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Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll says Russell Wilson ‘in good spirits,’ helping Geno Smith prepare for starting role

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RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said quarterback Russell Wilson is “in good spirits” as he embraces his new role, which is to help Geno Smith prepare to start in his absence.

As for how long Smith will have to quarterback the Seahawks, Carroll wouldn’t give any estimate on when the team thinks Wilson can return from finger surgery.

Life without Wilson officially began Monday as the Seahawks held a 30-minute practice, which is standard coming off a Thursday night game. It marked the first time in Wilson’s nine-plus NFL seasons that he missed a practice because of an injury. He watched while wearing a bandage over the middle finger on his throwing hand, which was surgically repaired on Friday after he suffered a tendon rupture and a fracture-dislocation the night before in Seattle’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

“Russ had a very successful surgery and we’re really happy with all the reports and we don’t have any timelines for you at all right now,” Carroll said. “I know that’s all you want to hear. But we don’t have anything like that. But he’s in really good spirits and really active today as much as he can be around us and all that. Really happy for the results for the initial part of it.”

Carroll said there was no choice for Wilson but to have surgery, and declined to give a timeline on his return when pressed. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the team believes he has a realistic chance to make it back in four weeks.

Seattle plays the Steelers, the Saints and the Jaguars over the next three weeks, before its bye.

Carroll said Wilson will remain with the team while rehabbing. Asked if Wilson will be placed on injured reserve — which would require him to miss at least three games — Carroll said, “We’ll see. That’s an option.”

The Seahawks will have to make some sort of move at quarterback because Smith is the only healthy one they have on their 53-man roster. Jake Luton, a second-year player, spent the first three games on their 53-man roster as a game-day inactive and has been on their practice squad since.

Carroll called it “a real advantage” for Smith to be in his third season with the Seahawks. Before replacing Wilson in the fourth quarter Thursday night, Smith’s only action with Seattle outside of preseason came in mop-up duty. He has made 31 starts since entering the NFL in 2013, but none since 2017.

“He’s been through everything that we’ve done, he’s gone every step of the way with Russ,” Carroll said. “They have been just shoulder to shoulder through all of the process. He’s been a great help for Russ, he’s been a great sounding board for Russ. He’s just been an asset.”

Carroll said Wilson knows it’s now his job “to help Geno and get him ready.”

“Imagine how if he can figure out a way how he can compete at that, he’s doing it,” Carroll said. “So he’s already starting to listen to the game plan, he’s figuring out where it fits and how it’s going to go. He’s going to prepare just like he was playing. His plan is to stay as sharp and as fresh as he possibly can.”

Carroll said linebacker Bobby Wagner suffered a bruised knee against the Rams but gave no firm indication on his status. He said running back Chris Carson made a “big turn” over the weekend in the right direction after missing that game with a neck injury, “so we’ll see how it goes.”

The Seahawks were not required to provide a report detailing participation in Monday’s practice. Carson and Wagner were standing off to the side and not wearing helmets during the period that was open to reporters.

The team activated tight end Gerald Everett off COVID-19 reserve and designated center Ethan Pocic to practice. They have 21 days to activate Pocic off injured reserve.

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to have surgery, expected to miss four months, source says

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers will be without one of their most reliable receivers the rest of the season.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster dislocated a shoulder on Sunday and is undergoing surgery later this week that is expected to sideline him about four months, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Smith-Schuster, who signed a one-year deal to return to the Steelers in free agency, lowered his right shoulder and took a hard, low hit from Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson on a jet sweep in the second quarter of Sunday’s 27-19 victory.

He got up slowly and was quickly assisted by Steelers medical personnel, who helped him off the field while he appeared to be in excruciating pain. After a brief check of his shoulder on the sideline, Smith-Schuster immediately went to the locker room, bypassing the blue injury tent. He went to the hospital for further evaluation, coach Mike Tomlin said after the game.

“It’s tough seeing him in that type of pain, and that’s for anybody on the field, it’s tough seeing somebody get hurt that’s a key player to the offense,” wide receiver Diontae Johnson said Monday. “Just got to rally around him and just be there for him off the field.”

Smith-Schuster ranks fourth on the team in targets and receptions behind Najee Harris, Johnson and Chase Claypool. But throughout his career, Smith-Schuster has been a reliable third-down weapon for Ben Roethlisberger, and he has earned a reputation for being a gritty, tough player.

Smith-Schuster, 24, has 323 receptions for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns in 63 games played over five seasons. After a nine-touchdown 2020 season, Smith-Schuster has just one — a rushing score — this season. The shoulder injury is the second in-game injury he sustained this year. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, he sustained a rib injury that limited him, though it didn’t cause him to miss a game.

The loss of Smith-Schuster is a hit to a wide receivers room that hasn’t had a full complement of healthy players since Pittsburgh’s Week 1 win against the Buffalo Bills. Every receiver who made the roster after training camp — with the exception of Ray-Ray McCloud — has missed game time with an injury.

Even before Smith-Schuster’s injury, the Steelers were down a receiver with James Washington inactive due to a groin injury. The Steelers already signed practice squad receiver Cody White, opting to sign him to the 53-man before Sunday’s game rather than temporarily elevating him to the active roster.

