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Los Angeles Chargers’ Mike Pouncey to have neck surgery



COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey will undergo neck surgery and miss the rest of the season, coach Anthony Lynn said.

Lynn said he doesn’t if the injury will end Pouncey’s career. He said he is thankful that Pouncey will be OK.

Pouncey suffered the neck injury during last weekend’s loss to the Denver Broncos.

With Pouncey out, Dan Feeney will move from left guard to center and Forrest Lamp will move into the starting lineup at left guard.

The Chargers began the year without cornerstone left tackle Russell Okung, who was placed on the non-football illness list due to a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots he suffered during offseason work in June.

With Pouncey and Okung out, the Chargers have just one player on the starting offensive line with more than three years of NFL experience, sixth-year right guard Michael Schofield.

The Chargers filled the vacant roster spot by signing offensive lineman Ryan Groy to the active roster.

A Pro Bowler in 2018, Pouncey signed a two-year, $15 million deal last season to join the Chargers in free agency after the Miami Dolphins released him in a cost-cutting move.

Just before the regular season, Pouncey signed a one-year, $9 million extension that keeps him with the Chargers through the 2020 season.

Pouncey, 30, was voted a team captain this season. He had not missed a game since joining the Chargers.

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49ers RT Mike McGlinchey out 4-6 weeks with knee injury



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For the second time in as many days, the San Francisco 49ers offense suffered a major blow, this time losing right tackle Mike McGlinchey for a month-plus to a right knee injury.

One day after announcing that fullback Kyle Juszczyk would be out for four to six weeks with a left knee sprain, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan revealed Wednesday that McGlinchey is set for arthroscopic surgery Thursday on his right knee and would miss a similar amount of time.

McGlinchey joins Juszczyk and left tackle Joe Staley (broken fibula) as key components of the 49ers’ offense dealing with injuries not severe enough to end their season but serious enough to keep them out for extended time.

Like with Juszczyk, the loss of McGlinchey is a particular blow to the Niners’ top-ranked run game.

“Mike’s done a good job,” Shanahan said. “He’s had some more challenges than he had last year … but Mike has done a real good job. That’s one of the main reasons we’ve been running the ball so well.”

According to Shanahan, McGlinchey suffered the injury Monday night initially when he and receiver Deebo Samuel got tangled up and it was made worse later when McGlinchey’s knee got rolled up on.

After the game, Shanahan expressed confidence that McGlinchey was going to be OK, though he had taken McGlinchey out of the game for precautionary reasons. Shanahan said Wednesday that confidence was rooted in McGlinchey’s own feelings about the injury after he had attempted to stay in the game and insisted after that he was fine.

There was plenty of reason to believe him, too, considering that McGlinchey has never missed a football game because of injury at any level.

“He didn’t take himself out,” Shanahan said. “He was limping a little bit, which he does a lot of games because those guys are linemen and that does happen and as long as there’s no bad damage, they’re usually all right. But he kept up with it … He came in the next morning and he was hurting a little bit more and when they checked it out, it was a surprise to him and to all of us.”

In McGlinchey’s absence, the 49ers will turn to first-year offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill to start at right tackle. Brunskill replaced McGlinchey on Monday night and made a brief appearance for him after an equipment issue forced McGlinchey to the sideline in Week 3 against Pittsburgh.

All told, Brunskill, whom the Niners discovered in the Alliance of American Football and went on to win a roster spot in the preseason, has played just eight offensive snaps in NFL regular-season games.

Like with rookie left tackle Justin Skule, who replaced Staley after his injury, Shanahan has confidence in Brunskill.

“I didn’t know much about him until he got here in the OTAs and training camp and got to see him then and I became a believer,” Shanahan said. “He was No. 61 for a while for me and then he became Brunskill because he was low on the radar as it started out but he earned his spot on this team and did a real good job and that’s why he was on the team and he wasn’t on practice squad … [he’s] very similar to Skule in that the game is not too big for him, he’s very efficient, he’s a smart player. He’ll got the job done and he’ll be ready for the challenge.”

