Washington's Reed progressing in return from fifth NFL concussion
Jordan Reed was finally healthy and looked in training camp like his 2015 Pro Bowl self.
With foot problems behind him, the Washington Redskins tight end felt like a whole new person.
"I feel a lot different," Reed said. "I've put in a lot of hard work to play well this year and be at my best."
Then Atlanta safety Keanu Neal delivered a scary helmet-to-helmet hit on Reed in the third preseason game Aug. 22. Reed's helmet popped off, and everything stopped: Coach Jay Gruden confirmed Reed was in concussion protocol.
Reed only now looks ready to play after his fifth documented concussion in seven NFL seasons and seventh dating to his time at Florida. The former New London High standout is still limited in practice, but the 29-year-old is on pace to make his season debut Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
"He did a lot of team (drills) today, which is good," Gruden said Wednesday. "He's just got to continue to get more reps, and then we'll continue to monitor how he's feeling afterward."
Reed declined to talk after practice Wednesday other than to nod at reporters to tell them he was doing well. If he gets on the field Sunday, he'll have a chance to live up to his training camp mantra of "actions speak louder than words" to show he can stay healthy.
There's no faulting Reed for this injury, and bad luck played a role in previous shoulder, hip, ankle and foot problems. They all seemed to be behind him based on stellar practices in offseason workouts and training camp and provided a tantalizing glimpse of what Reed could do at 100 percent.
"He's a special player," starting quarterback Case Keenum said. "I haven't played with many players like him. I've never played with a player that can do what he does. I'm excited to get him back out there."
The Redskins could use Reed right about now with other injuries piling up. Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is week to week with a knee injury, running back Derrius Guice injured his right knee 13 months after tearing the ACL on the other knee and safety Montae Nicholson missed practice with a strained foot.
That doesn't even count the continued absence of holdout left tackle Trent Williams. Washington is desperate to avoid an 0-2 start — both in the NFC East — but Gruden insists every precaution will be taken with Reed until he's ready.
"We would never put Jordan at risk any time, any place, if we thought there was going to be a future problem," Gruden said. "But once he gets cleared and he feels good enough to go, he'll go."
Jets WR Enunwa out for season with neck injury
Quincy Enunwa's season is over after his second neck injury in just over two years.
The New York Jets wide receiver was hurt Sunday in the season-opening loss to Buffalo and told the team's medical staff Monday that he wasn't feeling right physically and had several tests.
The 27-year-old Enunwa missed the entire 2017 season after injuring his neck in training camp. He had bulging disks in his neck that required surgery, but it wasn't immediately certain if the two injuries are related.
Coach Adam Gase also wouldn't speculate if the latest injury could threaten Enunwa's career, saying "there's a lot of steps left here" before that will be determined.
"I just know for this season, I know for sure," Gase said Wednesday. "I think he's going through a lot of different tests and he's got to talk to doctors. I don't want to say that because I don't know."
Enunwa returned last season from the first neck injury and had 38 catches for 449 yards and a touchdown, and the team rewarded him with a four-year, $36 million contract extension.
Gase spoke in the summer about how he liked the physical style of the 6-foot-2, 225-pound receiver, and how he complemented the Jets' other weapons on offense. But Enunwa had just one catch in the season opener for minus-4 yards, and briefly left early in the game before returning.
A sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 2014, Enunwa has 118 receptions for 1,621 yards and five touchdowns.
"You lose a starter, you lose a guy that's a veteran player that's been through a lot, that's done a lot of good things," Gase said. "I mean, he's done everything you could possibly ask a guy to do. He tries to do everything right. He works hard, he studies, he tries to lead by example. You know, he speaks up when he has to. I mean, the way he plays, everything is violent and gives everything he has.
"I feel for him just from the aspect that he's going through something like this."
New York traded a 2021 sixth-round draft pick to New England for Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, a rare deal between the AFC East rivals that now makes even more sense. The 31-year-old Thomas could see a major role in the offense opposite Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder, and Gase expects him to play Monday night against Cleveland.
The team announced just before practice that the deal was official after Thomas passed his physical.
"We'll just kind of see how he feels, see where he's at," Gase said. "He looked good in that last preseason game that we watched. He seems like he's in a good place, so we'll just kind of see how it goes."
