Saints fear new WR Bryant lost to Achilles tear
Two days after Dez Bryant signed with New Orleans, the Saints believe that the former Dallas wide receiver has suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
Bryant, released by the Cowboys in April with two years left on his five-year contract but unsigned until Wednesday, was hurt in practice Friday and the club fears the likely season-ending injury, a source told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.
An MRI was scheduled to confirm the initial diagnosis.
Wildfires impact California teams: The Los Angeles Rams canceled practice after a wildfire forced about 20 players and coaches to evacuate their homes. They’ll cram their normal Friday prep into a workout at the University of Southern California on Saturday before they host Seattle on Sunday.
The 49ers and Raiders altered their workouts as smoke from a Northern California blaze affected air quality. The 49ers worked out earlier, while the Raiders scaled back to a walkthrough. The NFL is monitoring the situation in Oakland, where the Raiders are to host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon. The 49ers don’t play until Monday. Safety rankings: Minnesota’s Harrison Smith was voted the top safety in the league by a panel of 10 football writers, garnering eight first-place votes to outdistance the New York Giants’ Landon Collins.
Eagles: Coach Doug Pederson says he optimistic running back Darren Sproles will play again this season despite a setback with his hamstring injury.
Jets: Quarterback Sam Darnold (foot) was listed as doubtful against Buffalo, making it unlikely he will serve as Josh McCown’s backup. Davis Webb is likely to be signed from the practice squad. Also doubtful is receiver Robby Anderson (ankle).
Bills: Rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s status with an elbow sprain remains uncertain and Derek Anderson (concussion) definitely is out, meaning it might be Matt Barkley time for Buffalo.
Jaguars: Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette practiced without limitations, prompting coach Doug Marrone to declare him “completely healthy.”
Seahawks: Safety Bradley McDougald (knee), running back Chris Carson (hip) and right guard D.J. Fluker (calf) headlined a list of seven players listed as questionable to play against the Rams.
Lions: Detroit will be without standout cornerback Darius Slay (knee) at Chicago. Guard T.J. Lang is also out with a neck problem.
Dolphins: Three starting offensive linemen might not play at Green Bay. Guard Ted Larsen (neck) is doubtful, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee and ankle) and right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) are questionable.
Chiefs: Kansas City could be getting some muchneeded help for its leaky defense with linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) and safety Daniel Sorensen (leg) expected to play against Arizona.
Cowboys: Dallas waved key offseason free-agent pickup Deonte Thompson, while Noah Brown was activated off injured reserve and Lance Lenoir promoted from the practice squad.
Kevin Harvick shrugged off a cheating scandal to show he’s still a legitimate title contender by winning the pole for his final crack at making the championship race.
As for what exactly happened with his racewinning car last week, Harvick didn’t offer any new information after claiming the top starting spot at ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix.
“I don’t build the cars. I can’t tell you what’s good and what’s bad. I just show up and drive the cars,” Harvick said Friday.
But his crew chief, Rodney Childers, said Stewart-Haas Racing modified the spoiler on Harvick’s car because other teams were already doing similar alterations. Childers is suspended for the final two races of the season and working at the race shop in North Carolina as Harvick tries to overcome a devastating penalty issued this week for what NASCAR determined was a blatant case of cheating.
Harvick won last weekend at Texas. When the spoiler was removed from his No. 4 Ford during an extensive inspection in North Carolina, NASCAR discovered the part had been altered.
It is NASCAR’s belief that SHR built its own spoiler and tried to pass it off as one distributed by the vendor. The spoiler was offset to the right and NASCAR says it gave Harvick an aerodynamic advantage.
SHR did not appeal the penalty and acknowledged “NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book.”
Childers elaborated in a series of tweets early Friday morning in which he said SHR made the decision to move the spoiler after other teams shifted their decklids and spoilers to the right in the previous 1.5-mile race at Kansas Speedway. Childers said it was too late for the team to move the decklid for the Texas race.
“This year there isn’t a number or officiating on the offset of the decklid and spoiler together on the car. And at Kansas we noticed people we were racing had the spoilers and decklids further to the right than ours. And it was too late to move the decklid over more,” Childers posted on Twitter.
Additional posts claimed the downforce advantage was “4 counts. That’s 0.04% of the total downforce of the car. If you think 4 counts is the reason we won you’re way wrong.”
He also said there were no hard feelings between NASCAR and SHR, which has all four of its drivers still eligible for the playoffs and has been the most dominant organization in NASCAR all season.
Harvick leads the series with eight victories, but two were with illegal cars. His Las Vegas victory from earlier this year was disqualified, as was last week’s Texas win. That disqualification cost Harvick his automatic berth into next weekend’s championship race and Childers and car chief Robert Smith are suspended.
Harvick is still mathematically in contention to advance into the final four and he’s a nine-time winner at Phoenix, site of Sunday’s final championship-qualifying event. He won at Phoenix earlier this year.
Harvick, the 2014 champion, had no scheduled media availability at ISM Raceway but was required to attend a news conference after winning the pole. He was contentious as he declined to delve into the scandal surrounding his team, but praised the organization for its strong effort Friday.
“It’s more about people than it is about cars and we’ve got a lot of good people,” Harvick said. “You can’t drive a slow car fast and you can’t beat good people.”
Kevin Harvick, shown in May at Kansas Speedway, won last weekend in Texas but later lost his spot in the NASCAR title race because his car failed an inspection.