NFL round-up: Injuries aplenty as the NFL lost two giants of the game this week
Chicago Bears will be without Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs while the Colts were told Reggie Wayne is done for the season
With an unprecedented list of injuries to key players, Sunday will be remembered as one of the most brutal days of recent memory.
Reading like a who’s who of key players, many will be forced to plug backups into positions that were previously filled by blue-chip players – hopeful of papering over the gaping voids their absence creates.
Beginning in Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to miss at least four weeks with groin injury while Lance Briggs – the teams’ most experienced linebacker - is also out with a fractured shoulder and is scheduled to miss a minimum of six weeks.
Despite over-coming the Denver Broncos on Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis, the Colts were rocked by the news that Reggie Wayne is done for the season after tearing his ACL. The veteran, who for so long was a vital component of the Manning era, has proved more than capable of sustaining his high level of play since Andrew Luck’s arrival and his absence will heap pressure on Luck’s remaining receivers.
While on the subject of knee injuries, St. Louis lost Sam Bradford to the same injury and, while the Rams aren’t anywhere near a playoff calibre team, the injury raises questions over the young quarterback’s future, especially as he’s due $14million next season.
The free-falling Houston Texans lost Brian Cushing, again, to a serious leg injury. The All-Pro linebacker missed last season with an ACL injury and is now set to miss this season after breaking his fibula and tearing his LCL.
However, following the confirmation of the injury, Jamaal Charles – the Kansas running back whose block caused the injury – was quick to apologise, something that was clearly appreciated by Cushing.
Elsewhere, Tampa Bay’s bulldozing running-back Doug Martin was also lost, to a torn labarum, but don’t expect him to be rushed back by a franchise that’s already struggling. Jermichael Finley was lost to a neck injury and, although he does seem ok, it could be weeks until he returns to the Green Bay line-up.
Under-rated cornerback Leon Hall tore his Achilles tendon - Cincinnati have enough depth at the position to cover the loss and should remain competitive – while, finally, Philadelphia quarterback Nock Foles suffered a concussion and should be replaced by the returning Michael Vick, if he’s healthy enough.
Loss of a great
On a sad note, Tennessee Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr. passed away on Monday due to natural causes in his Houston home, the team announced.
Adams, the longest reigning owner in the NFL, initially came to the forefront of the sports development when, fifty-four years ago, held a press conference announcing the formation of the AFL. (American Football League)
Since then, Adams’ has enjoyed more wins (409) than any other NFL team owner. Most of them came in Houston, where Adams’ Oilers won the first two AFL titles in 1960 & 1961, along with 21 playoff appearances.
His Oilers were the first to play indoors, at the Houston Astrodome, and when the time came in 1997 he moved the whole organisation to Tennessee, ending a difficult - at times- relationship with Houston.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement that, probably, summed Adams’ contribution to football in a nutshell.
“His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering, and his personal along with the team’s impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL.
“Bud was truly a gift.”
“Gone to Heaven”
Bum Phillips, somewhat of Texan football icon, passed away on Friday. He, like Bud Adams who died on Monday, was 90.
His son Wade Phillips, who is the Texans’ current defensive coordinator, tweeted the news on Friday, simply writing “Bum is gone to Heaven.”
The coach, famously remembered for his white Stetson hat (which he never wore indoors) took over as coach of the Oilers in 1975, leading them to two AFC Championship games before his firing in 1980.
During his tenure in charge of the team, Phillips often entertained fans and writers alike with his no nonsense comments and when he was fired following their AFC wild-card round loss to Oakland in 1980, had a record of 55-35 in the regular season.
“There’s two kinds of coaches” he once said, “Them that’s fired and them that’s gonna be fired.”
Leaving his beloved Texas to coach the New Orleans Saints in 1981, Bum remained in football until his retirement in 1985.
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