Buffalo Bills sign ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman to practice squad

New York Giantsm Devonta Freeman

The Buffalo Bills made a pair of roster moves as they prepare for their Divisional matchup against Baltimore on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of roster moves prior to Saturday’s night AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC). In conjunction with the placement of running back Zack Moss on injured reserve, the team added rusher Devonta Freeman to their practice squad and activated offensive lineman Jordan Devey to their 53-man roster.

Freeman, 28, partook in five games with the New York Giants earlier this season, picking up 172 yards over five games (four starts). The two-time Pro Bowler was placed on injured reserve in November with an ankle ailment before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was outright released on January 7.

His best performance in blue was a 60-yard output on 17 carries in an October loss in Dallas. Freeman scored the first and only Giants touchdown in that same game. Previously, Freeman led the league with 11 rushing scores during the 2015 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. He reached two Pro Bowls as an Atlanta representative and has appeared in five postseason games, scoring a touchdown through the air or on the ground in each of them. Freeman was notably a member of the Falcons’ 2016-17 squad that reached Super Bowl LI.

With Moss placed on injured reserve, his postseason is over thanks to the required three-week stay that comes with such placement. Moss had 47 total yards during the Bills’ Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park. Devin Singletary will likely shoulder a larger load, while other reserve rushers on the active roster include T.J. Yeldon and Taiwan Jones. Freeman joins Week 17 star Antonio Williams on the practice squad, with the latter scoring twice in the blowout win over Miami.

Devey, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, joins the Bills’ active roster after spending most of it on their practice squad. He was previously activated for the Bills’ October visit to East Rutherford to take on the Jets. Devey previously started six games during the 2014 New England Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLIX and also has earned a playoff start with Kansas City. He has partaken in 43 games overall (21 starts) since entering the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills RB Zack Moss possibly out for rest of the postseaon

The Buffalo Bills’ Wild Card victory was marred by the loss of the rookie running back, who was injured in the second half.

The Buffalo Bills may be missing one of their youngest contributors as their postseason run continues.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there’s fear within the organization that rookie running back Zack Moss may miss significant time with an ankle injury sustained during Saturday’s victory in the AFC Wild Card playoffs. Moss put up 47 yards (21 rushing, 26 receiving) before leaving due to an ankle injury. Dr. Matthew Provencher, the injury analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage, had a slightly more optimistic outlook, forecasting that Moss could return in time for a possible appearance in the conference title game should take victory in their Divisional round contest next weekend.

Moss, 23, was chosen in the third round (86th overall) in April’s draft out of Utah. He would split the top rushing duties with Devin Singletary, tallying 481 yards and four scores on the ground. Moss also established himself as a short-yardage receiving threat of the backfield with 95 yards on 14 receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Overall, 35 of Moss’ 126 touches went for first downs.

With Moss out, the Bills will likely rely on Singletary in the run game, and could potentially use one of their reserve rushers in an expanded role, including T.J. Yeldon or Taiwan Jones. Antonio Williams, who has been on and off the Bills’ practice squad all season, could likewise be an option after he scored two touchdowns in his NFL debut in the Week 17 regular season finale against Miami.

With their 27-24 win over Indianapolis on Saturday, Buffalo (14-3) will now await the results of Sunday’s action to see who they’ll host in the Divisional round. They will take on the highest-remaining seed from the Wild Card aftermath, which puts any team except seventh-seed Cleveland on the table.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Paris Kea undergoes successful knee surgery

The New York Liberty’s in-season addition was injured while playing overseas in Israel, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

The New York Liberty announced on Thursday that guard Paris Kea has undergone successful anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery on her left knee earlier this week.

Kea sustained the injury during her overseas endeavors with Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli club. At the time of her injury, she ranked second on the squad with 19.0 points and 2.5 steals per game. Her procedure was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery under the watch of Dr. Riley Williams III. Rehabilitation begins next week and Kea is expected to make a full recovery.

A North Carolina alumna, Kea joined the Liberty in the middle stages of the WNBA’s bubble season in Bradenton. Entering the league as a third-round pick to Indiana in 2019, Kea averaged 6.9 points over 11 games (five starts), her best output being a 21-point tally against her former team in September. Kea is set to enter free agency, but the Liberty maintain her rights. During her time at Chapel Hill, Kea earned consecutive first-team All-ACC honors, honored alongside current New York teammate Asia Durr.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the Liberty also announced a collaboration with the National Women’s Hockey League, which is set to begin a bubbled season in Lake Placid, NY. In support of the Metropolitan Riveters, cardboard incarnations of Sabrina Ionescu, Layshia Clarendon, Jazmine Jones, Jocelyn Willoughby and Amanda Zahui B. will appear in the bubble at Herb Brooks Arena. The Liberty are one of two WNBA teams partaking in the NWHL union, joining the Connecticut Sun and their union with the Connecticut Whale. Normally playing their games at Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, the Riveters won the league’s Isobel Cup in 2018. The New York Rangers will likewise be “sending” some representatives.

