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Chargers’ James Ejected for Vicious Hit; Tua In Concussion Protocol; Jets to Start White

Monday, Dec. 26

Chargers safety Derwin James was ejected during the second quarter of Monday night’s game for a vicious hit on Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin.

James led with his helmet, targeting Dulin high and making initial contact with the receiver’s shoulder before finishing through Dulin’s neck area and helmet.

Prior to his ejection, James was making his impact on the game felt. He recorded a first-half interception and three total tackles before exiting.

Dulin, who popped off the turf immediately after the hit, was taken to the locker room for observation, giving a thumbs-up signal to the home crowd while going down the tunnel. The team announced he was questionable to return.

Tagovailoa in Concussion Protocol

Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is in concussion protocol, ESPN reported. Tagovailoa’s status for Week 17 is now in jeopardy, though the team has yet to announce whether or not he will miss the game.

Earlier in the season, the embattled Dolphins quarterback suffered two concussions in the span of five days. The first came in a Week 3 matchup with the division rival Bills. In Week 4, Tagovailoa suffered a concussion in the Dolphins’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Should Tagovailoa miss Week 17, backup Teddy Bridgewater is likely in line to start. Bridgewater started the Dolphins’ Week 5 matchup with the Jets but was ruled out when the ATC spotter determined he had shown symptoms that excluded him from a potential return to the game.

White to Return as Jets’ Starting QB

Quarterback Mike White, who has missed the past two Jets games because of a rib injury, will be back as the starter Sunday when New York will play at Seattle, the team announced.

White, who passed for 952 yards in his three starts this season, did not play in losses to the Jaguars and Lions. The Jets managed just 20 points with Zach Wilson starting those two contests, and they saw their losing streak grow to four games and their playoff hopes take a hit. At 7-8, the Jets need to beat the Seahawks on Sunday and the Dolphins in Week 18 and get some help to make the postseason.

After passing for 317 years and two touchdowns in a loss to Detroit in Week 15, Wilson threw for only 92 yards and was intercepted once during a 19-3 loss to Jacksonville on Thursday. The second overall pick in the 2021 draft has six TD passes and seven picks in his nine starts during the 2022 season. His passer rating of 72.8 is 13 points below White’s mark.

“Zach Wilson still has a huge plan in our future,” Jet coach Robert Saleh said about Wilson. “We’re not quitting on the young man.”

Jackson Could Return to Practice This Week

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could return to practice this week as they prepare for a crucial division matchup against the Steelers. Coach Jim Harbaugh said, “we’ll just have to see” when asked about the possibility of Jackson returning to practice this week.

Jackson has missed the last three games with a PCL injury in his knee, allowing Tyler Huntley to start in his place. The Ravens are still in play for the AFC North title, but can’t afford to drop this week’s game against the Steelers on Sunday night.

Samari Rolle, an analyst for The 33rd Team, believes Jackson might not return this season even though the Ravens’ playoff chances depend on him.

Joey Bosa Will Return to Practice

Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa will likely return to practice this week, NFL Media reported. Bosa hasn’t practiced or taken the field since he suffered a groin injury in Week 3.

There is no word yet on Bosa’s status for the Chargers’ Week 17 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, but his return would be an enormous lift for the Chargers’ defense. Bosa is a four-time Pro Bowler and was voted the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Gronk Could Make 2023 Return

Retired tight end Rob Gronkowski shut down rumors that he could return to the field in 2023, Gronkowski told Kay Adams on her show, Up & Adams. Gronkowski retired this offseason after spending the past two seasons with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Last week, Gronkowski tweeted “I’m Bored,” prompting some teams to reach out to him for a potential 2022 comeback, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. The Buccaneers have kept in contact with Gronkowski since training camp, but it’s believed he will follow Brady wherever he ends up this offseason.

Gregory, Aboushi Suspended

Broncos pass rusher Randy Gregory and Rams offensive lineman Oday Aboushi were suspended one game without pay for fighting following the Rams’ win against the Broncos on Christmas, ESPN reported.

Gregory and Aboushi exchanged punches at midfield after the game was over while players from the two teams were talking.

Mac Jones Could Receive Fine

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is being evaluated by the NFL for a possible fine for his low hit on Bengals cornerback Eli Apple on Saturday, NFL Media reported. The NFL is not considering suspending Jones for the hit.

Norman Signed to Practice Squad

Josh Norman signed with the Carolina Panthers and was added to the team’s practice squad, the team announced. Norman spent the first four seasons of his career in Carolina and was named a 2015 first-team All-Pro. Norman started 14 games for the 49ers in 2021 and has also spent time as a member of the Washington Commanders and Buffalo Bills.

Horn to Have Surgery

Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn will get surgery on Tuesday for a broken wrist he suffered against the Lions on Saturday, NFL Media reported. It’s unclear if Horn will be healthy enough to play again this season, so the team is working out former Panther Josh Norman.

There is a chance Norman signs in time to play on Sunday when the Panthers match up with the Buccaneers. Norman last played for the 49ers in 2021 but has yet to suit up this season.

Lane Johnson to Miss Two Weeks

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson suffered an abdominal injury that will keep him out for the next two weeks, ESPN reported. Johnson is expected to make his return in the postseason.

Johnson was injured in the team’s 40-34 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday.

Jaguars Place LT Robinson, DE Smoot on IR

The surging Jacksonville Jaguars, who have won three consecutive games to catch the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South, will have to finish the season without two key linemen, the team announced.

Starting left tackle Cam Robinson, who sustained a knee injury in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys, and defensive end Dawuane Smoot, who is tied for the team lead with five sacks, were placed on Injured Reserve. Both players are sixth-year pros.

Robinson played under the franchise tag during the 2021 season before signing a three-year, $54 million extension in March. Smoot, who has a torn Achilles tendon, is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Jaguars likely will turn to second-year pro Walker Little, a second-round pick from Stanford in 2021, to protect Trevor Lawrence‘s blind side.

Raiders Lose Two Defensive Starters

Raiders pass rusher Chandler Jones and linebacker Denzel Perryman are not expected to play again this season, coach Josh McDaniels told reporters. Jones left Sunday’s game against the Steelers with an ankle injury and Perryman suffered a shoulder injury.

This comes as the Raiders’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread after their 13-10 loss against the Steelers.

Baker Suffers Season-Ending Injury

Cardinals safety Budda Baker suffered a fractured shoulder during the team’s overtime loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday night, NFL Media reported. Baker managed to play through the injury, but he will not return to the field again this season.

Lynch Out for Regular Season

Vikings defensive tackle James Lynch  suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday that will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season, NFL Media reported. Lynch could return for the postseason if his rehab during the next two weeks goes well.

A fourth-round pick out of Baylor in 2020, Lynch has steadily improved as his young career develops in Minnesota. During the past two seasons, Lynch has made more than 50 tackles and a couple of sacks.

Buccaneers Lose Another Lineman

Buccaneers offensive lineman Josh Wells suffered a torn patellar tendon in Sunday night’s win against the Cardinals and is out for the season, NFL Media reported. Wells’ injury further depletes an already thin group protecting Tom Brady.

Tampa lost guard Aaron Stinnie and center Ryan Jensen earlier this season to long-term injuries. Left tackle Donovan Smith missed Sunday’s game with an injury, and right tackle Tristan Wirfs returned from injury after missing three games.

The Buccaneers have a chance to lock up the NFC South title with a win against the Panthers this coming Sunday.

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