BRYANT MAY BE HURT SE­RI­OUSLY

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - FROM JOUR­NAL WIRES

Two days af­ter he had re­ported to the New Or­leans Saints, for­mer Dal­las Cow­boy re­ceiver Dez Bryant may have torn his Achilles ten­don on the last play of prac­tice on Fri­day.

For­mer Dal­las Cow­boys re­ceiver Dez Bryant’s stint with the New Or­leans Saints might be over be­fore it starts as the team fears he tore his Achilles ten­don on the last play of prac­tice Fri­day, per mul­ti­ple re­ports.

It was first re­ported by the NFL Net­work.

If it is in­deed a torn Achilles then Bryant’s sea­son is over and pos­si­bly his ca­reer. The in­jury in­cludes a year-long re­hab, mak­ing it even more chal­leng­ing for the 30-year re­ceiver to latch on with an­other team.

Bryant, who has been un­em­ployed since be­ing cut by the Cow­boys April 13, joined the Saints on Wed­nes­day af­ter agree­ing to a one-year, $600,000 deal.

It was quite the drop in com­pen­sa­tion from the $12.5 mil­lion he was due to re­ceive in 2018 by the Cow­boys be­fore be­ing re­leased.

He turned down a three-year, $21 mil­lion of­fer from Bal­ti­more Ravens in April and only re­ceived in­ter­est from Cleve­land Browns in the pre­sea­son be­fore fi­nally latch­ing on with the Saints to im­prove their depth for a pos­si­ble post­sea­son run.

Bryant was not ex­pected to play this Sun­day against the Cincin­nati Ben­gals as coach Sean Pay­ton wanted to him to get in bet­ter shape by drop­ping five pounds and also have more time to get a grasp of the of­fense.

Bryant has in­di­cated on so­cial me­dia that the in­jury will be chal­leng­ing to over­come, writ­ing on his ver­i­fied Twit­ter ac­count, “Things was just start­ing to heat up for me … I won’t ques­tion the man up­stairs … this is the ul­ti­mate test.. thank you ev­ery­one for the prayers.”

The Cow­boys’ all-time leader in touch­down re­cep­tions is un­der­go­ing a mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing exam to get a fi­nal di­ag­no­sis.

49ERS: The team shifted work­out times Fri­day as smoke from a mas­sive North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire af­fected the air qual­ity in the Bay Area.

With the air qual­ity rated at lev­els con­sid­ered un­healthy, the 49ers worked out ear­lier so they could get off the field be­fore con­di­tions wors­ened.

The team has been in con­tact with NFL of­fi­cials to keep them up­dated about the sit­u­a­tion, 49ers spokesman Bob Lange said. The 49ers don’t play un­til Mon­day, when they host the New York

Gi­ants.

Coach Jon Gru­den said he didn’t know if the poor air qual­ity would force any change to the game sched­ule. “I’m more con­cerned about a lot of peo­ple that are be­ing im­pacted by this,” he said.

TV RAT­INGS: Af­ter years of de­clines, NFL tele­vi­sion rat­ings are show­ing mod­est gains.

Three of the league’s tele­vi­sion part­ners have shown in­creases af­ter the first nine weeks of the sea­son while one re­mains flat. That is wel­come news af­ter rat­ings de­creased 9.7 per­cent last sea­son and 8 per­cent in 2016.

Pil­son said a ma­jor rat­ings driver has been the emer­gence of young quar­ter­backs like the Rams’ Jared Goff, the Chiefs’ Patrick Ma­homes and the Bears’ Mitchell Tru­bisky. That has cre­ated a buzz not only with their teams but through­out the league.

An­other fac­tor is that player protests against so­cial and ra­cial in­jus­tice dur­ing the na­tional an­them have not been a ma­jor sto­ry­line this sea­son. Pil­son noted that “a few of those folks who said they were go­ing to stop watch­ing, I don’t know how many did.”

COW­BOYS: Jerry Jones re­minded the world that he writes the checks Fri­day morn­ing.

The Dal­las Cow­boys owner and gen­eral man­ager was asked on his ra­dio show about Troy Aik­man’s com­ments ear­lier this week that the team needed a com­plete over­haul af­ter a 3-5 start.

“This is a tough stretch we’re in. We’ve been through tough stretches when he played here,” Jones said on KRLD/105.3 The Fan. “Peo­ple are go­ing to be crit­i­cal and take their shots. I’m fully aware that this is a time we should be crit­i­cized.”

GI­ANTS: Call Odell Beck­ham Jr. the eter­nal op­ti­mist. When the flashy wide re­ceiver was asked Fri­day what he hoped his 1-7 team would do for the re­main­der of the sea­son, Beck­ham didn’t pull any punches.

“I think the goal is to win eight games, go 9-7 and go to the play­offs,” Beck­ham said.

Even though no NFL team has ever pulled off such a come­back?

“It’s not an easy task,” Beck­ham added. “But that’s the goal.

RON JENK­INS/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Dez Bryant (88) is shown try­ing to fend off Philadel­phia’s Ron­ald Darby last sea­son. Bryant re­port­edly tore an Achilles ten­don Fri­day and, if so, his sea­son and pos­si­bly his ca­reer are over.

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