The Carolina Panthers signed safety Eric Reid, the team announced Thursday, after the former Pro Bowl player spent more than six months as a free agent.
The first player to join then-teammate Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season, Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in May as he remained unsigned in free agency.
According to multiple reports, that grievance remains active despite Thursday’s deal with the Panthers, which did not require Reid to dismiss or settle the claim. Also per multiple reports, Panthers owner David Tepper was involved in conversations that led to Reid’s signing, but the discussions remained about football and did not cover the subject of the anthem.
“This is strictly a football decision,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. “On every decision, we ask ourselves if the guy has the skill set and the ability as a football player, if he fits into our scheme, and if he can help us win football games. And the answer to those three questions was yes.”
—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to progress in his recovery from a left knee injury, taking part in his first mid-week practice since the opener.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers would be limited Thursday, but any participation for the quarterback is positive news after he missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday each of the last two weeks. He took part only in the team’s Saturday walkthrough — the third and shortest session of the week — leading up to Weeks 2 and 3.
Rodgers has played well the last two weeks (57 of 86, 546 yards, three TDs, no INTs) despite the injury, but the Packers haven’t won since the opener, a victory that required a herculean effort from Rodgers in a 20-point comeback against the Chicago Bears after he went down in the first half. The quarterback’s absence from practice has affected the productivity of those sessions, McCarthy indicated.
—The NFL will not change its rule regarding roughing the passer and defenders falling on quarterbacks with all or most of their body weight.
Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, announced that the decision was made during a conference call with the league’s competition committee Wednesday night.
Vincent said the committee reviewed video from the 2017 and 2018 seasons but decided not to make any changes. Instead, the committee offered what it called a clarification “to ensure consistency in officiating the rule.” The league also released a video showing examples of what is and isn’t legal.
—Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor was cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol, but a back injury limited his participation in practice.
Cleveland visits the Oakland Raiders on Sunday with Baker Mayfield, who rallied the Browns to victory over the New York Jets last week, at the helm.
Taylor left the game before halftime with a concussion, setting the stage for Mayfield to guide Cleveland to only its second win since the start of the 2016 season. Browns head coach Hue Jackson named Mayfield the starting quarterback on Monday. Whether Taylor is healthy enough to serve as the No. 2 quarterback at Oakland is up in the air.
—The Tennessee Titans released wideout Rishard Matthews, the team announced, a day after reports emerged that the veteran had requested to be let go.
Matthews’ request, which general manager Jon Robinson said he received Monday, stemmed from a lack of playing time and targets. Matthews has just three catches for 11 yards this season while playing only half (95) of the team’s offensive snaps.
“We explored the trade option with several teams, and I would say that market never really manifested itself to get a deal,” Robinson told reporters Thursday.
—Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod had season-ending surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to an NBC Sports Philadelphia report.
McLeod went down in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts after he collided with teammate Jalen Mills. The Eagles likely will move Corey Graham, who has played 103 defensive snaps as the team’s third safety, into a starting role next to Malcolm Jenkins.
McLeod, 28, has started 33 of a possible 35 games since joining the Eagles in 2016 on a five-year, $37 million free agent deal, collecting six interceptions and 13 passes defensed over that span. An undrafted free agent in 2012, he has 11 picks and 35 passes defensed in 96 career games (81 starts) between the Eagles and the then-St. Louis Rams.
—Eagles running back Jay Ajayi (back) returned to a full practice, while wideouts Alshon Jeffery (illness) and Jordan Matthews (hamstring) and running backs Darren Sproles (hamstring) and Corey Clement (quad) sat out.
Ajayi missed last week’s game against the Colts but appears on track to play against the Titans on Sunday.
Jeffery was a full participant on Wednesday after being cleared for contact in his recovery from shoulder surgery, but his absence Thursday was due to an illness, brightening his chances of making his season debut Sunday.
—Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry remained out of practice with a sore right heel, and it remains unclear when he could make his season debut.
Berry has an extra day this week to get ready, as the Chiefs play the Broncos on “Monday Night Football,” but he has yet to practice after sitting out the entire preseason with the issue.
The Chiefs are last in total defense and 30th in points per game and yards per play allowed this season. The team has been rumored to have interest in acquiring Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, although the interest is not believed to be related to Berry’s health.
—Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (knee) remained out of practice, making it unlikely he will be ready to face the Falcons on Sunday.
Mixon has resumed running and cutting after having a minor knee procedure less than two weeks ago. Asked if he can play Sunday, he replied, “I wish. I’m just waiting ‘til they clear me.”
Meanwhile, wideout A.J. Green (pelvis) practiced in full after being limited on Wednesday and said he feels “great.” Green is expected to play against Atlanta after missing much of last week’s loss to the Panthers.
—Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah remained out of practice for the second consecutive day with a shoulder injury.
Ansah has missed consecutive games despite practicing on a limited basis last week, and he does not appear likely to be ready for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. Ansah missed a total of five games over the previous two seasons due to injury.
—Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (ribs) practiced on a limited basis once again, continuing to wear a non-contact jersey.
McCoy was a game-time decision last week but did not play in the team’s 27-6 win over the Vikings. He is expected to suit up against the Packers on Sunday.
Tight end Charles Clay did not participate while battling shoulder and hip issues, after participating on Wednesday.
—New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple (groin) returned to practice, getting in a limited session.
Apple missed Wednesday’s session but appears to be trending toward playing Sunday against the Saints.
—The Seattle Seahawks released cornerback Dontae Johnson from injured reserve.
Originally expected to start at right cornerback, Johnson landed on IR with a groin injury just before the season opener. The team has gone with rookie Tre Flowers, a converted safety, at right corner so far this season.
—Chicago Bears rookie receiver Anthony Miller is not likely to need surgery after dislocating his shoulder last Sunday, head coach Matt Nagy said.
However, Miller is expected to miss a few weeks as he recovers. The second-round pick has eight grabs for 60 yards and a score this season.
—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened up a roster spot for quarterback Jameis Winston by releasing receiver Freddie Martino on Thursday.
The Buccaneers said they will activate Winston to the active roster on Friday. Winston returned to the team on Tuesday after serving a three-game suspension for inappropriately touching a female Uber driver. Tampa Bay had a three-day exemption before he counted on the 53-man roster.
The Buccaneers haven’t officially announced a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Ryan Fitzpatrick started the first three games of the season and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 or more yards in three consecutive games.
—Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on a non-contact play during Thursday’s practice, according to the club.
Head coach Vance Joseph told reporters after practice that Butt had injured his left knee, and the club later announced the severity. Butt has previously torn his right ACL on two occasions.
“Jake has worked his tail off to recover from his previous injuries, and we feel terrible for him,” Joseph said in a statement. “He’s a great kid who’s developed into a very good football player. We have no doubt Jake will come back stronger than ever.”
—The New England Patriots did not violate the league’s concussion protocol in their handling of safety Patrick Chung in Week 2, according to a statement released by the NFL and NFLPA.
Chung sustained a concussion in the Patriots’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he returned to the game briefly after first being brought off the field by an official.
According to the statement, the official removed Chung from the play after he was slow to get up, but the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, the athletic trainer spotter, team medical staff and the official all determined it was not necessary to initiate protocol. After a few plays, the Patriots’ coaching staff referred Chung for a medical check, and he was cleared by the independent consultant and team medical staff.
At halftime, Chung again was evaluated and potential concussion symptoms were found, ruling him out for the game. Chung missed last week’s game against the Detroit Lions after being unable to clear protocol, as did defensive end Trey Flowers, who also sustained a concussion against the Jaguars.
—Field Level Media