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NFL notebook

Notes: Ravens hold out hope for Ray Lewis to return

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t completely abandoned hope of having Ray Lewis back in uniform this season.

Lewis tore his right triceps in Sunday’s game against Dallas and was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday. Although coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the 37-year-old linebacker is out for the year, the Ravens placed Lewis on injured reserve with the ‘‘designated to return’’ tag.

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Wednesday’s move makes Lewis eligible to return in six weeks. He does not count against the 53-man roster.

‘‘We have no idea whether that time frame has anything to do with the injury, but there’s an opportunity and we’re going to keep the door open,’’ Harbaugh said. ‘‘We'll just see where that goes.’’

The loss of Lewis coincides with the return of linebacker Terrell Suggs, the 2011 NFL defensive player of the year. Suggs practiced Wednesday for the first time this season after missing months with a torn right Achilles’ tendon.

Suggs is still favoring his right leg, so the Ravens aren’t expecting much from him yet.

Vilma practices

Jonathan Vilma is practicing again with the Saints following months of rehabilitation on his surgically repaired left knee and the suspended linebacker could play this weekend.

Vilma practiced Wednesday for the first time in 2012. Interim head coach Aaron Kromer said the Saints are eager to get Vilma back on the field as soon as he’s ready, which could be this Sunday at Tampa Bay.

The linebacker is appealing his season-long suspension in connection with the league’s bounty investigation of New Orleans to commissioner Roger Goodell. Vilma also is challenging his punishment in federal court.

The NFL Wednesday again urged a federal judge to avoid interfering in Goodell’s efforts to discipline four players for the Saints’ cash-for-hits bounty pool.

Locker throws

Jake Locker practiced for the first time since dislocating his left, non-throwing shoulder and coach Mike Munchak said the Titans quarterback is on target to return when Tennessee hosts Indianapolis on Oct. 28. Locker loosened up Wednesday by throwing a few short balls before working in individual drills. He also threw during 7-on-7 for the defense for his first practice since dislocating his left shoulder Sept. 30 for the second time in four games. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck will start Sunday in Buffalo (3-3) for the Titans (2-4) with Locker returning against the Colts if there are no setbacks . . . Pass-rush specialist Shawne Merriman practiced with the Bills for the first time since re-signing with the team to add veteran depth. The three-time Pro Bowl selection is getting yet another chance to kick start what’s been a stalled career, and he said, “I'm excited, man.’’ Coach Chan Gailey said he needs to evaluate Merriman in practice first before determining whether he'll play Sunday, when the Bills (3-3) host Tennessee (2-4) . . . Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) and Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (right Achilles’ tendon) practiced with their teams in hopes of returning this season.

Chancellor to play

Strong safety Kam Chancellor is set to play for the Seahawks against San Francisco Thursday night despite an ankle injury that limited him in practice during the week. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after practice Wednesday that Chancellor would be able to go . . . Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Pierre Garcon’s foot injury is ‘‘very much a mystery’’ and that the receiver could be sidelined for several more weeks . . . Jerome Simpson’s deactivation Sunday cost him a chance to help the Vikings against the Redskins. It also cost the receiver a pretty good chunk of change. Simpson said Wednesday that every time he is deactivated from a game it costs him $60,000 in bonus money. The Vikings built that clause into his one-year contract because the former Bengal was coming off a drug arrest that eventually resulted in a three-game suspension to start the season. The Vikings deactivated Simpson because of a back issue that caused numbness in one of his legs and limited him the previous week. Simpson was frustrated because he felt he was ready to play, but coach Leslie Frazier said he didn’t see quite enough from him in practice last week to play him against the Redskins . . . Scott Pioli, general manager of the 1-5 Chiefs, said in an interview with the AP, ‘‘Clearly there are things we need to fix, things we need to change, things we need to improve upon, and it starts with me.’’ . . . In Dallas, a second co-conspirator of former NFL receiver Sam Hurd, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, formally pleaded guilty in a drug investigation that charges Hurd with trying to set up a drug ring.

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