Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL/NFL -

49ERS LB Smith out for sea­son

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Line­backer Mal­colm Smith, a stand­out in the 49ers’ spring prac­tices who had been play­ing next to NaVorro Bow­man, is fin­ished for the sea­son after tear­ing a pec­toral mus­cle in Satur­day’s prac­tice.

Coach Kyle Shana­han hinted at that de­vel­op­ment, which was later re­ported by the NFL Net­work.

The 49ers signed Smith, 28, to a five-year, $26.5 mil­lion free-agent deal in March. They pur­sued him be­cause of his fa­mil­iar­ity with the de­fense and be­cause he’s one of the fastest lineback­ers in the league, a trait he showed off in the spring. Smith and de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Robert Saleh were in Seat­tle to­gether, and Smith caught the in­ter­cep­tion that ended the 49ers’ come­back bid against the Sea­hawks in the 2013 NFC Championship Game.

His ab­sence seems to clear a path for first-round draft pick Reuben Fos­ter, who’s been prac­tic­ing at the same weak-side line­backer spot at which Smith plays, but with the sec­ond-team de­fense. Fos­ter has made a num­ber of big plays in re­cent prac­tices, al­though coaches have been cau­tious with their praise.

“Reuben, he has a lot of flash plays,” Saleh said on Wed­nes­day. “The best way I can ex­plain with Reuben is he’ll get his op­por­tu­nity when he ab­so­lutely, ab­so­lutely de­serves it.”

When Smith left Satur­day’s prac­tice, Ray-Ray Arm­strong filled in with the first-team de­fense and Fos­ter re­mained with the sec­ond-string unit.

“That would be a big [in­jury] for us, just be­cause we’ve been get­ting so many reps to­gether, jelling to­gether,” Bow­man said of Smith be­fore his di­ag­no­sis was known.


Safety Sam­ple re­leased

JACK­SONVILLE, Fla. — The Jack­sonville Jaguars have re­leased oft-in­jured safety James Sam­ple, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015.

The Jaguars parted ways with Sam­ple on Sun­day, after he missed two prac­tices with an ap­par­ent in­jury. The team signed jour­ney­man Jeron John­son to fill Sam­ple’s ros­ter spot. Sam­ple, who played in col­lege at Wash­ing­ton and Louisville, has spent most of his NFL ca­reer on in­jured re­serve. He played in four games as a rookie be­fore sus­tain­ing a sea­son-end­ing shoul­der in­jury and sat out all of last year with an el­bow in­jury.

“You look to see who’s com­pet­ing and who has the best chance to make the team and who doesn’t,” said Jack­sonville Coach Doug Mar­rone.


CB Collins sus­pended

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Fal­cons cor­ner­back Jalen Collins will be sus­pended for the start of the sea­son for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year for a vi­o­la­tion of the league’s pol­icy on per­for­mance en­hancers.

This time, the sus­pen­sion car­ries a big­ger bite: 10 games.

The NFL an­nounced Sun­day that Collins has been sus­pended with­out pay for the first 10 games of the 2017 sea­son. He was sus­pended for the first four games in 2016.

Collins, a sec­ond-round pick in 2015, has said he failed drug tests at Louisiana State.

The sus­pen­sion will be costly to the Fal­cons’ depth. Collins started six games last sea­son and had two in­ter­cep­tions. He moved into the lineup after star cor­ner­back Des­mond Tr­u­fant was placed on IR with a torn pec­toral mus­cle.

Collins will be el­i­gi­ble to re­turn to the ac­tive ros­ter fol­low­ing the team’s game against Seat­tle on Nov. 20.


Glenn re­turns to prac­tice

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Buf­falo Bills start­ing left tackle Cordy Glenn has re­turned to prac­tice and feels re­as­sured after hav­ing a nag­ging left foot in­jury ex­am­ined by a spe­cial­ist.

With­out dis­cussing the ex­act na­ture of the in­jury, Glenn said a plan has been put in place free­ing him up to prac­tice fol­low­ing his visit to Dr. Robert An­der­son in Char­lotte, N.C., on Thurs­day. Glenn said vis­ited An­der­son to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of why his foot has been both­er­ing him for much of the off­sea­son.

Glenn said he ex­pects to be ready for the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son and an­swered, “No, not right now,” when asked if he feels there is any risk of ag­gra­vat­ing the in­jury.

The Bills’ top-paid of­fen­sive line­man spoke after prac­tic­ing with the start­ing unit Sun­day. Glenn was held out the pre­vi­ous two ses­sions, and had been lim­ited dur­ing the first six prac­tices of train­ing camp.


RB Rad­cliff added

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Ten­nessee Ti­tans have added run­ning back Bran­don Rad­cliff and have waived in­jured line­backer Vic­tor Ochi.

Rad­cliff, an un­drafted free agent from Louisville, had been waived by the In­di­anapo­lis Colts in June.

Rad­cliff, who is 5-9 and 206 pounds, rushed for 2,365 yards and av­er­aged 5.4 yards per carry at Louisville. He had nine 100-yard per­for­mances, in­clud­ing a 118-yard game in a vic­tory over Florida State last sea­son.

Ochi played two games with the New York Jets last sea­son.

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