New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday shed very little light into the NFL’s investigation of the organization for videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline this past weekend.
Belichick was rather curt with reporters, marking the third straight day in which he was asked about a team videographer who was caught filming the Bengals’ sideline during Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
When asked whether the scout involved was aware of the rules that he can’t film from the press box, Belichick said, “He was doing his job. That’s what he was doing, he was doing his job. Like we all tried to do.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declined to put a timeline on the investigation when asked about it Wednesday at his press conference at the league meetings in Las Colinas, Texas.
—The New Orleans Saints placed defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and defensive end Marcus Davenport on injured reserve, officially ending their seasons.
The team added replacements at each position by signing defensive tackle T.Y. McGill and defensive end Noah Spence.
Rankins and Davenport were hurt in the Saints’ Sunday loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Rankins has what multiple outlets have reported as a significant ankle injury that will likely require surgery, while Davenport reportedly has a Lisfranc foot injury.
—Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen returned to practice on a limited basis and is expected to play Sunday after missing five of the team’s past six games due to a hamstring injury.
Thielen first injured his hamstring Oct. 20 against the Detroit Lions while catching a 25-yard touchdown. He tried to return in a Nov. 3 game at Kansas City but left after just seven snaps, as the same hamstring continued to give him problems.
Vikings running back Alexander Mattison did not practice because of an ankle injury, but the Southern California native says he plans to play in the Sunday game at the Los Angeles Chargers.
—The Pittsburgh Steelers could get two Pro Bowlers back from month-long absences for their Sunday home game against the Buffalo Bills as running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster each practiced in full.
Both players have been out since Nov. 14 at Cleveland, when Conner aggravated his shoulder injury and Smith-Schuster was concussed and hurt his knee.
Conner practiced on a limited basis the past two weeks but did not suit up for either game. Smith-Schuster, who passed concussion protocol two weeks ago, had not practiced at all due to the knee injury until Wednesday.
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston said that he intends to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions despite having a hairline fracture of the thumb on his throwing hand.
“It’s getting better every day,” Winston told reporters. “I’m just taking it day by day. I’m gonna be ready to go as soon as I can.”
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is taking the wait-and-see approach, saying, “He’s day to day right now. He’s got a little bit of a brace on it right now, and we’ll see it goes during the week.”
—Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is recovering after having surgery on his left foot earlier this week.
Newton underwent the operation in New York to have a Lisfranc injury repaired. There isn’t yet a recovery timeline.
“I can tell you it was successful and he’s back home in Atlanta rehabbing,” Panthers interim coach Perry Fewell told reporters . “Everything looked good from that standpoint, and that is about as much as I know.”
—Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs is expected to return this week after sitting out the team’s Week 14 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
NFL Network reported that Jacobs was encouraged by test results and is feeling better physically. Prior to last week’s game, NFL Network reported his injury was a fractured shoulder plate.
The Raiders host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, their last scheduled game in Oakland before their move to Las Vegas before the 2020 season.
—New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones shed his walking boot and was seen jogging on the practice field.
Jones is working his way past a reported high ankle sprain that forced him to sit out the Giants’ 23-17 overtime setback to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. The loss was the franchise-high-tying ninth in a row for New York, which hosts the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
On Tuesday, coach Pat Shurmur dismissed reports that the 22-year-old Jones could miss two to four weeks with the injury he sustained in the Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 1.
—Field Level Media