Oct 18, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman (11) warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots WR Edelman placed on COVID-19 list

The New England Patriots placed receiver Julian Edelman on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, according to the NFL’s daily transaction wire.

It wasn’t immediately known if Edelman tested positive for COVID-19 or was in close contact with someone who did.

Edelman is currently on injured reserve with a knee injury. He last played in Week 7.

Center David Andrews expects Edelman to be back later this season.

“It’s tough, this whole virus thing is tough,” Andrews told reporters. “But Jules — like he always does — will bounce back.”

Edelman has 21 receptions for 315 yards in six games (one start) this season. He exceeded 1,000 yards receiving in three of the previous six campaigns.

Earlier in the day, New England coach Bill Belichick told WEEI radio that the club was taking things “day-by-day” with Edelman’s injury.

“I know he’s working extremely hard, and I would certainly never count Julian out of anything,” Belichick said. “He’s got a tremendous will and work ethic and very competitive. Football is very important to him, so it would take a lot for me to count him out, put it that way.

“I think Julian has made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks. I talked to him the other day, and he’s certainly feeling better and able to do a little more each day.”

Overall, Edelman had 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in 137 games (85 starts) over 11 NFL seasons, all with the Patriots.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (15) runs after making a catch against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Texans WR Fuller announces six-game suspension

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V has been suspended for six games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Fuller announced the suspension Monday in a post on his Instagram account. He apologized to the Texans organization and its fans.

“Earlier this year, I sought treatment from a medical professional who prescribed medication that he believed to be permitted under the NFL’s drug policy,” Fuller wrote. “As it turns out, my trust in this professional was misplaced because this medication was NOT a permitted substance under the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances.

“As a result of this mistake, I have been suspended for six games for taking this prohibited medication. I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021.”

Fuller, 26, had posted career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (879) and touchdowns (eight) through 11 games this season. He is in his fifth year with the Texans, who drafted him in the first round (No. 21 overall) in 2016 out of Notre Dame.

The suspension includes the last five games of this season as well as the first game of the 2021 season for Fuller, a pending free agent.

Minus Fuller, the Texans could turn to Brandin Cooks as their top receiving option. He has 52 catches for 719 yards and three touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio looks on before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Team discipline for Broncos QBs ‘on the table,’ Fangio says

Additional discipline is possible for a trio of Denver Broncos quarterbacks who were held out of Sunday’s game because of COVID-19 concerns, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday.

All three quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were inactive for Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The trio tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, Fangio said, and will have to test negative again Tuesday before returning to team activities.

Fangio said the players still could face team discipline.

“We’re going to consider all that and, again, try to see what the league, if they have anything planned and if not, we’ll take our measures,” Fangio said.

That could include a fine or, less likely, a one-game suspension.

“Everything’s on the table, but right now I would say it’s more the fine mode,” Fangio said.

Each quarterback was deemed “high risk” after a meeting that included fellow quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. None of the quarterbacks wore masks during the meeting.

The Broncos were forced to turn to practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton to play quarterback against the Saints. Hinton, who played quarterback for three seasons at Wake Forest before changing positions, finished 1 of 9 for 13 yards and two interceptions.

Fangio was asked whether the team might quarantine one if its quarterbacks to avoid another situation like Sunday’s. He said the team would consider that option going forward.

“But I think if we just follow the protocols, we’ll be fine,” he added.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  A prerecorded message from Alabama head coach Nick Saban is shown on the big screen at Bryant-Denny Stadium before the Iron Bowl against Auburn. Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports

Role Tide: Saban back to coach at LSU

Alabama head coach Nick Saban plans to be back on the sideline when the undefeated Crimson Tide visit LSU on Saturday.

The makeup game this weekend was originally scheduled for Nov. 14, but LSU was experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak in its program.

Saban, 69, tested positive for COVID-19 the day before Thanksgiving. By rule, SEC players or coaches can return to the team 10 days after experiencing symptoms and if they have no fever. Saban said Monday he has no fever and thereby sees no hurdles to him being the team’s head coach Saturday.

