Sep 18, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) tries to break a tackle by Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (58) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Bears LB Roquan Smith (hip) questionable vs. Texans

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is listed as questionable with a hip injury for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texas.

Smith missed practice all week and coach Matt Eberflus is hopeful the fifth-year-pro will play against the Texans.

Smith, 25, has 20 tackles in two games this season. He topped 100 in each of his first four NFL campaigns, including a career-best 163 last season.

Solid cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quadriceps) also is questionable, while receiver Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) is doubtful.

Chicago has ruled out linebacker Matthew Adams (hamstring), defensive back Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and tight end Ryan Griffin (Achilles).

–Field Level Media

New York Jets kicker Eddy Pineiro (15) celebrates after kicking a field goal against the Miami Dolphins during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens. Pineior kicked for the University of Florida.

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Reports: Panthers to audition K Eddy Pineiro

The Carolina Panthers are bringing in veteran kicker Eddy Pineiro for a visit, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

Other reports said the team will also audition Brian Johnson now that fellow kicker Zane Gonzalez is sidelined with a groin injury.

Both Pineiro and Johnson worked with Panthers special teams coordinator Chris Tabor when Tabor held the same role with the Chicago Bears.

Gonzalez, 27, was hurt while kicking on the sidelines in the third quarter of Friday’s 21-0 preseason win against Buffalo. Coach Matt Rhule said it was a “significant” injury that requires a “long-term” recovery period.

Pineiro, 26, was cut by the New York Jets this week after losing a competition with Greg Zuerlein. He has made 31 of 36 field goals and 36 of 39 extra points in 21 games with the Bears (2019) and Jets (2021).

Johnson, 23, spent time on Chicago’s practice squad in 2021. He converted all 10 field-goal attempts and nine of 13 PATs in seven games last season with New Orleans and Washington.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Houston Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (91) celebrates after a fumble recovery against the Green Bay Packers during a preseason football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

Saints cut DT Jaleel Johnson, RB Malcolm Brown

The New Orleans Saints released defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and running back Malcolm Brown on Thursday.

The Saints also officially signed quarterback K.J. Costello and defensive backs Brian Allen and Jack Koerner.

Johnson, 28, was a fourth-round pick by Minnesota in 2017 and has 110 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 65 games (20 starts) with the Vikings (2017-20) and Houston Texans (2021).

Brown, 29, rushed 33 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in seven games last season with the Miami Dolphins. He has rushed for 1,313 yards and 12 scores in 77 career games with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2015-20) and Dolphins (2021).

Costello, 25, was undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021. He went to training camp last season with the Los Angeles Chargers and spent time earlier this year with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars.

With starter Jameis Winston sidelined by a foot injury, Costello’s signing adds depth ahead of Saturday’s preseason opener at Houston.

Allen, 28, has six tackles in 20 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2017-18), San Francisco 49ers (2020) and Cleveland Browns (2021).

Koerner signed with the club as a free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. He had 216 tackles and six interceptions in 47 games with Iowa.

–Field Level Media

Feb 5, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (53) reacts during AFC practice at the Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Colts place All-Pro LB Darius Leonard on PUP list

The Indianapolis Colts placed star linebacker Darius Leonard on the active/physically unable to perform list Sunday as a result of his back surgery last month.

Leonard, who will turn 27 on Wednesday, is coming off his third All-Pro and Pro Bowl seasons in 2021. He recorded 122 tackles, four interceptions and eight forced fumbles in 16 starts. He has earned All-Pro or Pro Bowl honors in each of his four seasons with the Colts.

Leonard has 538 tackles, 17 forced fumbles, 15 sacks and 11 interceptions in 58 career starts since being selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Indianapolis.

Leonard signed a five-year extension worth $99.25 million last August.

The Colts also put defensive end Tyquan Lewis (knee), safety Rodney McLeod (undisclosed) and wide receiver Michael Strachan (undisclosed) on the PUP list. Rookie defensive tackle Eric Johnson (undisclosed) was placed on the non-football injury list.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) rushes for a short gain during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

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Reports: Browns agree to one-year deal with RB D’Ernest Johnson

The Cleveland Browns agreed to a one-year, $2.43 million deal with running back D’Ernest Johnson, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

Johnson will reportedly have more than $900,000 of his contract guaranteed.

Johnson, 26, was a restricted free agent and was checking into other possibilities before agreeing to return to the Browns. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Though he is Cleveland’s third-string back behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Johnson asserted himself when he got opportunities to play last season.

After receiving three carries over the first six games, he rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in a memorable Thursday night starting performance against the Denver Broncos. Cleveland won 17-14.

He received another start against the New England Patriots on Nov. 14 and gained 99 yards on 19 carries. Then in the regular-season finale, he came off the bench to rush for 123 yards and one score against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Overall, Johnson rushed for 534 yards and three scores on 100 carries and also caught 19 passes for 137 yards last season.

In three seasons with the Browns, Johnson has rushed for 721 yards and three touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 222 yards.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) catches a pass along the sideline in the first quarter during a Week 9 NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cleveland Browns lead the Cincinnati Bengals 24-10 at halftime.

Cleveland Browns At Cincinnati Bengals Nov 7

Browns RB Nick Chubb (COVID-19) ruled out vs. Patriots

Cleveland Browns star running back Nick Chubb will miss Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots due to his positive test for COVID-19, coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday.

Chubb tested positive earlier this week along with fellow running back Demetric Felton. Stefanski said Felton also will miss the contest.

