August 30, 2011 in Sports

Taylor’s stint with the Bears isn’t finished yet

 
Associated Press photo

Bears running back Chester Taylor averaged just 2.4 yards per carry last season.
(Full-size photo)

Jets earn bragging rights

Mark Sanchez threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes and the New York Jets capitalized on two big special teams plays to defeat the New York Giants 17-3 at East Rutherford, N.J., Monday night in a preseason game delayed two days by Tropical Storm Irene’s devastating visit to the New York metropolitan area.

Bilal Powell had a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and the Jets defense intercepted Eli Manning twice in what probably will be the last major warmup for both teams’ starters.

The chippy game featured the Giants’ Brandon Jacobs and the Jets’ Muhammad Wilkerson being ejected for a fight.

Chester Taylor thought the Chicago Bears were releasing him on Monday. Turns out, he was wrong.

The Bears’ running back left team headquarters after a conversation with coach Lovie Smith thinking the team was cutting him. Agent Ken Sarnoff said that was simply a misunderstanding.

“There has been a miscommunication between Lovie Smith and Chester Taylor,” Sarnoff said. “At the moment, Chester is still a Bear.”

Smith expects Taylor to practice today but would not say if he’ll play Thursday, when Chicago closes out the preseason against Cleveland. He was clear about one thing, though.

The Bears still need to cut 27 players by Saturday to get to the 53-man limit, and it remains to be seen if Taylor will wind up in that group.

His future has been the subject of speculation for a while now, and it ramped up when the Bears signed Marion Barber to a two-year contract late last month, adding him to the backup mix behind Matt Forte. Taylor ran for just 267 yards last season and averaged a career-low 2.4 per carry after leaving Minnesota for a four-year, $12.5-million deal with $7 million guaranteed, and the Bears seemed to be sending a loud message his way when they brought in Barber.

So when Sarnoff posted on Twitter on Monday that Smith had informed Taylor that he was being cut, that hardly seemed surprising. Then the agent came back with a post saying the Bears had informed him Taylor was still with the team.

Titans place Johnson on reserve list

The Tennessee Titans have placed running back Chris Johnson on the reserve/did not report list in a move that frees up an extra roster spot for the final preseason game.

The administrative move has no impact on contract talks with Johnson, who met with the Titans last week but remains a holdout. Johnson’s agent, Joel Segal, did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press, and coach Mike Munchak said he hadn’t heard of any changes in the talks.

Johnson, who has rushed for more yards in the NFL over the past three seasons than anyone else, has refused to report until he gets a new contract. The Titans want to make him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, but both remain far apart so far.

Quinn likely to start in preseason finale

Coach John Fox isn’t revealing his quarterback rotation for Thursday night’s preseason finale at Arizona.

It’s likely Brady Quinn will get the start with Kyle Orton sitting this one out, however. Quinn has outperformed Tim Tebow all summer and didn’t play last week against Seattle, when Tebow finished up with another inconsistent performance.

With Quinn likely having secured the job as Orton’s primary backup, the bigger question Thursday is whether he’ll split snaps with Tebow or if Adam Weber plays.

More retired players sue NFL

Another group of former NFL players is suing the league and helmet makers over head injuries suffered during their careers.

The 18 players named in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court include Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lee Roy Selmon, his brother and defensive teammate Dewey Selmon and former Los Angeles Raiders tackle Brian Holloway.

The suit claims the NFL, Riddell Sports Group and its parent company, Easton-Bell Sports, knew the long-term effects of brain injury from trauma suffered by the players and purposefully hid it from them.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday the league will “strongly contest” the claims.

More than 75 current and former NFL players filed a similar suit is Los Angeles in July and another group did so earlier this month in Philadelphia.

Around the league

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was sentenced to 20 days in jail Monday after reaching a deal to settle two misdemeanor assault cases in Texas. Benson said he will surrender to authorities on Oct. 17, which is the Monday of Cincinnati’s bye week. … The San Francisco 49ers say they have notified the NFL that wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught a couple dozen passes during warmups while still being on the physically unable to perform list.

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