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Wednesday, July 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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NFL notes: Matt Cassel taking over at quarterback for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – Matt Cassel is taking over at quarterback for Dallas after Brandon Weeden lost all three of his starts in place of the injured Tony Romo.

Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday he made the move “to see if we can get our offense going a little bit more.”

The Cowboys (2-3) are on their bye and have about a week and a half to get Cassel ready to face the NFC East-leading New York Giants on Oct. 25.

In Cassel, Dallas is picking someone with more experience – and more wins. Cassel made 71 starts for New England, Kansas City and Minnesota and has 33 wins to just five for Weeden, although both have losing records for their careers.

The Dallas offense has posed little threat down the field with Weeden.

Tyrod Taylor not ruled out for Bills

Though Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a sprained left knee, coach Rex Ryan won’t entirely rule him out from playing against Cincinnati on Sunday.

Ryan provided the update before the team’s practice on Wednesday. Ryan said Taylor would practice on a limited basis, with backup EJ Manuel taking a majority of the snaps.

Ryan disputed reports that Taylor could miss as many as three weeks because of the injury.

“That’s news to me. That may or may not be the case,” Ryan said. “It’s certainly not official. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Ben Roethlisberger participates in first practice since injury

Ben Roethlisberger took a small step toward returning to action and that left his Pittsburgh Steelers’ teammates feeling good.

The veteran quarterback was a limited participant in practice Wednesday for the first time since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sept. 27 during a win over the Rams at St. Louis.

Roethlisberger took part in non-contact seven-on-seven passing drills. While he is not expected to play in Sunday’s game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals, Roethlisberger appears to be on course to beat the original timetable of missing six weeks.

“We’re just taking it one day a time,” he said.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians returns to Pittsburgh where he was dismissed as offensive coordinator

In the hills of West Virginia, amid trees awash in the brilliant colors of fall, a coach in the autumn of his career is plotting his return to Pittsburgh at the top of his game.

Bruce Arians brings his 4-1 Arizona Cardinals to Heinz Field less than four years after he was forced out as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.

He insists his return is “no big deal.”

“I’ve been in both sides of that locker room,” Arians said after the Cardinals practiced on Wednesday. “I went back the year after I left for a preseason game. So yeah, it’s just another game on the schedule.”

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, whose young career blossomed under Arians, believes otherwise.

“Knowing him and how prepared that he is,” Brown said Wednesday on a conference call, “I’m sure he’s going to want to come in here and put on a show, being how many people counted him out and wanted him out of here.”

He isn’t talking that way now, but Arians has repeatedly dropped hints about how he feels about how it ended in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers spread the word that he had retired when his contract wasn’t renewed. Arians uses the term “re-fired.”

Arians’ son Jake told azcentral sports earlier this year that the Steelers ownership didn’t like the aggressive, big-play style of the offense under his dad.

“Nine years in Pittsburgh, he went to three Super Bowls and won two. But they don’t like offense in Pittsburgh,” Jake Arians said. “It’s the weirdest town of all time. They want to win 3-0 with their middle linebacker having 25 tackles.”

The Cardinals went 10-6 in Arians’ first season. Last year, they started 9-1 before an injury to Palmer sent the team in a downward spiral. The Cardinals were 11-5 and, with a third-string quarterback, lost a wild card playoff game at Carolina. Arians won his second coach of the year award.

Atlanta’s Justin Durant and Mike Person sidelined for game against New Orleans

The Atlanta Falcons will be without linebacker Justin Durant and center Mike Person for Thursday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Durant (elbow) and Person (ankle) were both ruled out after missing a short week of practice for the Falcons (5-0). Durant will be missing his second straight game.

James Stone gets his first start of the season at center, always a crucial position for the visiting team in the raucous Superdome.

Star receiver Julio Jones is expected to play despite lingering hamstring and toe issues. He took part in Wednesday’s light workout before the team left for New Orleans.

Jones is listed as probable along with running back Devonta Freeman (toe) and receiver Leonard Hankerson (ribs), who both participated fully in the final practice heading into the game.

Justin Tuck’s injury appears serious for Oakland

Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio says the MRI on defensive end Justin Tuck’s injured shoulder is “not good.”

Del Rio did not give any additional details on Tuck’s condition Wednesday and would not speculate if the injury could lead to Tuck being placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Tuck hurt the shoulder in the fourth quarter of Oakland’s 16-10 loss to Denver on Sunday.