“I’m feeling fine, so you don’t need to worry about me,” Saban said on Monday. “And just to make it clear, I’ll be evaluated by the medical staff later in the week and they’ll make a determination as to when I come back. But I don’t anticipate any problems in being able to coach the game this week.”

With Saban at home, Alabama beat Auburn 42-13 in the Iron Bowl last week. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian served as head coach.

Alabama is 8-0 and will learn its spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings release Tuesday. At 3-4, LSU is out of the running for a spot in the SEC championship or the playoff.

Alabama could secure its ticket to the SEC title game on Dec. 19 with a victory and a Texas A&M loss, but the Crimson Tide could still have a makeup game with Arkansas next week.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA;  Carolina Panthers defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (97) tries to grab Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers place DE Gross-Matos on COVID-19 list

The Carolina Panthers placed rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

He is the first Panthers player to land on the list since cornerback Rasul Douglas on Oct. 23.

The list is for players who have either tested positive for the coronavirus or are in quarantine due to close contact with an infected person.

Gross-Matos, 22, played 41 snaps and made two tackles in Sunday’s 28-27 loss at Minnesota.

It was the third straight start for the second-round pick from Penn State, who has 16 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in eight games.

Carolina (4-8) hosts the Denver Broncos (4-7) on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA;  Georgia Bulldogs quarterback D'Wan Mathis (2) gets ready to pass the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Georgia won the game 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia QB Mathis enters transfer portal

Georgia season-opening quarterback D’Wan Mathis has entered the NCAA transfer portal, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said Monday.

Mathis, a redshirt freshman, went 8-of-17 passing for 55 yards and one interception against Arkansas on Sept. 26 before being replaced during the game by junior Stetson Bennett.

In recent weeks, Southern California transfer JT Daniels has emerged as the starter with Mathis falling to fourth on the depth chart.

Mathis didn’t travel for Georgia’s 45-16 rout of South Carolina last Saturday, leading to heavy speculation that his time with the team was ending.

“As far as D’Wan goes, he’s handled everything first class. He didn’t want to be a distraction for the team,” Smart said. “He was hurt and disappointed things came out before the game. He wanted to handle it the right way and have it come out (Monday) when he entered the portal. I’m excited about his future.”

Smart said he tried to persuade Mathis to stay with the Bulldogs.

Mathis redshirted last season after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain cyst in May 2019.

Mathis saw action in three games this season and completed 12 of 30 passes for 89 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

The No. 9 Bulldogs (6-2, 6-2 SEC) host Vanderbilt on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Columbia, MO, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores kicker Sarah Fuller (32) before the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Hunter Dyke/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

SEC names Fuller a special teams player of the week

Sarah Fuller made history over the weekend.

She received some league-wide recognition for her achievement on Monday.

Vanderbilt’s Fuller, who became the first woman to play during a regular-season game in one of college football’s Power 5 conferences when she took the opening kickoff in the second half against Missouri on Saturday, was named one of the SEC’s special teams players of the week.

Fuller, the starting goalkeeper for the Commodores’ women’s soccer team, executed a squib kick that traveled 30 yards and was downed at the Missouri 35-yard line during the Tigers’ 41-0 win. Her opportunity came because several of Vanderbilt’s specialists were unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol.

Fuller became the third woman to play in a Division I college football game, following in the path of kickers Katie Hnida (New Mexico, 2003) and April Goss (Kent State, 2015).

Florida punt returner Kadarius Toney shared the special teams player of the week honor with Fuller.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Bettors heavily backing Seahawks on MNF

The Seattle Seahawks enter Monday night’s game at the Philadelphia Eagles riding a three-game road losing streak and owning the league’s worst defense in terms of yards allowed per game.

That hasn’t dissuaded bettors from putting their money behind the NFC West leaders.

Seattle (7-3) is a 6.5-point favorite among sportsbooks including BetRivers and DraftKings. The Seahawks are being backed by 88 percent of the spread cover handle at BetRivers and a whopping 95 percent at DraftKings, where 91 percent of the total bets have been on the Seahawks.

