, the 49ers will likely need to win their final three games to have a shot at a postseason berth. San Francisco is three games out of first place in the NFC West and two games out of the final Wild Card spot. Multiple losses from Arizona, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle and Dallas would help the 49ers chances.

“I’ll see how the chips fall, and hopefully other teams help us,” Gore said. “I hope it happens. We’ll have to move forward from this one, but it’s tough.

“It’s my last year under contract, and I want to go out and at least get a shot to hold the trophy.”

After being held to a season-low three points in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13, the 49ers offense started off well on Sunday, scoring a touchdown on its third possession of the game. San Francisco capped a 7-play, 60-yard drive with an 8-yard Bruce Miller touchdown catch.

But after that score, the 49ers would add just a pair of field goals the rest of the way.

“I don’t feel like we’re us,” Gore said. “It’s hard to get in a rhythm. As players, you have to be in a rhythm to be successful on the field. It’s been tough all year.”
Gore finished his day rushing 12 times for 63 yards.

San Francisco heads to Seattle for a Week 15 showdown with the Seahawks before finishing the regular season with consecutive home games versus the San Diego Chargers and Cardinals.

“We just have to clean up the mistakes and move forward,” Gore said.

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Jimmy Graham: Shoulder injury has 'really held me back sometimes'

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said his shoulder injury has "really held me back sometimes" this season, according to The Advocate.

The two-time Pro Bowler injured his shoulder during the Saints’ Week 5 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He said he still manages the pain "every day" and that it has impacted his blocking. 

"At times this year the shoulder has really held me back sometimes," Graham said. "Other times I’m able to fight through the pain. I just got to man up and keep doing it."

Graham has 65 catches this season for 670 yards and nine touchdowns. As it stands, his 10.3 yards per reception average is the lowest of his five career seasons.

In 2013, Graham led all NFL tight ends with 16 touchdown catches. 

The Saints (5-7) host the Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) on Sunday. 

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Is an injured Reggie Wayne hurting the Colts?

Chuck Pagano was visibly uncomfortable addressing the delicate subject. He was, at times, tense and terse.

But talking about veteran receiver Reggie Wayne's disappointing performances has become unavoidable for the Indianapolis Colts coach.

The topic was front and center again Monday, one day after the Colts pulled off an emotional 25-24, come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Pagano confirmed a key point he let slip during a postgame radio interview, acknowledging that Wayne indeed has a torn left triceps muscle.

But now what? Can the Colts continue to pretend Wayne can still be effective in spite of an injury that played a major role in his three drops Sunday? Doesn't a performance like Sunday do more harm than good as it relates to helping the Colts win?

Pagano, whose relationship with Wayne dates to the University of Miami in the late 1990s, wasn't prepared to go there.

"We're just going to put the guys out there we think can win football games, period," Pagano said when peppered with questions about whether it was wise to continue playing Wayne.

Wayne finished Sunday's game with one catch for five yards, relatively invisible for a guy who has 14,207 receiving yards in his 14 seasons. The drops were painful to watch, with the typically sure-handed Wayne coughing up balls that hit him squarely in both hands.

On Monday, Pagano was asked directly: Is Wayne hurting your team? Pagano answered the question with one of his own.

"Did you guys talk to Reggie?" he said. "I think he answered your question (Sunday), did he not? I thought he did it pretty eloquently, to be honest. A lot of guys had tough days. A lot of guys. We all have stuff. I've gotta get better, coach better. Across the board. If we want to get done what we want to get done, we all have to do better. Not one guy. Can't ever single out one guy."

Pagano was referencing Wayne's postgame interview when he said, among other things, "I basically told myself, 'You're doing everything you possibly can to throw this game."

Pagano briefly stopped tap-dancing around the issue, conceding the injury is impacting Wayne's performance.

"Is (his play) a byproduct of that," Pagano said. "Would I say no? No, I wouldn't. There's something there because we know the player that Reggie is, we know how he's contributed and we know how he can make the clutch catch. He had a tough day."

The 36-year old Wayne, according to Pagano, suffered the injury on Oct. 19 against the Bengals when he sustained what the Colts originally described as an elbow injury. He missed a single game, at Pittsburgh, then returned for a Monday night matchup against the Giants, catching four passes for 70 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown.