With Chubb out and Kareem Hunt (calf) still on injured reserve, D’Ernest Johnson will handle the bulk of the workload in the backfield.

Johnson made his first career start against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 21 and rumbled for 146 yards on 22 carries.

“It is definitely a good feeling to know that there is a guy who has been productive really every time he has touched the ball for us,” offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said of Johnson.

“I feel very confident he will come out and perform for us like he has in the past if he needs to.”

Overall, Johnson has carried the ball 37 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns this season. He is a third-year pro from South Florida.

Chubb, 25, leads the team in carries (120), rushing yards (721) and rushing touchdowns (six) in seven games this season.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Chubb has rushed for 4,278 yards with 34 touchdowns in 51 career games since being selected by the Browns in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Felton, 23, has three rushes for 16 yards while playing in nine games this season. He was selected by the Browns in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Also, defensive end Takkarist McKinley (groin) was ruled out and cornerback Greedy Williams (shoulder) is questionable.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Caleb Johnson (92) celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Buffalo Bills won 41-15. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Two Bears players, Bucs assistant in COVID protocols

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross and Chicago Bears linebacker Caleb Johnson and offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson were unavailable for Sunday’s game in Tampa.

Injured Tampa Bay cornerback Richard Sherman is expected to help fill Ross’ role on the sideline after doing the same this week in practice.

The Bucs (5-1) will also be without tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lavonte David against the Bears (3-3).

Brown (ankle), David (ankle) and Sherman (hamstring) were injured in the Oct. 14 win in Philadelphia. Gronkowski (ribs) has not played since Week 3.

The Bears added Johnson and Wilkinson to the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, joining tight end Jimmy Graham (added Friday) and linebacker Robert Quinn (Tuesday).

Johnson, 23, has four tackles and a fumble recovery in special teams duty this season. Wilkinson, 26, started one of his six games this season.

The Bears also flexed offensive lineman Arlington Hambright from the practice squad to the active roster.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) prepare to block against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles OT Lane Johnson set to return, addressed mental health during absence

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is back with the team after missing three games to address his mental health.

Johnson thanked “everyone for their understanding and support” in a social media post.

“I appreciate the positive notes and messages as I’ve worked hard to restore my personal life. Depression and anxiety are things I’ve dealt with for a long time and have kept hidden from my friends and family,” Johnson said. “If you’re reading this and struggling, please know that you are not alone. I am excited to re-join my teammates and coaches. I’m grateful for the entire Eagles community and look forward to continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world!”

Johnson, 31, last took the field for the Eagles in Week 3. He was inactive Week 4 without being on the injury report in advance of Philadelphia playing the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Eagles’ offensive line has been inconsistent without Johnson and while facing other injuries.

–Field Level Media

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr tackles Northwestern quarterback Hunter Johnson for a sack inthe fourth quarter.

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Hunter Johnson wins three-way battle to be Northwestern’s QB

Fifth-year senior Hunter Johnson will open the season as Northwestern’s starting quarterback after beating out transfer Ryan Hilinski and senior Andrew Marty.

Johnson appeared in two games for Northwestern last season but didn’t throw a pass. He saw action in six games in 2019 and threw for 432 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said on Tuesday that it was a tight battle to decide who would start the opener on Sept. 3 against visiting Michigan State, but said Johnson stood out the most.

“All three of those top guys have been really competitive and close,” Fitzgerald told ESPN. “We came out of spring and this was where we were. We felt like if it was same way after two weeks, let’s roll. He’s just battle-scarred. He’s been through a lot, and he’s handled it extremely well. I know Andrew and Ryan will both be ready to go, too.”

Johnson was a former top-flight recruit at Clemson and completed 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in 2017. He transferred to Northwestern following the season.

Hilinski started 11 games for South Carolina in 2019 and passed for 2,357 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He attempted just six passes in two appearances last season and elected to transfer.

Marty has thrown 22 passes for Northwestern, all in 2019. He appeared in four games last season and didn’t attempt a pass. Marty ran for four touchdowns in 2019.

Also, running back Cam Porter will miss the season with a lower-body injury suffered during fall camp. Porter led Northwestern with 333 yards and five touchdowns on the ground last season as a freshman.

–Field Level Media

Mar 17, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines wrester Adam Coon (green) reacts after being defeated by Ohio State Buckeyes wrestler Kyle Snyder (red) during the NCAA Wrestling DI Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Titans place CB Kevin Johnson on retired list, sign wrestler

The Tennessee Titans said Friday that cornerback Kevin Johnson is retiring and has been placed on the reserve/retired list.

The team signed Johnson as a free agent in March. The 28-year-old played six NFL seasons with the Houston Texans (2015-18), Buffalo Bills (2019) and Cleveland Browns (2020).

A first-round pick (16th overall) in 2015 by the Texans, Johnson had 199 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception in 64 games (25 starts). Last season, he had 35 tackles in 13 games (six starts) with the Browns.

Tennessee also announced it has agreed to terms with former college All-American wrestler Adam Coon.

Coon is slated to be an interior offensive lineman, likely at guard, for the Titans.

The 26-year-old Coon, who starred at Michigan, recently failed to qualify for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Coon didn’t play college football but was a high school standout before deciding to focus on his wrestling career.

Coon compiled a 116-15 record from 2013-18 at Michigan. He was an All-American in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and redshirted in 2017 due to a shoulder injury. He won a silver medal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest.

Tennessee waived injured offensive tackle Anthony McKinney to open up a roster spot for Coon. McKinney opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

–Field Level Media