Saints fear new WR Bryant lost to Achilles tear

The Bradenton Herald - - Sports -

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.”

JOHN SLEEZER Kansas City Star

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.

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