Pagano was noncommittal on whether he'd continue to play Wayne, but he does have one potential option. Wayne is scheduled to play in his 209th game when the Colts meet the Houston Texans on Sunday. It would put him ahead of Peyton Manning for the most games played of any Colt in franchise history. The Colts would then have two regular-season games remaining. Perhaps Pagano would consider sitting Wayne at that point, though he wouldn't entertain that possibility on Monday.

"We communicate with the trainers all the time," Pagano said. "The lines of communication are always open in regard to all the players, not just Reggie. We're going to do the best thing for the team that gives us the best chance to win and, obviously, what's best for the player."

The conversation eventually turned to whether Wayne has much left in his tank. He's on the down side of his career, clearly. This is a fact that no one, most of all Wayne, will argue. He's in the final year of his contract and hasn't committed to anything beyond this season nor addressed his future intentions.

When addressing how much Wayne has left, the issue is complicated by the injury. He was contributing prior to getting hurt – he had nine catches for 98 yards against the Denver Broncos and seven catches for 119 yards against the Tennessee Titans. Maybe he's not done yet. Maybe he can't be fairly evaluated when hurt.

So, Chuck Pagano, how much does Wayne have left?

"How much? I'm not Nostradamus. I don't know," he said. "I know he's got more. How much, I don't know. But I know he's got more. And he'll deliver. And he'll be back."

For now, though, Wayne's injury is making that quite difficult.

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Andre Johnson’s day ends short of tying NFL mark

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Andre Johnson needed eight catches to reach 1,000 for his career and tie Marvin Harrison as the fastest in NFL history to reach the mark.

Johnson collected a co-team high four balls for 17 yards Sunday during the Texans’ 27-13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field.

Then the veteran wide receiver’s day suddenly ended.

Johnson dropped a throw from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after receiving a helmet-to-helmet hit from Telvin Smith with 12 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second quarter. The Jacksonville linebacker was flagged for a personal foul and the Texans soon scored a touchdown via a four-yard Fitzpatrick keeper around the right end. But Johnson was forced to leave the game due to a concussion and never returned. He was surrounded by his teammates for an extended period after the hit and will have to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol to be available next Sunday at Indianapolis in a critical AFC South matchup.

“That was scary, man,” Texans running back Arian Foster said. “The refs were trying to (back us up) and I’m like, ‘Naw, that’s my guy.’ But it’s always scary. You saw what he means to this team when everybody crowded around him – coach is out there, trainer, everybody’s worried about him. I talked to him. He said he’ll be all right.”

Johnson still moved deeper into the NFL’s record book. He passed Torry Holt for 12th all-time in receiving yards (13,398) and extended his franchise record of 167 games played.

“He’s a tough guy. A very tough individual,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.

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Jimmy Graham held to three catches Sunday

A disastrous Sunday afternoon at home for the Saints certainly filtered down to struggling tight end Jimmy Graham.

Graham, who is dealing with a sore shoulder, was held to just one catch in the first three quarters and finished with three for a mere 25 yards despite having 11 passes thrown his way. It's the fifth game this season in which he has gained 36 yards or less through the air.

He will try to raise his level of play against the visiting Bears next Monday night.

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Orlando Franklin: I love food, but I have to be careful what and how I eat

We celebrated Thanksgiving here in Denver last week, and American Thanksgiving is pretty much just like Canadian Thanksgiving. I’m really all about the stuffing when it comes to Thanksgiving. The turkey doesn’t even have to be all that great, nothing really has to be that great as long as the stuffing is good. That’s my favourite part.

Being that I’m Jamaican, I like eating Caribbean food, but out here there’s a big population of Mexican-descended people. I end up going and eating Mexican a lot. The cool thing out here is I actually live not too far from the first Chipotle that was ever created. The first one ever was created in Denver and it’s a little place, but it’s completely different compared to all the other ones. It’s pretty cool, going to that first restaurant.

I tend to like Spanish food period – Puerto Rican, Dominican, they’re pretty close to us as far as Jamaican people, for making oxtail and stuff like that. If I had to pick my favourite foods, I’d go with island food, like Caribbean food, first. And then I’d go Italian, then I might go Spanish, then I’d go Mexican.