“Injuries are going to happen,” Johnson said. “And it’s next man up, so Ray-Ray’s gotta step up, and that’s how it’s always been — one person goes down, somebody got to step in, and everybody is capable of [contributing to the offense].

“We are still going to go out there and play for JuJu. We still go out there and do our thing Sundays and get ready, for this week, too.”

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Jon Gruden resigns as Las Vegas Raiders head coach

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Jon Gruden has resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders following reports that emails he wrote over a 10-year period included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.

“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” Gruden said in a statement Monday night. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Raiders owner Marc Davis released a short statement saying he has accepted Gruden’s resignation. Assistant coach Rich Bisaccia is expected to replace Gruden as the team’s interim head coach, ESPN’s Suzy Kolber reported.

The resignation came shortly after the New York Times reported that Gruden used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails during a seven-year period. That report came days after 10-year-old emails from Gruden surfaced that included a racial comment about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith as well as a vulgar criticism of commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to The Times, Gruden sent emails to Bruce Allen, then the president of the Washington Football Team, and others during a seven-year period that ended in 2018.

Gruden emailed Allen that Goodell should not have pressured then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers,” referring to former defensive end Michael Sam, a gay player drafted in 2014, according to The Times. The Times also reported that Gruden used an anti-gay slur in several instances while referring to Goodell, and used offensive language to describe some owners, coaches and media members who cover the league.

Gruden was employed by ESPN as the lead analyst for Monday Night Football at the time he sent the emails that are now under review.

“The comments are clearly repugnant under any circumstance,” ESPN said in a statement.

Gruden’s emails also included harsh language for a handful of team owners involved in the 2011 labor disagreement that led to a lockout at the time. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Gruden, in an email to Allen, said Smith had “lips the size of michellin tires,” with the newspaper saying it had reviewed the email in question.

Gruden told ESPN that he routinely used the term “rubber lips” to “refer to a guy I catch as lying … he can’t spit it out.”

“I’m ashamed I insulted De Smith. I never had a racial thought when I used it,” Gruden told ESPN. “I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.”

The emails came to light during the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct with Washington, as “the league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation,” according to NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy. Senior league executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including the one the Journal reported was written by Gruden to Allen. The NFL sent pertinent emails to the Raiders for review.

Gruden, 58, became the Raiders head coach in 2018, agreeing to a 10-year contract worth a reported $100 million.

The Raiders, off to a 3-1 start before hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday, have gone 22-30 under Gruden this time around after he initially coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and beat his former team in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Raiders have had one winning season and playoff appearance since, in 2016.

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Jon Gruden used anti-gay, misogynistic language in emails over 7-year period

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Jon Gruden frequently used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails during the seven-year period before he was hired as coach of the Raiders, The New York Times reported Monday night, saying it has reviewed the emails.

The NFL sent the Raiders additional Gruden emails to review, on top of the one about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith that surfaced last week, and others Gruden recently confirmed to ESPN, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.

According to The Times, Gruden sent emails to Bruce Allen, then the president of the Washington Football Team, and others during a seven-year period that ended in 2018.

Gruden emailed Allen that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should not have pressured then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers,” referring to former defensive end Michael Sam, a gay player drafted in 2014, according to The Times. The Times also reported that Gruden used an anti-gay slur in several instances while referring to Goodell, and used offensive language to describe some owners, coaches and media members who cover the league.

Gruden also denounced the emergence of women as referees in his emails, according to The Times, and said that safety Eric Reid, who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, should be fired. In 2017, after being sent an article link about NFL players seeking the commissioner’s support in their efforts to promote racial equality and criminal justice reform, Gruden replied, in reference to Goodell: “He needs to hide in his concussion protocol tent.”

Gruden was employed by ESPN as the lead analyst for Monday Night Football at the time he sent the emails that were under review.

“The comments are clearly repugnant under any circumstance,” ESPN said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday afternoon that one of Gruden’s emails from 2011 included a racist comment in reference to Smith. Gruden, who had given his players a heads-up Friday morning that the Journal’s report would be coming out, apologized, saying he was “ashamed I insulted De Smith” and added that he “never had a racial thought” when he sent the email.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement on Friday after the Journal’s story broke, calling the content of Gruden’s email to Smith “disturbing” and “not what the Raiders stand for,” while league spokesman Brian McCarthy condemned the email and said it was “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”

Gruden’s emails came to light during the NFL’s investigation of workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team, as “the league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation,” according to McCarthy. Senior league executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including ones between Gruden and Allen. The NFL sent pertinent emails to the Raiders for review.

Gruden, speaking to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen over the weekend, acknowledged disparaging Goodell with a vulgar description in one of several emails that were among the materials provided by the league to the Raiders. Gruden and his players spoke about the emails Sunday in the wake of the Raiders’ 20-9 loss to the Bears at Allegiant Stadium, at which time Gruden again apologized for his language.

Gruden led the Raiders from 1998 until he was traded to Tampa Bay after the 2001 season. He immediately led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title — against the Raiders.

He lasted through the 2008 season in Tampa before being fired, then headed to the Monday Night Football booth.

The Raiders, then in Oakland, rehired Gruden in 2018 with a 10-year, $100 million contract. The team moved to Las Vegas last year and has not made the playoffs since his return. The Raiders are 3-2 in 2021.

ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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