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Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes practices in limited capacity, remains in concussion protocol

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday, taking another step to possibly clearing the concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills.

“He’s done well up to this point,” coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes, who remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol after being knocked out of last week’s divisional-round win over the Cleveland Browns. “Today [Mahomes was allowed to do] limited work and no contact. That’s kind of what we’re doing on Wednesday, so this fit in well.”

Mahomes was listed as a full participant when the Chiefs initially released their practice report on Wednesday. The team later revised his status to limited, however, saying it is not allowed to list him as full because he remains in the concussion protocol.

Reid didn’t say what phase Mahomes is in of the five-step process to be cleared to play.

Mahomes was replaced in the third quarter of Sunday’s 22-17 victory over the Browns by veteran Chad Henne, who would start against the Bills if Mahomes is unable to play.

Pro Bowl Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White said Wednesday that Buffalo expects to be facing Mahomes on Sunday.

“This is the AFC championship, this is the game to go to the Super Bowl; we know all their best players are going to be out there. We’re preparing for Mahomes to be there, which we know he will,” White said.

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip and ankle) and starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland (shoulder/concussion) were listed as limited practice participants Wednesday. Watkins and Edwards-Helaire both were inactive for the Chiefs’ victory over Cleveland. Breeland, like Mahomes, is in the concussion protocol.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. turns Super Bowl LV taunting fine into positive with donation to school

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Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is donating $7,815, the amount he was fined for taunting the Kansas City ChiefsTyreek Hill in Super Bowl LV, to support the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Youth Leadership Program at Tampa’s Young Middle Magnet School.

The Buccaneers Foundation, in turn, is matching his donation, making the donation $15,630 total to the school.

“Since it got a lot of media attention, it was out there and I wanted to just spin it in a way to make it positive,” Winfield told the team’s website.

Winfield has been a mentor to students through the program, part of the Buccaneers’ social justice initiative. After Winfield was fined, fans asked if they could pay the fine but he is encouraging them to donate to the school instead.

“Our district is deeply appreciative, not only for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but also Antoine Winfield, Jr. for this monetary donation that will make a strong impact at Young Middle Magnet,” superintendent Addison Davis said, according to the team’s website. “Taking an unfortunate situation and turning it into a positive one is the measure of a true champion, and a wonderful example for our students and entire community.”

Winfield received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for making a peace sign in Hill’s face as the Chiefs receiver was getting up off the field in the fourth quarter with the Buccaneers comfortably ahead.

After the Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory, Winfield told reporters he was only returning the favor to Hill, who he said made a similar gesture to him during the regular season in a game the Chiefs won 27-24. Hill scored three touchdowns and had 269 yards receiving on 13 receptions in that game but was held to seven catches, 73 yards and no touchdowns in the Super Bowl.

“The taunting, man it’s something I had to do. When we played them earlier, Hill went off on us. He backflipped right in front of my face and gave me the peace sign. So, it was only right that I gave him the peace sign right back to him. It felt amazing to be able to do that,” he told reporters.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul having surgery on left knee

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is undergoing a surgical procedure on his left knee on Wednesday, he posted on social media.

The three-time Pro Bowler posted news of the procedure, which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, on his Instagram Story.

In July, Pierre-Paul underwent arthroscopic surgery on the same knee to clean up cartilage that was causing discomfort.

He was on the injury report throughout the 2020 season with the knee injury, even missing a practice leading up to the Super Bowl, but he did not miss a game this season.

He finished the 2020 season with a team-leading 9.5 sacks and a career-high 4 forced fumbles, with 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. His two sacks played a key role in defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.

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Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger to return in 2021, team president Art Rooney II says

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PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger back, and he wants to return.

Team president Art Rooney II acknowledged the mutual desire between the Steelers and their longtime quarterback in a statement Wednesday morning.

“Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting” Rooney said. “We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship. We both understand the next step is to work out Ben’s contract situation.”

The final year of Roethlisberger’s current deal comes with a $41.2 million cap hit, though a contract restructure and extension could lower that by a maximum of about $14 million.

Roethlisberger, who turns 39 next week, also could opt to take a pay cut to the veteran minimum, which would put his cap hit just over $23 million.

In a statement to NFL Network on Tuesday night, Roethlisberger’s agent Ryan Tollner said “we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible.”

Rooney’s statement is the most committal the Steelers have been toward bringing the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback back for at least one more season.

General manager Kevin Colbert was lukewarm last week in his assessment of Roethlisberger’s status with the team, saying “hopefully, there is a way we could try and figure out and do what’s best for the organization and do what’s best for Ben.”

Rooney echoed some of Colbert’s sentiments in Wednesday’s statement, saying that the sides still have to resolve Roethlisberger’s contract situation — something that has to be done by the open of the new league year on March 17.



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