I’ve had people come up from Toronto a few times. They’ll bring oxtail and curry goat and stuff like that. We’ll season it up here, because you can get all the seasoning here. In Denver, there is oxtail, but they’re so huge, so different from Canada. I’ve been here four years and I haven’t found a meat market that will cut them up or anything, so you just get this big oxtail. It takes longer to cook and the flavour is just different.

So whenever I have people come to town from Toronto, I definitely bother them and tell them they need to bring oxtail. It makes their flight a little more uncomfortable because they have to go through customs and declare that they’re bringing meat into the country. They try to tell me no, but I tell them, “Listen, I’m getting you guys tickets to the game, you guys better bring oxtail!”

But you have to watch what you eat. We have a nutritionist that’s there every day and travels with us. You definitely have to be careful because in the NFL we get fined if we’re overweight. My weight is 325 – that’s my fineable weight. Every week, for the most part, I weigh somewhere in the teens. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been around 315. But if I was 326 pounds, I would get fined. It’s $495 per pound that you’re over. They weigh you in each and every Thursday morning – you’ve got to get on the scale and you’ve got to make weight.

Your weight can have an influence on your performance if you’re too heavy. You don’t get fined for being too light. The nutritionist just kind of harasses you and tries to tell you to get your weight up and tries to make sure he gets protein shakes and calories in you.

It’s better to carry as little weight as possible. My knees tend to hurt me more if I’m in the 20s as opposed to being in the teens. It’s so minute that you think, what’s 10 pounds going to do? But it really does make a difference, just on your knees and after the game, trying to recover. I have found that I am more effective and my body feels better at about 315 pounds.

I kind of cut it loose last week because we weighed in on Thanksgiving morning. I was about 11 pounds away from my weight so I just ate, went to sleep, woke up, ate again, watched some football, ate again, you know? Then we went to Kansas City on the weekend and Kansas City is known for some of the best barbecue in the world, so we definitely went and got some barbecue on Saturday when we got there.

We’ll try to go and get whatever that city is known for. Like, whenever you play in Baltimore or Washington, they’re known for their crabcakes. Whenever you play in New England, they’re known for seafood. It would definitely be cool just travelling and talking about different foods in each city, trying different things.

I remember a couple of years ago we played in Tennessee and there was this one chicken place that was on the Food Network. My agent was in town and he brought me some fried chicken. This restaurant in Tennessee, I forgot the name, but it was known for its fried chicken, and he brought it to me. It was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life!

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Reggie Wayne considering retirement after 2014

Reggie Wayne is going to be one of the trickiest Hall of Fame debates among this generation of wide receivers. That clock to Canton conversation could start as soon as this offseason. 

"Thirty-six, man. Kids growing up," Wayne explained to Mike Chappell of RTV6 in Indianapolis. "It's time for family decisions."

Wayne talked about wanting to spend more time with his three children, including his oldest, his 11-year old son who is playing football. He repeated the phrase "family decisions" a few times.

"It's real, man," he said of possibly retiring. "It's tough, it really is. You have to decide if you want to make that sacrifice again. A lot goes into it."

This is the first we've heard about Wayne possibly retiring, but it makes a lot of sense. He will be 37 years old next year, and does not have a contract for the 2015 season. Wayne is still productive, but he's no longer the same player. He hasn't had many big plays this season, and he's on pace for 848 receiving yards.

Wayne has returned from a torn ACL much better than a lot of other receivers in their mid-thirties, but he may not enjoy playing the game at a diminished level. It's also worth wondering if he'd be willing to take a reduction in pay from his average just under $6 million-per-season the last three years. (Or what kind of contract the Colts would give him.)

Wayne insists he is a Colt for life.

"I know what I'm not going to do is go somewhere else and play for one year, two years. Absolutely not. Nobody else. I don't have time to be dipping and dabbing, one year here, maybe one year somewhere else."

Add it all up, and it wouldn't be a surprise if this were Wayne's final run with the team.

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Frank Gore calls 24-13 upset the low point of an ‘off year’

Frank Gore has been through the 49ers’ ups and downs since 2005, and despite this season’s astonishingly rocky road, Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the NFL’s cellar-dwelling Raiders was even “shocking” to him.

“It’s been an off year,” Gore said.

Back-to-back losses have the third-place 49ers (7-6) reeling like never before in previous stretch runs under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh. With three games remaining, they are three back of NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals (10-3) and two out of the wild-card hunt, which includes next Sunday’s rematch with the host Seattle Seahawks (9-4).