Thomas spent most of the summer on New England's physically unable to perform list while continuing to recover from an Achilles tendon injury that ended his season with Houston last December. He was activated by the Patriots on Aug. 20 and had seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason finale against the Giants. He was among the Patriots' cuts after camp but was re-signed and then inactive for New England's first regular-season game of the season Sunday night against Pittsburgh.
Thomas also became expendable for the Patriots after they signed Antonio Brown last weekend.
"We just kind of looked at it as, they added another guy and they kind of had some depth, so, we took a shot," Gase said. "It's a guy that we knew."
Thomas and Gase were together in Denver from 2010-14, when Gase was the wide receivers coach and later the Broncos' offensive coordinator. Thomas was also part of the Broncos' Super Bowl-winning team with Peyton Manning in February 2016. He has 688 receptions for 9,330 yards and 62 touchdowns.
"He knows the offense and he can easily be plugged in," Gase said. "He still remembers everything."
Thomas didn't practice Wednesday but was on the sideline watching his new teammates in a black long-sleeved Jets T-shirt and green shorts.
"He's a great player," running back Le'Veon Bell said. "I think he's going to be able to help a lot. He's a bigger guy, he'll be able to block on the edge, obviously run routes to get open and he'll be able to pick up the offense quick because he played with Gase before, so it's going to be fun."
Bengals receiver Green running again after ankle injury
A.J. Green stood at his locker with his left foot free of the black, protective boot that finally rested behind him, taking up space instead of limiting his stride.
The Bengals' top receiver took a noteworthy step Wednesday in his recovery from ankle surgery . He abandoned the protective boot and moved ahead with getting his left ankle back in shape. Also, he's started running lightly to get the ankle back in shape.
So far, his recovery has been pain-free.
"I'm way ahead of schedule where a normal person would be," Green said. "I'm only six weeks out and I'm already walking. You never know what the next two or three weeks are going to bring, to where I can start back putting on (football) shoes and actually running and doing some on-the-field stuff."
Green tore ligaments in the ankle during the first practice of training camp in Dayton, Ohio, on July 27. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick hit him while breaking up a pass during a 7-on-7 drill, causing the receiver to land awkwardly and roll the ankle.
The Bengals have kept him on the active roster so he can return as soon as he's ready, which is expected to be sometime in the season's first half. There's no specific week set as a goal.
"I'm here seven days a week getting treatment, trying to get back into shape," said Green, who has a lot of stiffness in the ankle. "I ran for the first time (Tuesday) and I feel good after the day of running, so it's just a process."
Green spoke with the media Wednesday for the first time since the injury, saying he wanted to wait until he was out of the boot. Green is coming off a toe injury that cost him roughly half of last season and required surgery.
When he landed awkwardly in Dayton after the bump from Kirkpatrick, Green knew he'd suffered another serious injury.
"I was feeling so good," he said. "My body felt amazing, my toe felt back to normal. And then I came down and just rolled my ankle. I never rolled my ankle before or had an ankle sprain, so I was like what the heck happened? I knew something was serious because it just swelled up on me real quick. It was just an unfortunate accident."
Green said the artificial turf at Welcome Stadium wasn't a factor.
"I've played on worse fields than that, so it doesn't really matter about the field," he said.
Green flew with the team to Seattle for its opener, a 21-20 loss on Sunday. He was impressed with how first-year head coach Zac Taylor ran the offense.
"It's unbelievable how smart he is, the way he conducts our offensive meetings," said Green, a nine-year veteran. "I've never seen it before. How he makes in-game adjustments, like during halftime and during the game — he's on his little iPad going crazy. It's fun to watch."
Taylor was glad to have Green on the sideline providing encouragement to teammates.
"He warms my heart when he's around," Taylor said.
The Bengals piled up 429 yards, and Andy Dalton had career highs with 35 completions and 418 yards passing. The Bengals are eager to see what they can do when Green returns.
"He'll be coming back eventually, and we'll accept him with open arms," Dalton said.
Chargers tight end Henry suffers knee injury in opener
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will be placed on injured reserve because of a knee injury.
Henry fractured the upper part of his left tibia during Sunday's 30-24 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts. He was injured during the second half but returned to the game and played in overtime. He had four receptions for 60 yards, including a 17-yard catch in overtime.
This is the second straight season that Henry has been seriously injured. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during offseason workouts last year but returned for the playoffs.
Henry will continue to be evaluated but the timeframe for his return has not been determined. Los Angeles (1-0) is at Detroit this week.
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