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Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. not ready to play after surgery, 2021 debut delayed

Odell Beckham Jr. tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last October.
Odell Beckham Jr. tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last October.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t ready to play following knee surgery and won’t make his debut Sunday against Houston.

Coach Kevin Stefanski ruled out Beckham Tuesday, saying he will practice on a limited basis this week but will sit out against the Texans (1-0).

“I talked to Odell about it,” Stefanski said. “This is my decision and felt it was the right thing to do for this week.”

Beckham, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last October, was expected to play in the season opener at Kansas City. However, after going through warm-ups, the three-time Pro Bowler told the Browns he couldn’t be on the field for the number of plays they wanted and he was ruled inactive.

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Stefanski said he decided to reveal Beckham's status early in the week.

“Just felt like that was the right thing to do,” Stefanski said before Tuesday’s workout. “Last week I felt we had a good plan, he was close, working very hard on the side. But just felt like it made more sense to have clarity early in the week from a game-planning, practice standpoint.’

“So that’s the plan for this week.”

Cowboys DE Lawrence breaks foot in practice

Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence broke a foot in practice Wednesday and is expected to miss at least six weeks, another blow to the starting lineup since a promising opener for the Cowboys.

Lawrence left the field during the first practice in preparation for Sunday’s visit to the Los Angeles Chargers, the team said on its website. The two-time Pro Bowler, who is expected to be out 6-8 weeks, tweeted that he planned to return.

The injury to Lawrence came with the Cowboys planning to be without their other starting defensive end in Randy Gregory, who tested positive for COVID-19 after playing in the opener, a 31-29 loss to Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

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Group of Saints’ offensive coaches tested positive

Saints coach Sean Payton said a group of his offensive coaches, along with the team’s nutritionist and a player, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Payton didn’t identify those who had tested positive. But he later indicated that those missing from in-person preparations included an offensive line coach, a receivers coach, a running backs coach, and two tight ends coaches. Payton said all are vaccinated.

Sean Payton and the Saints got some good news on Wednesday.
Sean Payton and the Saints got some good news on Wednesday.LM Otero/Associated Press

Two people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Tuesday that six offensive assistants had tested positive. That person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team and NFL at that point had not made a public statement about the matter.

Later Tuesday, Michael Thomas — who already was ineligible to play the first six games while on the club’s physically unable to perform list — was placed on New Orleans’ COVID-19 reserve list.

The names of most others who tested positive were not expected to be released in the short term because of federal medical privacy laws.

It is unclear how long those who tested positive will remain isolated from the team before they may return to the field or in-person meetings.

Urban Meyer on leaving for USC: ‘No chance’

Urban Meyer rarely, if ever, experienced anything like this at Ohio State or Florida.

Ten penalties, six dropped passes, three turnovers, down 20 at halftime. Confusion on the sideline and in the huddle.

The Jaguars essentially looked unprepared in Meyer’s NFL debut, a 37-21 loss at Houston on Sunday. It was such a shoddy performance against another team presumed to be one of the league’s worst that critics wondered whether Meyer would stick around long enough to fix the floundering franchise.

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Urban Meyer said Wednesday “there’s no chance” he takes the USC job.
Urban Meyer said Wednesday “there’s no chance” he takes the USC job.Matt Patterson/Associated Press

And when Southern California fired coach Clay Helton a day later, speculation swirled about Meyer’s immediate future in Jacksonville.

Meyer responded Wednesday by saying “there’s no chance” he takes the Trojans job. Believe him or not, he insists he’s in for the long haul.

“I’m here and committed to try to build an organization,” Meyer added.

It’s unlikely to be the last time Meyer’s name gets linked to a collegiate job opening. After all, the 57-year-old coach has found success at every stop, building winners at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. He won two national championships with the Gators (2006, 2008) and another with the Buckeyes (2014).

He stepped down after the 2018 season and spent two years working as a college football analyst at Fox Sports. Jaguars owner Shad Khan persuaded him to return to the sideline in an effort to deliver a consistent contender in Jacksonville.

So far, little has gone right for Meyer.

He botched the hiring of two coordinators (Chris Doyle, Brian Schneider); filled his staff with longtime NFL types instead of guys who know his wants and ways; invited Tim Tebow to training camp as a tight end; and had No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence split valuable first-team repetitions in training camp with a quarterback no longer on the roster.

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He raised eyebrows last week when he mistakenly identified Joe Mixon as Houston’s running back and again this week when he couldn’t come up with the name of his backup swing tackle, Will Richardson.

At best, Meyer looked like a stretched-thin coach wading into uncharted waters. At worst, he was in too deep.

“I was warned many, many, many, many times it’s a journey; it’s not a sprint,” he said. “We’re healthy, attitudes are good, we have good players and we’re building something.”

Meyer’s project looked like a money pit in the opener, between the defense getting gouged repeatedly and the offense struggling to line up properly.