Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rams' Bradford out for season with torn ACL

JEFF FISHER shared the bad news with Sam Bradford yesterday morning.

By the time the St. Louis Rams coach began his day-after news conference, he'd had several hours to digest the impact of an injury that puts the team's once-rosy outlook in serious doubt, and to give a vote of confidence to journeyman backup Shaun Hill.

After announcing Bradford's season-ending torn ACL in his left knee for the second time in 9 months, Fisher said speculation about a trade was premature.

At the least, they'll likely wait to see who hits the market in the first round of cuts tomorrow when rosters must be at 75 players.

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"It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole at whatever cost," Fisher said. "We're going to take our time and evaluate this.

"There's going to be some quarterbacks that are released and there may or may not be some quarterbacks out there that have trade value."

Fisher confirmed the extent of the injury first reported by ESPN and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He said no timetable had been set for surgery.

"We lost Sam for the year," Fisher said. "The news was devastating to him."

The coach quickly added that everyone at Rams Park must quickly become accustomed to the 34-year-old Hill running the offense.

"We're going to move forward, we're not going to change anything," Fisher said. "We have to move on and Shaun's the guy."

In all, five starters were hurt in the first half against the Browns Saturday night. Fisher called it a "nightmare."

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was carted off with a knee injury and three others - guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers - left with ankle injuries.

Johnson will be out 4-6 weeks with an MCL tear, but Fisher said Saffold, Langford and Brockers could play if needed in the preseason finale Thursday at Miami.

Bradford was injured in the first quarter of Saturday night's preseason victory at Cleveland. He was hit on his left side by Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant as he threw a pass, and hopped briefly on his right leg before dropping to the ground.


* Cleveland coach Mike Pettine saids Josh Gordon did not play in the Browns' last exhibition game because the team is preparing to be without the All-Pro wide receiver for at least part of the season.

Gordon is waiting to hear from the NFL regarding his appeal of a possible yearlong suspension for again violating the league's substance-abuse program.

*  Veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who had been AWOL from the New York Jets since Friday night, rejoined the team last night.

Patterson, who played two seasons with the Eagles (2009-10) had not communicated with the Jets since he failed to show up for the team's preseason game against the Giants Friday night.

The Jets announced that Patterson returned to the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J., spoke with general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan but didn't release any other details.

In other news, the Jets announced Michael Vick will start against the Eagles on Thursday night and that rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders returned to practice after a recent health scare, and is also expected to play. Saunders had what he called a "very shocking" incident on Aug. 15, when a "medical event" caused him to drive his car off the road near the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J. He was hospitalized for 2 days and was still awaiting test results when he spoke to reporters last Wednesday.

* Houston coach Bill O'Brien backed his safety a day after D.J. Swearinger drew the ire of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning for a hit that concussed receiver Wes Welker.

"D.J. was not trying to do any harm," O'Brien said. "He was trying to make a play."

Swearinger's shoulder collided with Welker's head as the receiver lowered it to make the catch in the second quarter of Saturday's preseason game. It is Welker's third concussion in less than a year.

* Atlanta offensive lineman Mike Johnson will miss another season after going down with a foot injury he suffered Saturday night against Tennessee. He missed last season after breaking his left leg and dislocating his left ankle in a training camp practice.

* Carolina coach Ron Rivera said Cam Newton suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs in Friday's preseason game against New England, but expects the quarterback to be ready for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against Tampa Bay.

* Tennessee defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua broke his left hand in a preseason game at Atlanta Saturday, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said he expects him to be available for the season opener at Kansas City.

* Buffalo released veteran defensive lineman Alan Branch 1 day after he was arrested for drunk driving.

The arrest came Saturday in Cheektowaga, N.Y., where police observed Branch vomiting out the side of his car. The Bills reported that he failed a field sobriety test in addition to registering a blood alcohol level of .14, well over the legal limit of .08.

An 8-year NFL veteran, Branch signed a 3-year contract extension after last season, but reported to training camp out-of-shape and was banished to the second and even third team after failing conditioning tests.

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