Behind Skule and Brunskill, the 49ers also have veteran Sam Young available to provide depth. Young was with the team in camp, released, and re-signed after Staley’s injury.

As for adding from the outside, Shanahan said the Niners would always look for help in situations such as these but indicated the market isn’t exactly brimming with options.

“Things have got to be available,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to be able to make smart decisions. If there was a smart decision out there, we would definitely look into it. But it doesn’t seem like any are available right now.”

Asked directly about Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams, who is mired in a lengthy holdout, Shanahan said he couldn’t comment directly on players under contract with another team.

But he did seem to imply that speculation that Williams is not on the trade block are accurate.

“I think we hear the same things you guys are hearing,” Shanahan said. “It doesn’t look like there’s much movement there.”

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Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict has season-long suspension upheld



Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s appeal of a season-long suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle has been denied, meaning he will sit out for the rest of the 2019 season.

The league announced the decision of appeals officer Derrick Brooks on Wednesday. Brooks was appointed jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA.

Burfict was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders’ Week 4 31-24 win late last month. He was initially flagged for hitting Doyle in the head across the middle. But after the officials conferred, Burfict was thrown out.

The league said that Burfict will not be paid during the suspension, which covers the postseason as well. The league cited his repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules in handing out the longest suspension ever for an on-field incident.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the suspension will cost Burfict more than $1.1 million in salary and per game active roster bonuses.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Burfict explaining the decision when the suspension was announced on Sept. 30.

“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” the letter said. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game. Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.”

Brooks, who heard and ruled on the appeal, played for Raiders coach Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay and it was Brooks who ended quarterback Rich Gannon’s career with a then-legal helmet-to-helmet hit in 2004.

Gruden was asked Tuesday if the Raiders would reach out to the NFL to “make a case” for Burfict in his appeal.

“Yes, we’re going to try to do that,” Gruden said at the time. “We’re going to try to make our case. I respect the league’s position. They have a tough job. At the same time, we have a lot of confidence that they’ll do what’s right. We want Burfict back. He’s already been punished. We hope he can return to playing soon.”

With Burfict out, Tahir Whitehead played middle linebacker as the defensive playcaller in London in the Raiders’ defeat of the Chicago Bears, and Nicholas Morrow also saw extended time.

“They played every play,” Gruden said Tuesday. “They didn’t come off the field. They played great. That doesn’t undermine that we miss Vontaze, his leadership and his experience, play making and all that stuff. Nick and Whitehead, they didn’t come off the field the other night. They played every single play. Morrow had an interception. I think Whitehead did a great job of running the show. Those guys deserve credit.”

Information from ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Steelers QB Mason Rudolph limited participant in practice



Three days after sustaining a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice.

“Mason, he’s been telling me he’s feeling really well,” quarterback Devlin Hodges said after practice. “It’s good to see him because that was a scary situation. I mean, really scary situation, talk about knocked out pretty cold, now to see him here, moving around and smiling and whatnot, it’s a good sight.”

Rudolph left the field in the third quarter after Ravens safety Earl Thomas’ helmet connected with his chin.

Rudolph appeared to be knocked out on impact, but later walked off the field with heavy assistance from two of his linemen.

Rudolph remains in the concussion protocol and coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t speculate on his status for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles against the Chargers.

“I’ve been at this long enough to know that I’m not a medical expert,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got a great deal of confidence in our medical experts, and the independent neuro people that are involved in his process, and they’ll do their due diligence. When he’s available to us, he’s available to us.

“But just from interacting with him and seeing him, it’s good to see him obviously, he appears to be doing fine.”

If Rudolph remains sidelined Sunday, Hodges will get his first NFL start after making his first appearance in relief of Rudolph last week. Hodges is an undrafted rookie out of Samford who was waived by Pittsburgh after training camp. But after the Steelers traded away Josh Dobbs, they signed Hodges, a Walter Payton Award winner, to the practice squad.

A week later, he was elevated to the 53-man roster when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury. In a quarter and a half, Hodges completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 68 yards.

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