The Liberty will choose first in the 2021 WNBA Draft, set to be held later this spring.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: RB Frank Gore to miss finale in New England

After making history on Sunday, top rusher Frank Gore will miss the New York Jets’ season finale against New England.

Frank Gore’s season, and potentially his NFL career, has come to an end after making history.

The veteran rusher will not play in the New York Jets’ season finale on Sunday against the New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS). His season in green ends with 653 yards on 187 carries, two of which went for scores. Gore took on a larger workload this season following the release of Le’Veon Bell, starting the past 14 games.

Gore left last weekend’s win over Cleveland with what was initially reported to be a chest injury. Head coach Adam Gase later revealed that Gore had instead suffered a lung contusion.

“That’s going to be one of those ones where he will not be available for a few weeks, which obviously with one game left, he won’t be able to finish that last game,” Gase said, per notes from the Jets. As for Gore’s NFL future, Gase remarked that he hasn’t had those types of conversations with the running back yet. “I think Frank’s always going to kind of worry about that when the time comes and if he wants to play again, he may try to do it.”

During Week 16’s win over Cleveland, Gore, 37, hit the 16,000-yard mark for his career, joining Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton as the only rushers in NFL history to reach that plateau. Gore holds the NFL record for most games played as an NFL running back (241) and Sunday’s finale will mark only the third time since 2011 that he has had to miss due to injury.

Speaking about his future to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Gore said “I’ve got to be real with myself, how teams think about my age. They might not want a 38-year-old running back on the team”.

Gase has faced criticism for increasing the aging Gore’s role in the offense, often at the expense of ignoring younger rushers like La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. Gore’s 187 carries are his most since 2017 but his average of 3.5 yards per carry is a new career-low.

Nonetheless, Gase praised Gore for his veteran leadership and the calming effect he has had on some of the younger players.

“I think as far as what he’s done this year, helped keep these guys together, showing guys the right way to do things,” Gase said. “I think he’s been great for that running back room, with the amount of young players we have in there.”

“I think the young players just in general on the whole team, seen him working day in and day out, understanding no matter what your record is, how you’re supposed to come to work, how you’re supposed to go through practice, how you’re supposed to play the game, I can’t say enough as far as what he’s done leading by example.”

Gore entered the league as a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, one of seven active picks remaining from those selections. He has also spent time with Indianapolis, Miami, and Buffalo. Gore’s finest performance as a Jets likely came against the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month, when he capped off a 59-yard day with a touchdown that proved to be a major role in the winning margin and a fourth-quarter reception that helped the Jets (2-13) seal the deal.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Quinnen Williams’ breakout 2020 set to end on IR

The New York Jets’ Sunday victory couldn’t stop the bad news from rolling in, as breakout star Quinnen Williams is done for the year.

The bad news keeps rolling in for the New York Jets.

Head coach Adam Gase announced on Wednesday that the second-year defender was “probably be done for the year”. Williams has enjoyed a breakout season after a tough rookie year, leading the Jets in sacks with seven, and has appeared at or near the top of several analytical lists documenting efforts from interior defensive linemen.

“Quinnen is in the concussion protocol and also has a neck (injury), he won’t participate (in practice),” Gase said on Wednesday, per notes from the Jets. The head coach further elaborated that he wasn’t exactly sure what the issue was, but Williams will probably go on injured reserve once he clears concussion protocol. This season’s injured reserve rules require players to sit out at least three weeks and there are only two games left in the season.

Gase did take the time to praise Williams’ development in year two. Williams was chosen third overall in the 2019 draft after only Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa.

“He’s done a good job. Obviously, Sunday you saw what kind of impact that he had, made a ton of TFLs, was in the backfield, created pressure,” Gase said. “I felt like he had a good run of games. I felt like his consistency was pretty good.”

“I mean, there were a few games where it was like, he kind of disappeared, but it didn’t happen a lot. Last year, I felt like there would be a couple of games in a row where you kind of didn’t really feel him, but this year I felt like the high majority of the games that you felt him. If you were on the other team you felt him, whether you’re playing quarterback or in the run game.”

Williams had four tackles, including one sack, in his final game of the season, a 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. He left the game in the second and the seen vomiting as he walked off the field toward the locker room.