Gore, more than any of his teammates afterward, acknowledging how distant their playoff hopes are: “If we were to beat the Raiders, we’d still have a lot of hope. So I feel like this is the lowest point (of the season).

“It’s my last year under contract and I want to go out and at least get a shot to hold the trophy,” Gore added. “I’ll see how the chips fall, I’ll keep fighting with my teammates and hopefully other teams help us.”

Serving as symbolic and damning bookends to Sunday’s defeat were a pair of Colin Kaepernick passes that got intercepted, on the game’s first snap and on his penultimate toss in the final minutes.

“I’m giving everything I have every time I step on the field,” Kaepernick said. “I have to play better.”

After passing for a season-low 121 yards in a 19-3 Thanksgiving loss to Seattle, Kaepernick threw for 174 yards against the Raiders (18 of 33, one touchdown, two interceptions). He got sacked five times and drew three penalties for delay of game.

Although Gore agreed with a reporter’s assessment that everything starts with any quarterback on any team, he couched his response by adding: “Everybody’s had ups and downs, and bad games.”

Sunday brought an uncharacteristically bad game from the 49ers defense. That allowed rookie quarterback Derek Carr to lead the Raiders to only their second win in 12 games. Carr (22-of-28, 254 yards) threw three touchdowns, the final two of which erased the 49ers’ 13-10, third-quarter lead.

Carr got sacked once by an inept 49ers pass rush that played without outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who missed a Tuesday meeting because he said he thought the team had the day off. Brooks had started every game since 2010. Sunday he stood on the sideline with helmet in hand while Dan Skuta took his spot on run downs and occasionally Aaron Lynch on passing downs.

Brooks disagreed with his benching, and although the 49ers lacked pressure on Carr, repeated breakdowns in coverage led to seven-catch, one-touchdown days for fullback Marcel Reece and tight end Mychal Rivera.

The 49ers had taken a 13-10 lead on its first series after halftime, settling for a 20-yard field goal once Kaepernick’s third-down pass to Carlos Hyde gained only eight yards to the 2. The 49ers also led earlier 7-3 when Kaepernick completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to fullback Bruce Miller.

Gore’s 5.3 yards-per-carry average was his second-best this season, but he had just 12 carries for 63 yards. He refused to criticize his coaches’ play calls that have drawn scrutiny throughout this mysterious season of chaos and despair.

“I just don’t feel like we’re us,” Gore said. “It’s just hard to get in a rhythm. It’s just hard. It’s just hard. As a player you need to be in a rhythm on the field to be successful.  It’s been tough all year to get in a rhythm.”

Three games remain to find a rhythm. They can only hope one trend continues: they’ve twice answered back-to-back losses with three-game winning streaks.
“There is no surrendering,” said Harbaugh, whose future fell into further doubt entering the final year of his contract.  “… It falls on me if we don’t win these games.”

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Padres' Yasmani Grandal being offered in trade talks for Kemp

The Padres are looking like the most likely destination for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to USA Today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale. The Padres are offering catcher Yasmani Grandal and another player in a deal for Kemp, who is still owed $107 million over the next five years.

CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported last week the Padres were one of three teams showing interest in Kemp. The other two were the Orioles and Mariners.

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Red Sox’s Jemile Weeks Clears Waivers, Outrighted To Triple-A Pawtucket

The Boston Red Sox have opened up a spot on their 40-man roster. Infielder/outfielder Jemile Weeks cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced Monday.

The Red Sox’s 40-man roster now includes 39 players. Weeks was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles along with Ivan De Jesus on Aug. 30 in exchange for Kelly Johnson and Michael Almanzar. The 27-year-old appeared in 14 games with Boston, hitting .308 (8-for-26) with three RBIs, two stolen bases, six runs scored and a .406 on-base percentage. He played second base and shortstop. Weeks, a first-round pick (12th overall) in 2012, gives the Red Sox some organizational depth.

He could compete for a utility role in spring training if he sticks around with the organization this offseason. Monday’s transaction enables the Red Sox to add a player without a corresponding roster move. The Sox needed to make corresponding roster moves a couple of weeks ago after signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Juan Francisco and Ryan Lavarnway both were designated for assignment, with Francisco eventually becoming a free agent after he was non-tendered and Lavarnway being claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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