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NFL notes: Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress to have shoulder surgery

Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress will have surgery Monday to repair an injury in his right shoulder and is out indefinitely.

Coach Mike Tomlin called the damage to Burress’ shoulder “significant” but declined to specify the exact nature of the injury. ESPN and reported Burress has a torn rotator cuff.

Burress landed awkwardly while trying to haul in a pass over cornerback Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith near the end of Thursday’s practice at Saint Vincent College. Burress, 35, remained bent over on the ground for several moments before getting up and walking to the sideline. He was carted off the field and sported a sling over his right shoulder late Thursday evening.

The Steelers, who open the preseason tonight against the New York Giants, had hoped Burress would become the big red-zone target they need while tight end Heath Miller recovers from knee surgery.

Burress signed with Pittsburgh last November and caught three passes in limited action. He was battling Jerricho Cotchery, David Gilreath and rookies Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown for a spot behind starters Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

Rams tackle injured

St. Louis Rams right tackle Rodger Saffold could miss two weeks after dislocating his left shoulder in the preseason opener at Cleveland.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Saffold was sore and tests were still ongoing.

“He’ll miss some time and a preseason game or two but I think we’ll have him back here in a couple of weeks,” he said. “It dislocated, came out the back. We got it right back in place. He’s very sore. There’s some swelling and pain and he’ll have to work through that and re-strengthen it. We want to make sure the integrity of the joint is OK, and based on all indications, it is. We’re lucky.”

Saffold left the game on the second play of the Rams’ first offensive series during Thursday night’s 27-19 loss to the Browns. Saffold made the switch to the right side of the line this season after the Rams signed four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long from Miami in the offseason to play left tackle.

49ers sign Eric Eright

Cornerback Eric Wright has joined the San Francisco 49ers after all.

The free-agent defensive back signed a one-year contract and was placed on the nonfootball injury/illness list. San Francisco released cornerback Lowell Rose to clear room on the roster.

Wright had been traded to the reigning NFC champions last month for a conditional draft pick in 2014, but he failed his physical, nullifying the deal. Tampa Bay then released Wright.

The 49ers needed depth in the secondary after cornerback Chris Culliver suffered a season-ending knee injury Aug. 1.

Shortly after the trade, reports surfaced that Wright had been arrested a week earlier in Los Angeles on a misdemeanor charge. General Manager Trent Baalke said the team was aware of the situation.

NFL rejects special mask

The NFL won’t allow Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis to use his face mask on game days.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy said the NFL determined it was a prohibited nonstandard face mask.

At training camp, Mathis has been wearing a cagey-looking white face mask that covers up just about everything except his eyes. Several players around the league including Arizona’s Darnell Dockett and the Giants’ Justin Tuck have been using similar face masks, and those also will be disallowed. The only exception to wearing a customized face mask, McCarthy said, would be for a medical reason.

Mathis is a five-time Pro Bowl player and is second on the Colts’ career sacks list with 91½.

Philip Rivers unscathed

Philip Rivers made it through his first appearance of the exhibition season without committing a turnover or getting sacked.

It was a small victory even though the San Diego Chargers did lose to the Seattle Seahawks 31-10 Thursday night.

Mike McCoy, who made his head coaching debut, says he’s pleased with how the first-team offense and defense did, even though they were on the field just a short time.

Rivers completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards in leading the Chargers on an opening 74-yard drive in 13 plays capped by Nick Novak’s 28-yard field goal.

He wasn’t sacked and didn’t throw any interceptions. Last year, he was sacked 49 times and had 22 turnovers, including 15 interceptions, as the Chargers missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Storm spares Jets camp

SUNY Cortland facilities used by the New York Jets for training camp were not damaged by powerful storms that dumped heavy rain on central New York and caused widespread flooding.

While some roads in neighboring Cortland and Tompkins counties were washed out Thursday night by several inches of floodwater in some areas, SUNY Cortland spokesman Fred Pierce said the university was largely unaffected other than a few “basement issues.” None of the major buildings or practice fields used by the Jets were flooded.

Tough decision for Bucs

There is no competition for Josh Freeman’s quarterback job, at least not yet.

Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon made some plays in Thursday night’s 44-16 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but Bucs coach Greg Schiano made it clear Friday that Freeman is his starter.

The placekicking job is another matter.

“I hope for a very, very hard decision there,” Schiano said, “and that would mean we’re going to be in good shape.”

Veteran Lawrence Tynes was signed to replace Bucs kicker Connor Barth, who will miss the season with a torn Achilles tendon. But Tynes, 35, who earned two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, was sidelined by a toe injury. Derek Dimke, a rookie free agent from Illinois, kicked field goals of 29, 35 and 45 yards in soggy conditions, one of the few bright spots in the Bucs’ preseason opener.

Two distinct styles for Bills

The Buffalo Bills new coordinators, Mike Pettine and Nathaniel Hackett, have two distinct personalities reflecting their approach to football.

Pettine can get his message across with a steely glare, representing the “menacing” style of defense he wants the Bills to play.

With a preference for wearing black even on the hottest days, he’s fine with being referred to as Darth Vader or Johnny Cash.

Hackett, by comparison, is Buffalo’s “Jumping Jack Flash” with his infectious, high-fiving, chest-bumping, cheerleading approach that’s in line with the up-tempo, no-huddle style of offense he’s introducing.

They also have much in common as members of rookie coach Doug Marrone’s staff. Both face the challenge of instilling a spark to their respective units, as Buffalo prepares to open the preseason at Indianapolis on Sunday.

Former Eagles owner dies

Jerry Wolman, who owned the Philadelphia Eagles from 1963-69, has died. He was 86.

The team said Wolman died at his home in Potomac, Md. Wolman was the youngest owner in the NFL when he bought the Eagles from James P. Clark at age 36 in December 1963. The Eagles were 28-41-1 during his five seasons as owner.

The Eagles held a moment of silence for Wolman before Friday night’s preseason opener against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field.


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