In other injury news, Gase announced that Harvey Lagni, another defender with a neck ailment, would likewise be placed on IR. Cornerback Javelin Guidry (knee) was likewise held out of Wednesday’s practice. The Jets (1-13) did receive some good news with Folorunso Fatukasi emerging from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Fatukasi did not test positive but was deemed to have come in close contact with someone who did.

New York will partake in their final home game of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills: WR John Brown set to return from injured reserve

As the Buffalo Bills close in on a playoff berth, they’re set to welcome back one of their veteran receiving options this holiday season.

The Buffalo Bills (10-3) have gained their share of supporters and believers as they continue their trek towards the NFL postseason. Now, it appears they’re going to gain back one of their most experienced receiving options as the playoffs approach.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott mentioned this week that the team will test Brown in practice with the intention of having him play in Saturday’s visit to Denver (4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Brown is eligible to come off injured reserve after spending the past three weeks on the list with an ankle injury sustained during the November 15 loss in Arizona.

McDermott said that while Brown will practice during this short week, he mentioned that “we’ll have to see how it goes” when asked if the receiver will suit up at Mile High, per Thad Brown of RochesterFirst.com.

Injuries have prevented Brown, 30, from building on the best season of his career, which began in 2014 as a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. Last year, his first in Western New York, Brown earned personal bests with 1,060 yards on 72 receptions, also scoring six touchdowns. Separate calf and ankle ailments have limited Brown to only eight games so far this season, during which he has earned 29 receptions for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Brown did rise to the occasion during the Bills’ November win over Seattle, picking up a season-high 99 yards on eight grabs in the 44-34 triumph. His most renowned moment in Buffalo came in the team’s playoff cameo last January, when he threw a 16-yard touchdown pass against Houston in the AFC wild-card round.

Bills receivers have certainly risen to the occasion in Brown’s absence, winning each of their three contests played with Brown on injured reserve. Stefon Diggs became the second receiver in Bills history to reach triple-figures in receptions, currently leading the NFL with 100. Cole Beasley also took advantage of an increased workload, posting a career-best showing (9 receptions, 130 yards) in a Monday night win over San Francisco earlier this month.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, Saquon Hampton done for season

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Two New York Jets defenders will see their season end prematurely, as Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton have been placed on IR.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that defenders Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton will be placed on injured reserve. With visits to IR lasting at least three weeks, their seasons are effectively over.

Jenkins (shoulder) had partaken in 12 games this season, missing last weekend’s visit to Seattle. His fifth season as a Jets ends with 32 tackles, including a pair of sacks, after earning 15 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. The linebacker, 26, joined the team as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. He is set to become a free agent this offseason after inking a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

Hampton, 25, returned to New Jersey after starring in his native Hamilton and later in college at Rutgers. A member of the secondary and former sixth-round draft pick in New Orleans, Hampton joined the Jets in November after he part of the Saints’ final training camp cuts. He made his New York debut on Sunday in Seattle, partaking in five special team snaps before leaving with an Achilles injury.

As the Jets (0-13) prepare to partake in their final games of the season, they’ll be missing some crucial names on defense. Jenkins becomes the sixth opening day starter to not finish the year on the active roster, whether it’s through injury or transactions. His role at outside linebacker will likely be filled by rookie Jabari Zuniga, who has mostly been used as a defensive end but maintains experience from his days at Florida.

Earlier this week, the Jets partially prepared for the medical departures by signing Trevon Coley on Monday, two days after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

New York continues to play out the final stretches of their schedule out west, as they’ll wrap up their interconference slate on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Alex Lewis among Sunday absentees for NFI injury

The New York Jets’ veteran blocker will not partake in Sunday’s game against Las Vegas after being placed on the non-football injury list.

The New York Jets have placed offensive lineman Alex Lewis on their reserve/non-football injury list.

Head coach Adam Gase announced on Friday that Lewis would not partake in Sunday’s home game against the Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS). According to notes from the Jets, Gase said that Lewis’ departure was “an organizational decision”. He would also insist that Lewis’ departure was not disciplinary and that he has continued to attend positional meetings.

“He’ll be out for the game,” Gase said. “He’s been in meetings…As soon as we have a resolution to this, then we can talk more about it.”

With his placement on the NFI list, Lewis will miss at least the next three games, eligible to return for the Jets’ penultimate game of the season on December 27 against the Cleveland Browns.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini shed some light on Lewis’ situation, mentioning that he is seeking help for an “off-the-field issue”. The Jets will continue to pay him during this process.

