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Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (knee) expected to play vs. Baltimore Ravens



Los Angeles Chargers star wide receiver Mike Williams is expected to play Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens barring a pregame setback with his knee injury, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Williams is listed as questionable after missing practice this week. Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Williams’ knee had some swelling after last Sunday’s 47-42 win over the visiting Cleveland Browns.

“We just tried to be careful with him this week at the beginning of the week, make sure that he’s feeling his best for Sunday,” Staley said.

Williams has 31 catches for 571 yards this season. He leads the league in touchdown receptions with six.

Both the Chargers and Ravens head into Sunday’s game at 4-1 and leading their respective divisions.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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San Francisco 49ers poised to have Jimmy Garoppolo, Fred Warner and Nick Bosa against Green Bay Packers



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After a trio of injury scares to key players in the past week, the San Francisco 49ers are likely to have all three of those players available for Saturday night’s NFC divisional-round showdown with the Green Bay Packers.

Neither linebacker Fred Warner nor quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo appeared on Thursday’s injury report, and defensive end Nick Bosa is close to being back, drawing a questionable tag.

That means Warner’s sprained right ankle is feeling better and Garoppolo will play through a sprained right shoulder and thumb. Bosa has another step to clear to get through concussion protocol, but coach Kyle Shanahan expressed optimism that will happen.

“It’s looking good,” Shanahan said Thursday.

Throughout the week, the Niners expressed confidence that all three players would be able to play in Green Bay, but Bosa’s status was the most up in the air given the unpredictable nature of head injuries.

Bosa suffered the injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s win against the Dallas Cowboys when teammate D.J. Jones accidentally hit him in the helmet with his knee as they converged on quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Niners played the rest of that game without Bosa. He was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, a sign he has been trending in the right direction.

“He’s come along well going through the NFL protocol there,” defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said Wednesday. “Definitely need him out there.”

Garoppolo’s injury was a surprise addition on Monday when Shanahan announced he suffered a “slightly” sprained right throwing shoulder in the Dallas game. That was on top of the torn ligament in his right thumb he was already managing.

On Tuesday, Garoppolo indicated he would be good to go against the Packers but made no guarantees, offering only that he “would feel it out throughout the week.” Garoppolo was limited in Tuesday’s light practice but was listed as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

Garoppolo acknowledged the shoulder issue does affect his ability to throw, much like the thumb injury, but he doesn’t intend to let either bother him too much.

“It’s playoff football,” Garoppolo said. “We know what time it is and there ain’t no time to rest right now.”

After spraining his right ankle with a little less than nine minutes left against the Cowboys, Warner wasted little time offering reassurances that he would be OK.

He had tests done on his ankle Monday morning, and once those revealed it was not a high ankle sprain, he was confident that he’d be able to play against the Packers. He took to Twitter soon after to proclaim as such and, like Garoppolo, was limited on Tuesday before full practices Wednesday and Thursday.

“The fact that the MRI results came back great, it was good news for sure,” Warner said. “The way I’ve been feeling gives me a lot of confidence for Saturday.”

Elsewhere on the Niners injury report, cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and defensive end Jordan Willis are also listed as questionable. For the second week in a row, nobody on the active roster has been designated as out or doubtful leading into the weekend.

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Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown says ‘there’s nothing wrong with my mental health’ in wake of sideline outburst



TAMPA, Fla. — Former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown said his recent sideline outburst against the New York Jets that resulted in his dismissal from the Buccaneers, and previous incidents he’s been involved in have been miscategorized as “mental health issues.”

In a preview of an episode of “I Am Athlete,” that will be posted in full on Jan. 24, Brown tells former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall that he’s not suffering from mental health issues.

“Everyone in the world got a different form of reactions of what happened to me. And it’s all based upon where you from, how you feel and no one really gonna know that regardless of who you is,” Brown said. “The thing with football players is mental health and CTE is this: These guys are willing to do whatever it take to make some obligated gain. But in the midst of those gains, along that journey, they’re mistreated, there’s a lot of stuff that went on that may not have been handled right.

“And then you started your career on a high. It’s like a rollercoaster. You go up, and then as soon as it bout to go down, everyone leave. … If we all players and we all saying we care about mental health, why every time something happens bad or someone reacts, ‘Aw, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with his mental health,'” Brown asked. “There’s nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me, ‘Get the f— out of here.’ I’m not passive-aggressive.”

Brown and his attorney Sean Burstyn have claimed that the Bucs attempted to mislabel his outburst as a mental health issue and wanted Brown to receive counseling, when Brown claims his ankle was too injured to play on, and that Arians told him to leave the field.

