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Browns could be missing six defensive starters for showdown with Rams

Coach Freddie Kitchens and the Browns will be missing some key defensive players on Sunday night.Adam Hunger/AP/FR110666 AP via AP

The Cleveland Browns could be without six defensive starters, including their entire secondary, when they host the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

Safety Damarious Randall (concussion) and linebacker Christian Kirksey (chest) were formally declared out by coach Freddie Kitchens following practice Friday at the Browns’ suburban training facility.

Safety Morgan Burnett (quadriceps), linebacker Adarius Taylor (ankle) and cornerbacks Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) are listed as questionable for the first nationally televised Sunday night game in Cleveland since 2008.

‘‘Kind of a bummer, isn’t it?’’ Kitchens said. ‘‘It does make things more difficult, but we preach preparation. That goes for backup guys, just as it does for the starters, because once you’re in the game, you could become a starter in one play. Nothing has really changed from that aspect.’’


Randall, Burnett, and Taylor sat out all three practices this week, while defensive captain Kirksey is out indefinitely and may require surgery for his unspecified injury that occurred Monday during the Browns’ 23-3 win at the New York Jets.

Ward and Williams did not participate in team drills Thursday and Friday. There is a strong possibility the Rams’ explosive offense — led by quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and wide receiver Robert Woods — could face four fill-in defensive backs.

Jaguars aiming to keep Ramsey

The Jaguars aren’t giving up on disgruntled defender Jalen Ramsey.

The Jags would prefer to keep their star cornerback after several days of trade talks with other NFL teams, according to a person close to the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because details of trade talks have not been publicly discussed. The decision came amid a much-needed, 20-7 victory over Tennessee on Thursday night.

Ramsey hugged several fellow defensive backs after the win, appearing to say goodbye in what many believed would be his final game with Jacksonville. Behind the scenes, though, teammates, coaches and members of the front office were working to try to repair Ramsey’s fractured relationship with the franchise, specifically with top executive Tom Coughlin.


Jaguars owner Shad Khan had several meetings at the facility earlier in the week in hopes of solving issues. That might include giving Ramsey the long-term contract extension he wants, the person said.

Jacksonville told Ramsey during the offseason that it had no plans to pay him with two years remaining on his rookie deal.

‘‘My focus is so high on one thing that I really try to avoid all things that are going on around me,’’ said coach Doug Marrone, whose heated exchange with Ramsey in Houston served as the catalyst for the player’s trade request. ‘‘I’ve just been focused on really helping the players, really helping this team, win football games. All the other stuff — you guys know me better than anyone — my social skills aren’t very good.’’

RB Williams out for Chiefs

The Chiefs will be missing three starters from their prolific offense, including running back Damien Williams, when the Ravens visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Williams was ruled out after bruising his knee in last week’s win in Oakland, joining left tackle Eric Fisher (groin) and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (collarbone) on the bench for a matchup of 2-0 teams. Running back LeSean McCoy is questionable with an ankle injury . . . The Bills ruled out rookie running back Devin Singletary from playing in their home opener against the Bengals this weekend. Singletary has not practiced this week since hurting his left hamstring in a 28-14 win at the New York Giants last weekend. His absence leaves the Bills thin at the position with starter Frank Gore, third-stringer T.J. Yeldon, and fullback Patrick DiMarco the only other running backs on their active roster . . . Rookie receiver Diontae Johnson told a Pittsburgh radio station that Steelers coaches told him he’s a starter “from here on out,” replacing struggling Donte Moncrief.


QB Allen to start in place of Newton

The Panthers will be counting on second-year quarterback Kyle Allen to help them climb out of an 0-2 hole to start the season. Allen was named Carolina’s starter for Sunday’s game at Arizona after Cam Newton was ruled out with a mid-foot sprain. It will be the second career start for Allen. Coach Ron Rivera said Newton is ‘‘day-to-day,’’ leaving his status unclear for Week 4. Newton aggravated his left foot in Carolina’s 20-14 loss to the Buccaneers on Sept. 12 and has not practiced since . . . Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson won’t play Sunday against the Lions because of an abdomen injury and wideout Alshon Jeffery and tight end Dallas Goedert are questionable . . . Seahawks defensive end Ziggy Ansah will be making his debut for the Seahawks on Sunday against the Saints after being held out of the first two games to give his surgically repaired shoulder time to recover . . . Tight end Tyler Higbee will miss the Rams’ game at Cleveland with a bruised chest. Higbee was hurt during last week’s win at New Orleans, the injury leaving him coughing up blood, and he didn’t participate in practice this week . . . Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said he knew he had a concussion in the season opener against Dallas but played to try to help the team win. Speaking for the first time since sustaining the concussion on Sept. 8, Shepard said he didn’t start feeling normal until this week. Shepard played the entire game in the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys. The team seemingly didn’t find out about the concussion until after the game in the locker room. Shepard was sidelined in the 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home last weekend. The four-year receiver practiced this week and is expected to play Sunday when the Giants visit the Buccaneers. The NFL is trying to determine why spotters tasked with looking for players hurt during games didn’t see Shepard was injured in the third quarter.