Lewis, 28, is in the midst of his second season with the Jets, having come over in a late-summer trade with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 offseason. Pro Football Focus has Lewis consistently ranked as the second-best lineman among qualifiers behind only Mekhi Becton. Lewis signed a three-year contract extension during the offseason but could be a salary cap casualty with the Jets poised to save just over $5.3 million if he is released.

It’s possible that relative newcomer Pat Elfein could take over for Lewis in his spot on the offensive line’s interior. Elfein took over for Lewis last week against Miami and previously made 43 starts over three-plus seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He appeared in Minnesota’s Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but was sidelined with a thumb injury that led to a stint on injured reserve. The Jets signed him shortly after Minnesota released him upon activation from IR. Elfein was limited in Friday’s practice with a shoulder ailment.

Despite the loss of Lewis, the Jets (0-11) will be getting some of their blocking depth back, as Gase said that he expects to have both George Fant and Chuma Edoga back from ankle issues after each missed last week’s loss to Miami in East Rutherford. Fant was limited on Friday, but while Edoga was a full participant every day this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Sam Darnold to start on Sunday vs. Miami

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

After missing the last two New York Jets games with a shoulder injury, Sam Darnold will return for a divisional showdown with the Dolphins.

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase announced on Friday that Sam Darnold will return to the team’s starting lineup on Sunday, as the team heads home to MetLife Stadium to battle the Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS). Darnold will make his first appearance since November 1 at Kansas City, when he reaggravated a shoulder injury suffered a month prior against Denver.

“It’s been a good week for Sam,” Gase said, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “It just looks a lot different from the last time he tried to make a run at going in a game.”

Though the Jets (0-10) are officially removed from the AFC playoff picture, these final six games could mean everything to Darnold, whose 2020 struggles have observers and analysts wondering if he is still the Jets’ future under center. Having missed four games this season, Darnold is currently on pace to set career-lows with 1,045 passing yards and three touchdown passes.

But, right from the get-go, things will be different for Darnold than they were at the start of the season. Sunday against Miami will mark the first time that Darnold is able to work with the trio of receivers the Jets envisioned would be at the top of the depth chart at the start of the year. Darnold will work with second-round rookie Denzel Mims for the third time this season, having previously united with him for 84 yards on six receptions in tilts against Kansas City and Buffalo. Veterans Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder will likewise be ready to go. The Jets’ offense has enjoyed a slight resurgence upon the trio’s collaboration, tallying 614 yards and 55 points over the last two games, both of which are season-highs over consecutive games. Joe Flacco took over for Darnold in the meantime, leading the Jets to respectable outputs in losses to New England and the Los Angeles Chargers.

In comments made earlier this week, Darnold praised the progress that the incoming receiving trio was able to make, but also expressed personal excitement to get back on the field and lead the Jets to a victory. New York is the lone winless team in the NFL as the season prepares to reach its final stages.

Obviously, those guys are doing a really good job and are making plays for us,” Darnold said, per notes from the Jets. Regardless of their situation and how well they are playing, I just want to be out there, regardless of that. I’m always going to be eager to want to go out there and play football.”

Darnold is 1-3 against the Dolphins in his career, the lone win coming last season in East Rutherford. He would tally 270 yards and two scores in the Jets’ 22-21 triumph.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills: Cody Ford out for the year, John Brown to miss Sunday

The Buffalo Bills lose two key pieces of their offense to injury as they prepare to enter a crucial final stretch.

As the Buffalo Bills prepare for a crucial final stretch that could lead to a long-sought division title, they’ll be without two of their key offensive starters, one of which will be done for the year.

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott announced on WGR 550 that offensive lineman Cody Ford will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in Wednesday’s practice and that receiver John Brown (ankle) will miss at least the next game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Bills (7-3) are looking to clinch their first division title since 1995 and lead the Miami Dolphins a game for the AFC East lead.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ford suffered a torn meniscus and will undergo surgery that will feature a 3-4 month recovery period. It’s the latest blow to a Bills’ offensive line that has seen its share of medical absences. Ford had already missed three games due to other injuries and Jon Feliciano missed the first seven contests after tearing a pectoral muscle before the start of training camp. Mitch Morse has also missed time, and further turnover came when Quinton Spain was released. Ford’s duties will likely be assumed by a combination of Feliciano, Brian Winters, and Ike Boettger.

Brown’s injury is the latest in what’s been a star-crossed season. A calf injury sustained during the third game of the season previously forced him out and he was previously removed from the Bills’ last game in Arizona with an ankle ailment. The injuries have prevented Brown from capitalizing on a career-best 72 receptions and 1,060 yards from last season’s playoff trek.

In other injury news, defensive end Mario Addison (knee) missed Wednesday’s practice. His status for Sunday has yet to be determined.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags