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NFL notebook: Roethlisberger questionable, Mariota out

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report as his status for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs remains unresolved.

Roethlisberger has missed the past three games after spraining the MCL in his right knee and it appears the plan is to avoid playing him if possible. Third-year quarterback Landry Jones took all the first-team practice repetitions on Friday.

The Steelers have been preparing Jones to start all week after he replaced injured Michael Vick (hamstring) in last Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals and passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

Vick has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, leaving Jones and Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh’s only available quarterbacks on the active roster.

—Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has been ruled out for Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Falcons due to a sprained left knee.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt declared Mariota out after the rookie missed his third day of practice this week for the 1-4 Titans, who have lost four games in a row and eight consecutive at home.

Backup Zach Mettenberger will be starting in place of Mariota, who sustained the injury in the first half of the Titans’ 38-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday.

—Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon has been fined $37,363 for two separate hits on Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota last week.

The NFL confirmed to Pro Football Talk on Friday that Vernon was fined for two roughing-the-passer infractions. The NFL fined Vernon $17,363 for striking Mariota in the knee area in the second quarter of Sunday’s 38-10 win over the Titans, and $20,000 for striking Mariota in the head and neck area in the third quarter. Vernon said he will appeal the fines.

Mariota was injured on the first hit by Vernon.

—The San Francisco 49ers placed safety Antoine Bethea on the injured reverse list and activated receiver Jerome Simpson to the roster.

Bethea suffered a serious shoulder injury in Thursday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. The 10-year veteran was injured while making a tackle attempt on Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin.

Simpson is available to play for the first time this season after serving a six-game suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. He hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2013.

—Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley addressed wide receiver Percy Harvin’s absence from the team this week in London.

Whaley said the Bills have not been in contact with Harvin in recent days but will reach out to him when the team returns following Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s still a personal reason that he’s out and we’ll address it as soon as we get more answers on it,” Whaley said. “We knew the situation and what was going on with him. We found out early last week that he needed to take some time for personal reasons. We’re going to focus this week on this game and when we get back we’ll reach out to him and see where he is.”

Harvin did not travel with the team because of what coach Rex Ryan described as a personal issue on Wednesday.

—The Bills signed kickoff specialist Jordan Gay to their 53-man roster in time for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.

Gay was cut just three weeks ago after Buffalo signed veteran kicker Bill Cundiff, who handled kickoffs for the Week 5 game at Tennessee. Cundiff was released last week and placekicker Dan Carpenter pulled double duty handling kickoffs and field goals.

Gay spent time earlier this season and all of last season as the Bills’ kickoff specialist, tallying touchbacks on 63 of his 120 kickoff attempts — including 14 of his 22 kickoffs this season.

The Bills released safety Josh Bush to make room for Gay.

The Bills also will be without starting right guard John Miller after the rookie had to travel home from London because of a death in his family. Veteran Kraig Urbik will start in Miller’s place.

—Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon is questionable with a groin injury for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Yeldon, who missed last week’s loss to the Houston Texans, took carries at a walk-through pace during Friday’s practice open to the media.

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley told reporters after practice that the team hopes to have a better idea about Yeldon’s status Friday night.

Bradley said he is “optimistic” that wideouts Allen Hurns (ankle/thigh) and Allen Robinson (lower leg) will play. Wide receiver Marqise Lee didn’t travel with the team due to a hamstring injury.

—Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

Bryant has made progress from his broken foot but not enough to preclude him from likely missing his fifth consecutive game.

Bryant was injured in the season-opening contest against the Giants on Sept. 13.

—San Diego safety Eric Weddle will miss his first game since 2009 when the Chargers face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Weddle is batting a groin injury and the Chargers declared him out on Friday’s injury report. The absence will end his streak of 86 consecutive starts.

—Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins due to an ankle injury.

Clowney sat out Houston’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, marking the 13th game he has missed in two seasons. Clowney has played in just nine career games with 19 tackles and no sacks.

—Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden will miss his second consecutive game due to a concussion.

Haden hasn’t made it out of the NFL protocol and didn’t practice all week. He also is nursing a finger injury.

—The Baltimore Ravens are experiencing the worst start in franchise history but insist they won’t be trading veteran receiver Steve Smith Jr. prior to the Nov. 3 trading deadline.

Smith announced his retirement two months ago and he is having a superb season for Baltimore. He leads the team with 36 receptions for 510 yards and three touchdowns.

The Ravens are 1-5 and that has fueled speculation Smith could be moved. Not so, according to coach John Harbaugh.

“There’s no chance of that,” Harbaugh told reporters. “I wouldn’t part with him.”

—The St. Louis Rams elevated running back Trey Watts from the practice squad and waived safety Christian Bryant.

Watts, a second-year pro, carried the ball seven times for 30 yards in 2014. He has yet to appear in a game this season.

Bryant played in two games for the Rams this season and had no tackles.

—Giants defensive end Damontre Moore has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for his late hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, according to NJ.com.

Moore hit Bradford long after the quarterback had thrown an incomplete pass on third down in the first quarter of Monday night’s 27-7 loss to the Eagles.

Moore was fined $10,000 last year for a hit on Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger and was also fined for a late hit in 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings.


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