Linebacker James Harrison is the latest Bengals player trying to get healthy in time for the next game. And this one means a little more to the former Pittsburgh Steelers star.
Harrison was one of three Bengals who missed practice Thursday because of illness. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed a second day of practice, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict also was held out.
It’ll be a homecoming for the former Hoban High star when the Bengals (9-4) play in Pittsburgh (5-8) on Sunday night. He left Pittsburgh after he and the Steelers failed to agree on a restructured contract.
“I am pretty sure there will be some boos and probably cheering going on,” Burfict said. “I am pretty sure I’m going to be walking out with him so I can absorb that.
“It’s going to be great for him to go back there and be able to play against his crowd. I am kind of excited to see if there is going to be more cheers or boos.”
Chargers stun Broncos
Philip Rivers outplayed Peyton Manning and the San Diego Chargers sprung a 27-20 upset Thursday night over the Denver Broncos. Rivers threw for 166 yards and two scores to Keenan Allen.
Stuck on the sideline most of the night, Manning ended up with 289 yards and only two touchdowns. The Broncos (11-3) fell at home in the regular season for the first time in 14 games.
The Chargers (7-7) snapped Denver’s 10-game AFC West winning streak and stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Denver’s smooth road to the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs got bumpier. The Broncos now have as many losses as Kansas City and New England.
Rodgers gets ready
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ checklist for playing Sunday has two primary items on it: taking the majority of first-team snaps in practice Friday, and getting good results from a scan on his healing left collarbone.
If both those things happen, Rodgers could be back under center for the first time since breaking his collarbone Nov. 4 against Chicago.
Asked after Thursday’s practice if he is holding out hope of playing Sunday, Rodgers paused before replying, “Yes.”
Jaguars stars hurting
The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without two of their most productive offensive weapons for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew has an injured hamstring and receptions leader Cecil Shorts has a hurt groin. Both missed a second straight day of practice due to their injuries.
Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley says both could practice today but that it could “go all the way up to game-time with those two guys.” Shorts, a former standout at Mount Union, is 223 yards short of a 1,000-yard season. He had 979 a year ago.
Around the league
Arizona Cardinals rookie Tyrann Mathieu will have surgery today to repair torn ligaments in his left knee. … New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie says his concussion symptoms have dissipated and he hopes to play against the Panthers at Carolina on Sunday. … Coach Mike Smith says he has not ruled out Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud, who has not practiced this week due to a concussion, for Sunday’s game.