Since his release by the Buccaneers earlier this month, Brown has shifted his focus to his music career and rehabbing his ankle, which will require surgery. He indicated he does want to continue playing football next year. He released a music single, “Pit Not the Palace.” He appeared courtside for a Brooklyn Nets-Memphis Grizzlies game two weeks ago. He’s taken part in photo shoots and has linked up with pals Kanye West, Floyd Mayweather and Madonna.

In the past though, he has acknowledged seeking mental health treatment. His father Eddie Brown told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Brown was undergoing therapy after his release by the New England Patriots in 2019, which coincided with two sexual assault allegations.

Brown has also indicated that he supports mental health treatment. In an interview with ESPN in February 2020, Brown was asked whether he needed mental health help, to which he responded, “We all need mental help.”

At that time, the circumstances of Brown’s life were different. He’d been arrested and charged with felony burglary and battery charges. The mother of three of his children, Chelsie Kyriss, posted on Instagram at the time that her and their children were focused on building a new life “free from any impulsive, reckless and unhealthy” behaviors.” She added, “My hope is that Anotonio [sic] will get help and seek the mental health treatment that he so desperately needs so that he can be the father all of his children need and deserve.”

He and Kyriss reached reconciliation and she and their children were on-hand when Brown and the Bucs defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Brown had also underwent anger management counseling and his probation was terminated one year early for good behavior. On numerous occasions before his departure from the Bucs, both general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians described him as a “model citizen.”

Arians said of his departure, “Yeah, it was very hard. I wish him well. I hope, if he needs help, [that he] gets some. It’s very hard because I do care about him.”

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Green Bay Packers expected to have healthy Randall Cobb; statuses of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, David Bakhtiari less promising



GREEN BAY, Wis. — The last two times the Green Bay Packers were in the playoffs, Randall Cobb had to watch from his couch.

The Packers had moved on from the receiver following the 2018 season, and he spent the next two years with non-playoff teams Dallas in 2019 and Houston in 2020.

When he tore multiple muscles in his abdomen as he caught a touchdown pass 12 weeks into his return to Green Bay this season, he was determined not to be a spectator again. Sure enough, Cobb is expected to return for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

However, even with Cobb’s return, the Packers’ receiving corps may not be at full strength.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was listed as doubtful because of the back injury he suffered in the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions. He practiced on Tuesday but then was a nonparticipant the rest of the week.

Cobb said he could have played two weeks ago at Detroit, about five weeks after he underwent surgery.

“The past four years I’ve been watching the playoffs from the couch,” Cobb said, counting the 2017 and ’18 seasons that the Packers missed the postseason. “I haven’t seen the playoffs since 2016, so I’m really excited for the opportunity to be out there and help contribute.”

Cobb, who returned to Green Bay last summer via trade from the Texans at the request of Rodgers, said the low point in his career was the 2019 NFC Championship Game, when the Packers played the 49ers. He said he watched the game alone and didn’t even want his wife, Aiyda, with him during it.

“When I got drafted here it was right after the Super Bowl,” Cobb said of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win. “We went 15-1, I thought we were going that year. Thought we were going in ’14. Obviously ’16, the loss in Atlanta and I haven’t been there since then and I’ve been watching from the couch.

“It was hard. I was definitely in a dark place when they played the 49ers in San Francisco because in my mind, I’m like, ‘Man, they won the year before I got there and they won the year after I left,’ or, ‘They’re getting ready to go the year after I left, so I must’ve been the problem. It must’ve been me.’ So I was definitely in a dark place that year, but I’m just happy to be a part of it, happy to have the opportunity to contribute and to do my part.”

The Packers activated Cobb off injured reserve on Friday. They had a spot open after they released defensive tackle Kingsley Kekea day earlier. The Packers would also need spots for outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith (back) and Whitney Mercilus (biceps), who are attempting to come back from IR. Coach Matt LaFleur left that possibility as questionable.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander, who is on the roster but hasn’t played since his Week 4 shoulder injury, was listed as questionable.

There are other question marks as well.

When left tackle David Bakhtiari played the first 27 snaps of the Week 18 game against the Lions, it was believed to be a precursor to him playing full time when the playoffs started. That may not be a sure thing. Bakhtiari practiced only one day this week — the middle of three practices — and was listed as questionable.

LaFleur was vague about why or what may have happened in the days since Bakhtiari made his return in the regular-season finale after more than a year away because of ACL surgery.

“He’s working his tail off,” LaFleur said. ‘And we’ll see where he’s at.”

The Packers will have at least one of their two preferred starting tackles. LaFleur said right tackle Billy Turner, who missed the last month of the regular season with a knee injury, has been cleared to play.

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