NFL notes

New England's Tom Brady fumbles after being hit by the Buccaneers' Adarius Glanton during the third quarter of an Oct. 6 game in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers recovered the fumble. The Patriots won, 19-14. (Phelan Ebenhack/AP Photo)
New England's Tom Brady fumbles after being hit by the Buccaneers' Adarius Glanton during the third quarter of an Oct. 6 game in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers recovered the fumble. The Patriots won, 19-14. (Phelan Ebenhack/AP Photo)

Brady tells Patriots fans not to worry about his shoulder

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told New England fans not to worry about his left shoulder injury, even though it has kept him out of the team's first two practices this week.

Brady did not participate in practice on Wednesday, according to the team's injury report, although he was spotted on the field during the portion that was open to reporters. Brady was absent from the open portion of practice on Tuesday and reportedly received an MRI on his non-throwing shoulder.

Asked about the procedure, Brady said he would be on the field for Sunday's game against the New York Jets with first place in the AFC East on the line.

"I'll be there Sunday. Don't worry about that," Brady said. "I'll be there."

The 40-year-old Brady leads the NFL with 1,702 passing yards. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns with one interception and another pick-6 that was officially ruled a fumble.

He's also been sacked 16 times, more than in all 12 games he played in last year.

"It's a physical sport, so I think everyone is dealing with something," Brady said. "Everyone's running around and they're big and they're fast and they hit hard. You have bumps and bruises, but you just deal with them the best you can and try to get ready for the next week."

Brady said one reason for the extra hits he's been taking is that the team has fallen behind more than usual.

"If you have a three-touchdown lead in the third quarter, it's different. You're probably much more balanced on offense, and we've been a part of those quite a few times," he said. "If you're losing by two scores, you're just throwing it every down. You've just got no choice; they can't sack you if you're handing the ball off."

Also missing practice on Wednesday were tight end Rob Gronkowski (thigh), defensive back Eric Rowe (groin) and offensive lineman Nate Solder (not injury-related).

Jets’ Powell, Wilkerson sit out practice with injuries

It might be Elijah McGuire’s turn to step in as the New York Jets’ starting running back.

Bilal Powell sat out practice Wednesday with a strained calf after injuring during the Jets’ 17-14 win at Cleveland last Sunday. His status for New York’s game Sunday against New England is uncertain.

He started New York’s last two games in place of Matt Forte, who is dealing with turf toe. Forte was limited in practice Wednesday, which is an improvement from the last two weeks when he didn’t participate at all in team drills.

“We’ll see how it goes and it would be great to have Matt,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “Just to have his veteran presence out there when you’re going against a team that can scheme and do things. Just to have another guy that has been in your system for a while and knows it, it’s helpful.”

But if neither Powell nor Forte can go Sunday, McGuire would start against the Patriots. Travaris Cadet is the only other running back currently on the active roster. The Jets signed Jahad Thomas to the practice squad as insurance.

McGuire was drafted in the sixth round out of Louisiana-Lafayette in April. He ranks second on the Jets with 176 yards rushing, 64 behind Powell. McGuire also has five catches for 55 yards.

“It’s like he’s a veteran already,” offensive coordinator John Morton said of McGuire last week. “I think he’s being coached well and we’re putting him in the right place to have success. The game’s not too big for him, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson also sat out practice Wednesday. He has been dealing with a sprained shoulder, but now also has a toe injury. Neither he nor coach Todd Bowles would provide details about the new injury.

Cornerbacks Juston Burris (foot) and Darryl Roberts (hamstring) were limited, as was defensive end Kony Ealy (shoulder).

Stills surprised to be joined by Goodell for police visit

Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills says he was pleasantly surprised to be joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for visits with police and youngsters in an effort to build better community relations.

“It was nice for him to take some time out of his day to make it and see what we’re doing,” Stills said Wednesday.

The collaboration Tuesday came from the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Goodell and Dolphins Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas visited two schools and the North Miami Police Department.

The three players have staged national anthem protests at games, and said they accept the team’s new policy requiring players to stand or wait in the tunnel during the song. In a memo to team owners, Goodell reiterated the league’s belief that everyone should stand for the anthem and outlined plans to highlight efforts of players trying to bring attention to the social issues behind the game-day protests. Goodell said those plans would be presented to owners next week.

Stills said his position has evolved in part because of conversations with police.

“What took me aback was hearing from the police officers that from our protests, they’ve been getting a lot of negative reaction,” Stills said. “People see them and are, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ It’s starting make the police feel like every one of them is a bad guy. We understand: every cop isn’t a bad cop. They’re doing their best.

“We were telling the young kids, if you see a police officer, ask for help. Thank them for their service. Try and build a relationship. And hopefully we can avoid all the issues we’ve been having.”

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