Tuck has one sack and seven tackles through five games.

Patriots’ offensive lineman Nate Solder misses practice

New England Patriots offensive lineman Nate Solder was missing from practice on Wednesday, three days after he left the game against the Dallas Cowboys with an arm injury.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined to comment on Solder, referring reporters to the practice report due out later Wednesday. The report said Solder did not practice.

As the left tackle, Solder was responsible for protecting quarterback Tom Brady’s blindside. Marcus Cannon is next on the depth chart at the position.

The defending Super Bowl champions are 4-0 heading into Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Indianapolis re-signs running back Ahmad Bradshaw

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indianapolis reinforced its ground game Wednesday by re-signing running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

Bradshaw spent the past two seasons with the Colts but finished both years on injured reserve. He played a key role in last season’s five-game winning streak then broke his left leg in a 42-20 loss to New England in November. The teams meet again Sunday.

Bradshaw finished 2014 with 90 carries for 425 yards and two TDs and led all NFL running backs with six TD catches.

In May, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in May. Bradshaw has already served a one-game suspension, making him eligible to play against the Patriots (4-0). Indy (3-2) also put running back Tyler Varga on injured reserve with a concussion.

Steelers’ Cam Heyward says he’s been fined for honoring his father

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward says he was fined by the NFL for paying tribute to his late father.

Heyward tweeted on Wednesday that the league penalized him for writing “Iron Head” on his eye black during a game. Heyward’s father, Craig, spent a decade as a running back in the NFL and went by the nickname “Ironhead” for his physical style of play. Craig Heyward died in 2006 at the age of 39 following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Heyward tweeted “Got fined for honoring my Dad who bravely fought cancer on my eye black. (hash)NeverGiveUp (hash)CancerSucks”

Redskins’ DeSean Jackson might return against Jets

Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson could return from his hamstring injury to face the New York Jets on Sunday.

Washington coach Jay Gruden says Jackson is getting “very, very close,” and at the latest should play the following weekend against Tampa Bay.

Along with Jackson, left tackle Trent Williams (spine) and running back Matt Jones (big toe) were among the players limited in practice on Wednesday.

Jackson sustained a left hamstring strain early in Washington’s Week 1 loss against Miami. He was trying to catch Kirk Cousins’ deep throw to the right sideline.

Gruden says the three-time Pro Bowl player “needs to be 100 percent” when he returns.

Andrew Luck participates in all throwing drills during practice

Andrew Luck is starting to look like his old self after missing the last two games with a sore right throwing shoulder.

The Colts quarterback was dressed in pads and participated in all of the throwing drills during the early portion of Wednesday’s practice, which is open to the media. It is the first time since Indy’s 35-33 victory at Tennessee on Sept. 27 that outsiders actually saw Luck making intermediate and long throws.

That’s an encouraging sign for Indy (3-2), which hopes to have Luck back for Sunday night’s showdown against defending Super Bowl champing New England (4-0).

NFL says Houston, Jacksonville properly handled concussin protocol

Houston’s Arian Foster and Jacksonville’s Bernard Pierce both were on the field with potential head trauma in games last week.

The Texans running back returned to play on his own before the team’s medical staff could evaluate him. The Jaguars running back showed no symptoms of a concussion until he attempted a block instead of trying to make a tackle on the punt unit.

The NFL said Wednesday both teams properly handled the concussion protocol once they had the opportunity to do so or suspected possible head trauma.

Houston’s medical staff, including the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, was preparing to evaluate Foster when he left the bench and ran back onto the field for two plays.

After that, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “the player was subsequently … escorted into the locker room, where medical staff conducted an evaluation in accordance with the concussion protocol. The medical staff cleared him to play and he returned to the field.”

Cleveland’s Josh McCown practices with sore left ankle

Browns starting quarterback Josh McCown is practicing on a sore left ankle he injured in the closing minutes of a record-setting performance at Baltimore.

McCown got hurt when his ankle was rolled up on during overtime Sunday. Browns coach Mike Pettine said McCown is sore, but the 36-year-old will “be out there” at practice Wednesday as the Browns prepare to host the Denver Broncos, who have the NFL’s top-ranked defense.

Pettine said the Browns may scale back McCown’s number of snaps in practice.

McCown passed for a franchise regular-season record 457 yards and two touchdowns in Cleveland’s 33-30 win. He also ran for a score, threw for a 2-point conversion and helped Cleveland win in Baltimore for the first time since 2007.

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