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Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory removed from Commissioner’s Exempt list, eligible to play Sunday

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will be available to play Sunday against the Washington Football Team now that he has been removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt list.

Gregory, who had been on the list since being reinstated by the NFL in September, has not played in a game since the 2018 divisional-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams because of an indefinite suspension. He has been able to work out and take part in meetings since reinstatement and he began practicing two weeks ago.

His return comes at a good time for a pass rush that has struggled for most of the season, and last week teammates and coaches said Gregory performed exceptionally well in practice. Gregory, the Cowboys’ 2015 second-round pick, had six sacks in 2018, which was second-best on the defense.

A number of violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy led to multiple suspensions for Gregory, who has played in just 28 of a potential 86 career games. Upon his reinstatement, the Cowboys signed him to a one-year extension through 2021 that included a $200,000 signing bonus.

The Cowboys waived defensive back Saivion Smith and intend to re-sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Wide receiver Ventell Bryant, who had been dealing with a knee injury, was waived off injured reserve.

Gregory’s return could help a defense that is on pace to allow a record 581 points. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returned in Monday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals from a four-game absence because of a broken collarbone. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Lee (pelvis) are also eligible to return from injured reserve but with a short work week to get ready to play Washington, they could be held out at least one more week.

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Josh Gordon provides comfy safety blanket to Seahawks’ WR corps – Seattle Seahawks Blog

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RENTON, Wash. — The day before his latest suspension was announced last December, Josh Gordon went full extension to haul in a 58-yard pass from Russell Wilson. His only catch of the game set up a touchdown that helped the Seattle Seahawks beat the Carolina Panthers.

Gordon’s contribution to that win and the six catches he made in his other four games with Seattle might be instructive when it comes to expectations now that he’s being conditionally reinstated by the NFL for this season’s final two weeks.

The Seahawks (8-3) merely need Gordon to add to an already-strong wide receiver corps wherever he can. As in, a big play here and there as opposed to the kind of incredible performances DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have taken turns delivering this season.

Because barring a major injury between now and when he is eligible to rejoin the team in earnest, Gordon will in all likelihood be either Seattle’s fourth — maybe third — option behind Metcalf (who leads the NFL in receiving) and Lockett (who ranks 16th). David Moore is already having a nice season in the No. 3 role (five touchdowns) ahead of rookie Freddie Swain and Penny Hart. Metcalf, Lockett and Moore rank second in combined receiving yards (2,141) this season among wide receiver trios, trailing Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson of the Panthers (2,353).

“He gives Russ another fun toy to play with,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said.

Over his five games last season, Gordon was the Seahawks’ third receiver in playing time behind Lockett and Metcalf. He never finished any of those games with more than two catches or 58 receiving yards, but several of the plays he made came in important situations. Four of his catches converted third downs, including one apiece in the fourth quarter and overtime of their Monday night win over the San Francisco 49ers. Another catch came on fourth down in a loss to the to the Los Angeles Rams.

The final tally over five games: seven catches for 139 yards.

“When you’ve got a lot of different players and different spots that the ball could go, you can’t always predetermine where the ball is gonna go,” Schottenheimer said. “But he made some big-time catches for us on third down, some big plays for us. … I think that it starts with just the timing and the training and him getting with Russ, and I think this year, we’ll be farther ahead because they’ve actually worked together. So I think you can see him get involved hopefully even faster than he did last year.”

For all of the personal struggles Gordon, 29, has had over his career — his most recent suspension was his sixth since 2013 — he made a strong impression on the Seahawks during his month and a half with the team last season. Schottenheimer noted how Gordon worked with Wilson before practice the same way Metcalf does and Greg Olsen did before the veteran tight end was injured.

That should serve Gordon well as he tries to get reintegrated almost exactly one year after previously playing.

“He was an unbelievable pro,” Schottenheimer said. “Just the way he worked. He’s got some stuff he’s got to do to catch up and get up to speed with the things we’re doing. I don’t think that will be any problem. As confident of a catcher as there is the NFL. His hands and his ability to make plays in traffic separates him.

“I remember the play against Carolina on the big post route where … Russ lays it out there, he goes and gets it and he really only gets a couple of his fingertips on it. But an unbelievable catch going to the ground.”

Gordon isn’t eligible to begin practicing until the Monday of Seattle’s Week 16 game against the Rams. He’s eligible to play in that game, but might need more than one week of practice before the team turns him loose. So it might not be until the regular-season finale or the playoffs when Gordon is back on the field.

“Hopefully he’ll be ready to play and I think also too, just to come in and be an addition to our team,” Wilson said. “We’ve got so many great guys making plays right now. So we’ve just got to stay the course and praying that he’s ready to roll.”

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Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh won’t say if Lamar Jackson will play vs. Dallas Cowboys

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to address whether reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson would play Tuesday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jackson, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving, will complete his 10-day quarantine this weekend. If Jackson is activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, that would allow him to participate in one full practice and a walk-through before facing the Cowboys.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked Thursday if Jackson would play against the Cowboys.

“I think I already answered that,” he said.

Harbaugh began his media session by saying the return of the players on the reserve/COVID-19 list is a medical decision and not a coaching one. Jackson is one of 17 players currently on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

By the weekend, the Ravens could get back 10 players off that list: Jackson, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, defensive ends Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike and Jihad Ward, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, centers Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura and long-snapper Morgan Cox.

“When the doctors clear them for practice, that’s when we’ll have them,” Harbaugh said.

Robert Griffin III, who filled in for Jackson in Wednesday’s 19-14 loss to the Steelers, left in the fourth quarter with an injured hamstring. The only healthy quarterbacks on Baltimore’s roster are Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley, who is on the practice squad.

Punter Sam Koch, the Ravens’ emergency quarterback, won’t get any reps at quarterback this week.

“We won’t need him as a backup,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens players had a day off and will return Friday for their first full practice since Nov. 20, a span of two weeks. The outbreak in Baltimore limited the team to a couple of walk-throughs. The Ravens had no positive tests Wednesday, which ended a stretch of 10 straight days with at least one player testing positive.

“We need to have some good practices and get our football sea legs under us so we can go out there and perform the way we want to,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens have lost three straight games to fall to 6-5.

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Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon reinstated for last 2 weeks

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Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon has been reinstated for the final two weeks of the 2020 season, the NFL announced.

Gordon will be allowed to begin COVID-19 testing on Friday and might join the Seahawks on Wednesday, Dec. 9, if he tests negative for the virus.

He will be permitted to take part in meetings, individual workouts and strength and conditioning, but he will not be permitted to practice, travel with the team or attend games until Monday, Dec. 21, after Seattle’s Week 15 game.

Gordon, 29, who applied for reinstatement in mid-June, re-signed with the Seahawks on a one-year deal in September.

He was suspended indefinitely in December for violations of the league’s policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. It was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

He caught seven passes for 139 yards in five games last season with the Seahawks, who claimed the one-time Pro Bowler after he was released off injured reserve by the New England Patriots in November.

Gordon missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons as a member of the Cleveland Browns and was suspended in December 2018 for violating terms of his reinstatement, which led to his missing the final three games of the season with the Patriots.

He was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season but still caught 87 passes for nine touchdowns and a league-leading 1,646 yards and was named to the All-Pro team.

Gordon has played just 63 games since he was chosen by the Browns in the 2012 supplemental draft. Overall, he has caught 247 passes for 4,252 yards — an average of 17.2 yards per catch — and 20 touchdowns.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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