The action has been similar on the moneyline, with both sportsbooks offering Seattle at -278. The Seahawks have been backed by 84 percent of the moneyline handle at BetRivers and 92 percent at DraftKings.

Bettors also expect plenty of points to be put up at Lincoln Financial Field.

While the defense has been on an historically bad pace most of the season, Seattle is third in the NFL with an average of 400 offensive yards per game. And the Seahawks are welcoming the return of running back Chris Carson from a foot injury.

Meanwhile, the Eagles (3-6-1) are hoping to get their floundering offense on track as they attempt to reclaim first place in the NFC East.

Averaging only 22 points through 10 games, Philadelphia will again be without tight end Zach Ertz.

The over/under at BetRivers moved from 51 to 49 points, with 87 percent of the wagers coming in on the over. The Eagles are 3-1 on the over-under in games against teams with winning records this season.

The over/under also settled at 49 at DraftKings, where 63 percent of the handle and 71 percent of the total bets have backed the over.

It’s an important game for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who enters with an NFL-leading 18 turnovers (14 interceptions, four fumbles). He has also been sacked a league-leading 40 times.

“In this city, it’s all about the QB and the head coach, and everybody else can almost go by the wayside, I guess,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “So it’s almost like a two-man band, but there is enough work to be done by all positions.”

Meanwhile, Seattle expects cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) and center Ethan Pocic (concussion) to return after missing multiple games.

This will be the Seahawks’ third trip to Philadelphia in the past 53 weeks. They posted a pair of 17-9 victories there last season, one of those occurring in the opening round of the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is injured during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Report: ‘Outside chance’ Giants QB Jones plays Sunday

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones avoided a season-ending right hamstring injury and the news could be even better for the NFC East leaders.

NFL Network reported Monday that tests revealed Jones did not have a “serious” hamstring injury as head coach Joe Judge speculated on Sunday.

Instead, Jones could even be back in time to play this weekend as the 4-7 Giants visit the Seattle Seahawks.

Jones was injured during Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Colt McCoy entered the game and steered the Giants to a 19-17 win that bumped the Washington Football Team out of first-place in the division. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 31 yards. McCoy, a career backup drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns in 2010, would be in line to start this week if Jones cannot play.

“I’ve always got to be prepared. You never know when these situations pop up. I just wanted to go out there and secure the win for us,” McCoy said Sunday.

Jones was injured at the end of a 7-yard gain with 10:45 left in the third quarter after being tackled by Bengals lineman Amani Bledsoe. Jones took the next snap and awkwardly completed a 2-yard pass to Wayne Gallman Jr. to convert the first down.

Jones then headed to the medical tent and was replaced by McCoy. Jones came back for two plays on New York’s next series and then was replaced by McCoy again.

Jones completed 16 of 27 passes for 213 yards. He also rushed six times for 19 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy during the first quarter of the game against the Charlotte 49ers at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s Western Kentucky-Charlotte game canceled

A rare Tuesday morning college football game has fallen victim to a not-so-rare 2020 problem.

Western Kentucky’s game at Charlotte was canceled as a result of COVID-19 testing within the 49ers’ program.

It was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28, before being postponed to Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“We had high hopes that we would be able to play,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said in a statement released Monday. “We are disappointed for both teams and appreciate WKU and Conference USA for having worked with us to accommodate the unusual game date and time.

“We’ll continue to follow the advice of our medical professionals as they guide us to the safest outcomes for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We also recognize that having not played a game since Oct. 31 creates uncertainty for everyone involved. We will continue to make decisions with our student-athletes’ desires and best interests at heart.”

The schedule for Charlotte (2-3, 2-1 C-USA) has been in constant flux this season. Games against North Carolina, Georgia State, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Gardner-Webb and Marshall were either canceled or postponed. The 49ers have not played since a 53-19 loss at Duke on Oct. 31.

Tuesday’s game was the last one on the schedule for the Hilltoppers (4-6, 3-3).

Hill said the status of Charlotte’s game this Saturday against Florida International will be determined following the results of upcoming tests at both schools.

–Field Level Media