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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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Jimmy Graham will try to play through broken thumb

Green Bay Packers logo

Jimmy Graham left Thursday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks after he suffered a hand injury that turned out to be quite serious, but he is going to attempt to play through it.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed to reporters on Monday that Graham has a broken thumb, and he said the star tight end will experiment with different protective devices in an attempt to not miss any time.

Graham’s teammates have to appreciate the toughness, but it’s hard to imagine him being as effective with some sort of splint on his hand and a broken finger. While he’s nowhere near as dominant as he used to be, Graham has been a solid contributor in Green Bay’s passing game this season, catching 34 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers need all the help they can get as they try to remain in playoff contention.

Former teammate says Colin Kaepernick has not given up on playing

Colin Kaepernick

NFL teams need backup quarterbacks, but Colin Kaepernick’s name isn’t even coming up in rumors anymore.

That is, apparently, not because Kaepernick has given up on playing. Former teammate Eric Reid, now with the Carolina Panthers, is close with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. According to Reid, Kaepernick still works out six days a week and would like to play again.

The Washington Redskins lost Alex Smith to a season-ending injury on Sunday and brought in Mark Sanchez to serve as a backup after working out a group of veteran quarterbacks that didn’t include Kaepernick. To some, it’s evidence that Kaepernick is being blacklisted, especially if he’s still willing to play.

John Harbaugh won’t rule out Joe Flacco returning for Week 12

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco may be in the frame for a Week 12 return after all.

Coach John Harbaugh refused to rule out a potential Flacco return, saying it ultimately depends on how his ailing hip responds to treatment during the week.

Harbaugh’s quote is a slight change in course from Sunday, when he seemed to rule Flacco out. The chances are that Lamar Jackson will probably get another start against the Oakland Raiders, and Flacco is more likely to return the week after that unless Jackson impresses again.

Urban Meyer planning to retire from coaching following season?

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer’s health once again became a topic of discussion after he was seen putting his hands on his head and looking like he was in pain during Saturday’s thrilling win over Maryland, and talk that this could be the coach’s last season with Ohio State is picking up steam.

According to Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports, Meyer is planning to retire at the end of the 2018 season. Cowherd said on his show Monday that he heard that from two separate sources, citing both Meyer’s health and his current relationship with administrators at Ohio State.

“There is a fissure there between the administration and Urban Meyer,” Cowherd said. “He doesn’t always feel that they have had his back.”

Meyer has had health issues throughout his coaching career. After he went down to his knees during a game earlier this season, he revealed that he suffers from headaches that are caused by a cyst he has had on his brain for years. He said the issue is one that needs to be monitored by doctors.

In 2010, Meyer experienced chest pains before he decided to leave his job at Florida to spend time with his family. He has been publicly accused of exaggerating the issues to get what he wants in his career, which is something his family has passionately defended him over.

Of course, Meyer’s reputation has also taken a huge hit this year after he was accused of helping to cover up domestic violence allegations against a longtime member of his coaching staff. While Meyer is still young by head coaching standards at age 54, it would not be shocking if he took some time off after this year.

Ex-49ers RB Jarryd Hayne arrested for sexual assault

Jarryd Hayne Niners

Rugby star-turned-NFL player Jarryd Hayne was arrested in Australia this week on a sexual assault charge, and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

According to TMZ, law enforcement officials say Hayne has been accused of sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman who says she met Hayne on social media. The victim said her Sept. 30 encounter with Hayne was consensual at first, but he then assaulted her and inflicted injuries on her.

Following an investigation, police charged Hayne with aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm. A spokesperson from New South Wales Police said in a statement that police are still looking into the incident and the investigation is being led by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Hayne is a well-known rugby star in Australia, and the 30-year-old signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March of 2015. He rushed for 52 yards on 17 carries and caught six passes for 27 yards during his career. He announced his retirement in May of 2016 and returned to rugby after citing his unwillingness to learn a new playbook when the Niners hired Chip Kelly.

This is not the first time Hayne has been accused of a sex crime, as he is also being sued by a woman who says he raped her in 2015. Hayne was not charged in that case but is facing an ongoing civil lawsuit.

Michigan’s Karan Higdon guarantees win over Ohio State

Michigan logo

The Michigan Wolverines are feeling confident ahead of their huge matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes. So confident, in fact, that when given the opportunity to make some pretty bold statements, at least one of their players is going ahead with it.

Michigan running back Karan Higdon was asked during Monday’s press conference if he would make like current coach and former quarterback Jim Harbaugh and guarantee a victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday. Higdon’s response was a yes.

The connection to Harbaugh is from the 1986 edition of the game, when he guaranteed a victory in Columbus. Harbaugh was proven right then, as he quarterbacked the Wolverines to a 26-24 victory.

The stakes are high, guarantee or not, as the winner of the game will head to the Big Ten title game with a potential playoff bid on the line. The loser can forget about making that playoff. Ohio State is looking vulnerable, and maybe that’s going through Higdon’s mind — though to be fair to him, he was prompted to do it.

Twitter reacts to Redskins signing Mark Sanchez

The Washington Redskins have moved quickly to bring in a veteran backup after Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury on Sunday, and the move they made is one that is sure to create a lot of buzz.

In fact, it already has.

According to numerous reports, the Redskins are signing Mark Sanchez. Since the former first-round pick played with the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes that Washington believes he will be able to get up to speed quickly with an upcoming game against his former team on a short week.

Sanchez has appeared in just two games since 2016. The former New York Jets starter spent 2017 with the Chicago Bears, but he did not get on the field at all during the regular season. As you might expect, Twitter had a lot of fun with Washington’s decision to sign the man whose most noteworthy achievement in the NFL was “The Butt Fumble.”

There has already been talk about Washington’s search for a veteran backup being further proof that Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL, and the signing of Sanchez will do nothing to dispel that notion.

Report: Grizzlies nearing deal with Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah appears to be ready to find a new home.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Memphis Grizzlies are in talks to sign Noah, who has been available since being waived by the New York Knicks on Oct. 13.

The Grizzlies are off to a 10-5 start, so Noah will at least be able to join a team that has some ambition of making something of their season. Still, at this stage of his career, he’s little more than a depth option, and that’s likely the role he’ll be asked to play in Memphis as long as the deal is completed.

Braves reportedly involved in Bryce Harper sweepstakes

Bryce Harper

The list of teams that are interested in Bryce Harper is not all that long due to the obvious financial commitment it would take to sign him, but at least one surprise team is reportedly keeping its eye on the star outfielder.

While the Atlanta Braves have given indications this offseason that they do not want to sign a player to a contract worth more than $300 million, David O’Brien of The Athletic believes they are very much interested in Harper.

As Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports notes, the Braves are in need of an outfielder and have money to spend.

Braves GM Alex Anthoplous has cautioned against committing so much money to one player, but that could be his way of trying to lurk in the shadows. We know teams like the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees are going to be in on trying to sign Harper, so Atlanta still seems like a long-shot. However, there always seems to be one surprise team that enters the mix for the top free agent on the market. The Braves could be that team this winter.

Kerryon Johnson considered week-to-week with knee sprain

Detroit Lions logo

The Detroit Lions got very good news on the status of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Johnson will not need surgery on what turned out to be a knee sprain. He will be considered week-to-week and may miss two games at most.

There were some initial fears over the severity of the injury, but the Lions were relaxed early on and seem to have been proven right. The running back has revitalized Detroit’s ground game this season, with 641 rushing yards in 10 games.