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Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (thumb) expected to play Thursday vs. Eagles

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who suffered a thumb injury to his right throwing hand in the Bucs’ 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins Sunday, is expected to play through the injury when the team travels to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.

Brady did not give specifics on the injury, which he sustained early on in the game before throwing for five touchdowns and 411 yards, but he had previously played through a thumb laceration that required 12 stitches in the AFC Championship Game after the 2017 season.

“He went through the full practice,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Monday. “Had we had a full-speed practice, he probably would have limited his throwing. But he looks like he’ll be fine Thursday.”

Safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who missed last week due to a concussion, returned to practice Monday for the first time since suffering the injury. There’s a possibility he will play Thursday night if he can clear the concussion protocol. The protocol does allow players some limited action in practice toward the later portion of the five-step process.

“He was out there today doing more cognitive stuff — doing the checks and things like that,” Arians said. “So yeah, I think he can [clear the protocol]. Will he? I don’t know yet. We’ll see how this goes.”

As for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has missed the past two games with fractured ribs, Arians said, “It will be very, very close this week, so we’ll see.” Gronkowski has not returned to practice but has been doing some work on his own.

Arians said that cornerback Carlton Davis, who was placed on injured reserve with a quad injury after Week 4, “does not look like he’ll need surgery, but we have no clue how long this is gonna be.” Arians also said that cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who was placed on injured reserve with a dislocated elbow after Week 1, is “still a few weeks off.”

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Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan carted off on stretcher

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan was carted off the field on a stretcher in the second quarter of Monday’s 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Titans wide receiver Julio Jones, who made an amazing 43-yard catch of a ball that bounced off Micah Hyde‘s helmet, also was ruled out late in the game with a hamstring injury. He had missed the previous two games.

Lewan laid on the ground as trainers came out to the field along with head coach Mike Vrabel. Lewan’s head appeared to collide with a Bills defender as he went down in a pile following a Derrick Henry run in the red zone. The trainers quickly determined that a cart was needed after examining Lewan.

Lewan gave a thumbs-up as he was taken off the field. He was being evaluated for a concussion and had movement in all of his extremities.

Vrabel did not give an update on Lewan or Jones after the contest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay wishes communication with Jared Goff was better ahead of trade to Detroit Lions

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Nearly nine months after the Los Angeles Rams agreed to trade Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions, and with a pending reunion at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, coach Sean McVay expressed regret about how the deal went down with his former quarterback.

“Yes, I wish there was better, clearer communication,” McVay said Monday. “To say that it was perfectly handled on my end, I wouldn’t be totally accurate in that. I’ll never claim to be perfect, but I will try to learn from some things that I can do better, and I think that was one of them without a doubt.”

The Rams are 5-1 and heavily favorited against the 0-6 Detroit Lions in the Week 7 matchup, but plenty of intrigue surrounds the game as McVay and Goff prepare to face off after a conflicted ending to their four-year run.

“I think he’ll be received well,” McVay said about Goff’s return to L.A., where he spent five seasons after the Rams traded up 15 spots to select him first overall in 2016. “I think the L.A. fans and I think the Rams fans know what a great job he had done and how much — I think how much he meant to the Rams organization both as a football player and also the community.”

After McVay was hired in 2017, he and Goff won two division titles and an NFC championship. However, following a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams offensive production declined, and they missed the 2019 playoffs.

Following a divisional playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers last season, Goff’s status as Rams starting quarterback appeared in question when neither McVay nor general manager Les Snead commited to him. Days earlier, quarterback Matthew Stafford requested a trade from the Lions, and a chance run-in between Stafford and McVay — both were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — marked the end of Goff with the Rams, as he was traded along with two first-round picks and a third-rounder to the Lions in exchange for Stafford.

In the aftermath, Goff told reporters that McVay and the Rams had no contact with him from the time the season ended to when he received the phone call about the trade. Goff claimed he was blindsided by the move.

“You don’t want to catch guys off guard,” McVay said. “It came together a lot faster than anybody anticipated, but yeah, of course I think that any time that tough decisions and things like that where people are affected, you always want to be as understanding, as empathetic as possible, think about it through the other person’s lens and there’s certainly things that I know I would do it a little bit differently if — when those situations arise in the future.”

McVay insisted Monday that there was no tipping point in his relationship with Goff and that the chance to acquire Stafford was too great to pass.

“That was why that decision was made and that was why things came together as quickly as they did because we felt like it was a rare opportunity to acquire a player of Matthew’s caliber,” McVay said. “Those opportunities just don’t come up often.”

Stafford has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $135 million deal. In a short period, he has ignited the offense and has the Rams among the Super Bowl favorites.

Stafford has passed for 16 touchdowns, which ranks tied for third in the NFL with the Dallas CowboysDak Prescott and behind the Kansas City ChiefsPatrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay BuccaneersTom Brady. They are the most by any quarterback through his first six games with a team in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Stafford said he would treat Sunday’s reunion with the Lions “just like every other game,” though he added that there likely would be an extended period of greetings with friends, former teammates and, if in attendance, the Ford family before kickoff.

McVay said he would talk to Stafford about facing his former team, but expected the 13th-year quarterback to handle it as he would any other game.

“He’s so impressive in terms of his weekly rhythm and his consistency through these first six weeks,” McVay said. “He’s so steady and even-keeled, I don’t think he’ll make it bigger than what it is.”

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Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll says follow-up tests on injured Darrell Taylor come back clear

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Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that pass-rusher Darrell Taylor appears to have avoided a serious injury after being stretchered off the field during Sunday night’s overtime loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

Carroll’s comments were based on the results of an MRI Taylor had Monday following a CT scan Sunday night.

“A really, really positive report,” Carroll said. “His MRI stuff was clear. His CT scan stuff was clear. He does not have a neck injury. He got jammed pretty good. We got to wait and see what it’s like. It may be a little bit more in his shoulder even as we figure it out.”

Carroll said it’s not out of the question that Taylor plays when the Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

“We’ll see how that goes,” Carroll said. “He’s got to have a good week to do that. I haven’t talked to Darrell since the MRI stuff came back. I talked to him last night … and he was very positive about it and all that. So we’ll see what happens. But a really, really good report, and I know a lot of people were really upset about that (Taylor being hurt) for good reason. Whenever they take a guy off like that, the threat is so huge. Anyway, he came out great, so we’ll hope for the best and he may have a chance to go this week.”

Taylor was injured in the fourth quarter and remained near midfield for several minutes before he was immobilized on a stretcher, with his helmet still on and his face mask removed. Both teams circled around Taylor as he received medical attention.

He had movement in his extremities and flew back to Seattle with the team. Carroll said on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show that Taylor wanted to get up while he was was being tended to and that he was upset at having to be taken off the field on a stretcher.

Taylor, a second-round draft pick last year out of Tennessee, missed his rookie season with a leg injury that dated back to his final college season. He has been Seattle’s best pass-rusher this season, leading the team with four sacks in the first five games. He had the Seahawks’ only official QB hit Sunday night.

The Seahawks also lost running back Alex Collins and guard Damien Lewis to injuries Sunday. Carroll said Collins took separate hits on his hip and glute and Lewis suffered an AC joint sprain.

Carroll said Monday that it’s not out of the question that Collins can return this week, but the Seahawks won’t know his status for a couple more days.

“He got beat on pretty good,” Carroll said. “Cramped up a little bit, too. He had a little bit of everything happen … he just got a lot of wear and tear last night. He played a great football game for us and he was really tough. We’ll see what happens, but he didn’t have a significant injury.”

Collins ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He started for the second straight week in place of Chris Carson, who was placed on injured reserve Friday with a neck injury. Carson has to spend at least two more games on IR, as does quarterback Russell Wilson.

Carroll has no estimate on when Carson will be back. Asked if Wilson can return after Seattle’s Week 9 bye from finger surgery, Carroll said: “I don’t know that … the medical side of this thing. But I know Russell, and if it’s possible, it’s going to happen. If it’s possible, it’ll happen.”

Running back Rashaad Penny (calf) is returning off IR this week, per Carroll.

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