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Packers sign veteran receiver Ryan Grant amid spate of injuries

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — With injuries piling up at receiver and production waning at tight end, the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday signed veteran wideout Ryan Grant and used of one of their injured reserve/designated to return spots on rookie tight end Jace Sternberger.

While Sternberger can’t play until after Week 8 per injured-reserve rules, the Packers might need Grant for this Sunday against one of his former teams, the Oakland Raiders.

Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams is in danger of missing his third straight game because of turf toe, and Geronimo Allison left Monday night’s win over the Detroit Lions because of a head and chest injury.

The Packers worked out Grant on Oct. 7, less than two weeks after he was released by the Raiders.

A fifth-round pick in 2014 by the Washington Redskins, Grant has 123 career receptions for 1,333 yards and seven touchdowns in 80 career games (64 for the Redskins, 14 for the Colts in 2018 and two this season for the Raiders).

The Packers finished Monday’s game with fifth-round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling and three former undrafted free agents — Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow and Darrius Shepherd — as their available receivers.

After Shepherd dropped a pass near the goal line that the Lions intercepted, quarterback Aaron Rodgers lobbied for Lazard, who responded with four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown — all in the fourth quarter. Previously, he had one career NFL catch.

“I’m just excited for where he could go,” head coach Matt LaFleur said of Lazard. “He’s got to now, anybody can do it one time, and that’s what we say. But now you’ve got to do it each and every time. That’s the expectation, and that’s the standard. But, again, he puts in the work, and he does a great job at practice. So I’m excited to see him put together back to back to back, and see where it goes.”

As for the tight-end spot, Sternberger won’t be eligible to play until Nov. 3 at the Chargers but can begin practicing immediately. It leaves the Packers with just one more spot for a player eligible to come off injured reserve.

For now, it appears the Packers plan to stick with veteran Jimmy Graham despite a lack of production. Graham dropped a would-be touchdown against the Lions and ranks fourth on the team with 14 catches (including two games without a catch). Against the Lions, fellow veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis was more productive (two catches for 50 yards) than Graham (two for 17 yards).

“I still have total confidence in Jimmy,” LaFleur said. “And you know it’s one of those deals I just want to make sure that he knows that all of us, we believe in him. And Jimmy’s his own worst critic at times and he can get down on himself. But I think he’s going to be ready to battle back this week and come out and put a good performance together.”

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Lions’ Trey Flowers in concussion protocol, Frank Ragnow being evaluated

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DETROIT — Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers is in the league’s concussion protocol and center Frank Ragnow is being evaluated for a concussion, Lions coach Matt Patricia said after the team’s 35-27 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Both suffered the injuries in the fourth quarter. After the game, Flowers was not allowed to speak with the media — part of the league’s policy with the protocol.

Flowers appeared to be in considerable pain as he was helped off the field but seemed to be moving OK in the locker room after the game. Ragnow was not spotted in the locker room after the game.

If the Lions were to lose Flowers for any period of time, it would be a major issue for Detroit’s already flailing defense. Flowers is tied with linebacker Devon Kennard for the team lead in sacks, with five, and has a team-best 13 quarterback hurries. Detroit is already dealing with injuries to defensive linemen Romeo Okwara and Da’Shawn Hand, both of whom were inactive Sunday, and recently placed Kevin Strong on injured reserve.

If Ragnow were to miss any time, Graham Glasgow would slide over to center and Kenny Wiggins would fill in at guard instead of rotating in as he does when all four interior offensive linemen are healthy.

The Lions also lost safety Tracy Walker to a knee injury against Dallas — a few days after he returned to practice for the first time after suffering a knee injury against the Giants on Oct. 27. Lions coach Matt Patricia didn’t know whether or not it was an aggravation of the same injury at this point.

“We had done a couple of things with him through the course of the week and just really saw everything look normal from a physical standpoint,” Patricia said. “So had a couple packages that we thought would be good for him to be in.”

Walker had told ESPN on Friday that he felt “good” after practicing for the first time and that he was just waiting for the doctors to clear him to play.

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Double pass – Patriots’ Julian Edelman throws TD pass to Phillip Dorsett

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PHILADELPHIA — Struggling in the red zone against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the New England Patriots turned to some razzle-dazzle to score their first touchdown early in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The results struck the Eagles with the suddenness of a “Golden Flash.”

At the Eagles’ 15-yard line, Tom Brady lateraled the ball to his right to receiver Julian Edelman, who had initially come in half-motion to the line of scrimmage before motioning back to the outside.

As the defense pursued Edelman, receiver Phillip Dorsett was wide open on a left-to-right post route in the middle end zone and Edelman — who played quarterback for the Kent State Golden Flashes but switched to receiver when the Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft — found him with an accurate strike.

Including the playoffs, Edelman is now 5-of-6 for 141 yards and 2 TDs as a passer.



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Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins — We need ‘someone new’ deciding PI calls

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BALTIMORE — After what appeared to be a clear instance of pass interference wasn’t called even after a replay review, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins called for action by the NFL.

In the first quarter of the Texans’ 41-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, cornerback Marlon Humphrey appeared to grab Hopkins while trying to make a play in the end zone.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien challenged the play, but the no-call was upheld and Houston turned the ball over on downs.

After the game, Hopkins tweeted, “As a leader in the NFL, we need someone new in New York deciding calls.”

In the offseason, the NFL changed its rules to allow coaches to challenge pass interference penalties that were or were not called. Through the 1 p.m. ET games on Sunday, coach’s challenges for pass interference are 6-for-58 (10.3%) this year, including 2-for-37 (5.4%) since Week 4. The Jets did successfully overturn a call Sunday.

When O’Brien was asked about the non-call, he said, “I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. No idea.”

Quarterback Deshaun Watson said the play could have been a turning point in the game, but acknowledged that once the call was made and upheld, the Texans needed to find a way to move on from it.

“Everyone saw it,” Watson said. The guy wrapped him around. But they didn’t make that call. You’ve got to live with it. You can’t really dwell on it. It definitely could have been a changing point of the game. A momentum switch. But it’s just one of those calls that, it didn’t go our way, and we’ve got to continue to push forward.”

In Week 6 against the Chiefs, O’Brien challenged a non-call of pass interference against tight end Travis Kelce; that non-call was also upheld.



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