NFL notes: Lions’ Stafford expected to start despite ailments | Football


As quarterback Matthew Stafford moved from one drill to the next during the open portion of Lions practice Wednesday, he did so with a noticeable hitch in his step.

Stafford wasn’t quite limping on the right ankle that was injured last weekend, but he sort of hopped his way into a trot the way someone would when they’re trying to avoid putting too much pressure on a leg.

Stafford practiced Wednesday for the first time since the ankle was strained on a sack by the Panthers’ Kawann Short. ESPN reported that Stafford also suffered a mild hamstring injury in that game.

But it was clear — even as backup Jake Rudock got more work than usual — that Stafford is on track to play Sunday, against the Saints.

Other QB updates • The Patriots’ Tom Brady said the injury to his left (nonthrowing) shoulder that kept him out of practice earlier in the week won’t keep him from playing Sunday, against the Jets. Brady said it’s just typical bumps and bruises for this stage of the season. He leads the NFL with 1,702 passing yards.

• The Titans’ Marcus Mariota said he feels a lot better than he did a week ago. But whether he plays Monday night against the Colts will depend on how much he can move around. He did not play last weekend in a loss to Miami because of a strained hamstring. He practiced, on a limited basis, Wednesday.

• The Colts’ Andrew Luck, who still is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is set to practice field Thursday and Saturday. But it is not know when he will play.

• The Vikings’ Sam Bradford (knee), did not practice and it is not known when he will return.

Elsewhere • Former Eagles wide receiver Ben Hawkins died Monday, the team said, at age 73. He spent eight of his nine NFL seasons with Philadelphia and played in 102 games (67 starts) from 1966-73. He is tied for ninth in team history in receiving touchdowns (32) and 10th in receiving yards (4,764).

• The Giants suspended cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie indefinitely. He told ESPN he argued with coach Ben McAdoo “about playing” during the team’s loss Sunday to the Chargers. He admitted to handling it “the wrong way.”

• Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, whose six TD catches lead the NFL, was a full participant at practice after missing the team’s game-winning drive Sunday against Dallas because of a back injury.

• Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs (groin), safety Andrew Sendejo (groin), left guard Nick Easton (calf) and defensive tackle Tom Johnson (knee) did not practice.

• Elijah McGuire might be the Jets’ starting running back this weekend because Bilal Powell (calf) is ailing and sat out practice .

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