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NFL notebook Bengals activate Burfict from PUP list


The Sports Xchange

The Cincinnati Bengals activated linebacker Vontaze Burfict from the physically unable to perform list on Saturday.

Burfict was cleared to rejoin the team in practice on Thursday after being on the reserve/PUP list since Sept. 5 due to the continuing need for rehab of a knee injury.

Burfict was added to the active 53-man roster after practice Saturday and is expected to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, marking his return to the field for the first time since Oct. 26, 2014.

Burfict, a fourth-year player, was the Bengals’ leading tackler in both 2012 and 2013. He was a Pro Bowl selection for the 2013 season.

Burfict, 25, played in five of the first seven games last season but missed the last nine games due to a left knee injury suffered last October against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Bengals also terminated the contract of fifth-year wide receiver Greg Little, releasing him to free agency.

—Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who is officially listed as questionable, is hoping to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bryant, who has been recovering from surgery to repair a broken right foot, participated in team practice this week for the first time since sustaining the injury in the season opener on Sept. 13.

Bryant said Friday he didn’t know if he would play, but he wants to be on the field at AT&T Stadium.

“Don’t know yet. We want to see how I feel with this week of practice,” Bryant said Friday in his first interview with the media since the injury. “It feels good being back there with my teammates. Practice has been great. I’m just trying to be smart about it. My confidence stays high. If the decision was left all up to me, you know I’d be playing.”

The Cowboys listed Bryant as “limited” in practice all week.

“If I play, I’m not thinking about nothing, I’m playing,” Bryant said. “Dez is Dez. I have to remove myself from the situation. If I go out there, I’m not going out there to paint. I’m going out there to play football.”

Bryant underwent a bone graft procedure during the Sept. 14 surgery to help repair his broken fifth metatarsal. He also was given an injection of stem cells in Colorado to help with his recovery.

—The Green Bay Packers upgraded cornerback Damarious Randall and defensive tackle DT B.J. Raji to probable on their injury report for Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Randall has an ankle injury and Raji has a groin injury.

The team downgraded wide receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) to doubtful.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers promoted defensive end Josh Shirley from the practice squad and waived (injured) tackle Reid Fragel.

Shirley was signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad Oct. 6. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders.

—The San Francisco 49ers promoted running back Kendall Gaskins to the active roster from the team’s practice squad and waived running back Jarryd Hayne.

Gaskins originally signed with the 49ers’ practice squad in 2014.

—Two days after losing Cameron Wake to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, the Miami Dolphins placed the veteran defensive end on injured reserve.

Wake was injured during the third quarter of Thursday night’s 36-7 loss at New England when he attempted to sack quarterback Tom Brady. He was taken off the field and into the locker room on a cart and may have ended his seven-year run with the Dolphins.

Wake, 33, had seven sacks and four caused fumbles in the last three games after dealing with a hamstring injury earlier this season.

The Dolphins added an offensive lineman to their roster, signing Ulrick John from the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad.

—Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and center Khaled Holmes were ruled out of Monday night’s game at the Carolina Panthers.

Dorsett is expected miss four to six weeks after having surgery to repair a fractured ankle. He has 11 catches for 167 yards with a touchdown. He was injured during last Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Holmes missed the second half of last Sunday’s game due to a neck injury. He did not practice this week. Jonotthan Harrison will likely start in Holmes’ place.

The Colts made other roster moves, signing linebacker Josh Martin and guard Kitt O’Brien to the practice squad and releasing safety Sean Baker from the practice squad.

—Panthers Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil was listed on the team’s injury report as doubtful for Monday night’s game with an ankle injury.

Kalil is expected to be a game-time decision. If he is unable to play, Fernando Velasco will start in his place. Velasco has played in two games this year. It is also possible that right tackle Mike Remmers could play center.

Rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson is also doubtful with a knee injury. He missed Carolina’s last game. Defensive end Mario Addison (shoulder) and Dwan Edwards (ankle) were ruled out.

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