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Foster, Forte, Palmer sidelined Sunday

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Foster, Forte, Palmer sidelined Sunday

Starting running backs Arian Foster of Houston, Matt Forte of Chicago and Trent Richardson of Cleveland were sidelined for part of their games Sunday.

With one week remaining in the regular season, the Texans will be monitoring Foster's heart after he was removed from a loss to Minnesota with an irregular heartbeat.

``I'll be OK,'' Foster said. ``It's a very minor situation, so I'll be OK.''

Foster, the team's leading rusher, left the game after gaining 15 yards on 10 carries. He also had two catches for 14 yards. His last play came with about nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Coach Gary Kubiak said Foster had experienced the problem once before in practice.

``He calms down and he's fine,'' Kubiak said.

The medical staff told Kubiak that Foster was OK late in Sunday's game and could return. But Kubiak thought it best to give him the rest of the game off.

``I know they're on top of it and he's feeling fine,'' Kubiak said.

Forte gained 88 yards in 12 carries, including a 4-yard TD run in a win at Arizona before leaving with a right ankle injury early in the second half.

Chicago safety Chris Conti left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury.

Late in the fourth quarter of a loss at Denver, Richardson was carted off the field with a left ankle injury; the Browns offered no report on the injury.

Earlier, fellow rookie Brandon Weeden hurt his right shoulder when Von Miller crashed into the quarterback.

Weeden slammed his helmet to the ground on the sideline and walked slowly to the locker room.

Earlier in the game, cornerback Sheldon Brown left with a head injury after colliding with Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley. Brown was trying to cover Demaryius Thomas over the middle of the field when he bumped into Stokley.

Broncos cornerback Tracy Porter left with a concussion in the first quarter.

Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer hurt his back in a loss at Carolina.

Palmer was flushed from the pocket late in the first quarter, rolled right and stopped to set up. That's when defensive end Greg Hardy came in from behind and hit Palmer in his lower back with the crown of his helmet. Officials flagged Hardy for unnecessary roughness because he led with his helmet, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.

X-rays on Palmer were negative.

Also, Raiders DB Phillip Adams (groin) and safety Tyvon Branch (foot) were sidelined.

San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis sustained a concussion against Seattle after getting hit along the sideline by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.

Davis was attempting to haul in a pass deep in Seattle's end late in the first quarter. Davis caught the pass but was immediately knocked off his feet by Chancellor, jarring the ball loose. Davis was slow to get up, was examined by doctors on the sideline and eventually taken to the locker room for further evaluation.

Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller left in the fourth quarter of a loss to Cincinnati with a right knee injury.

Chiefs WR Terrance Copper (left knee) and DT Tyson Jackson (left foot) left a loss to Indianapolis.

Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III and guard Uche Nwaneri left the loss to New England with concussions.

Chargers rookie safety Brandon Taylor was carted off the field in the third quarter against the Jets after injuring his right knee. Jets DB Ellis Lankster left in the second half with a concussion.

The Bucs lost CB E.J. Biggers to a groin injury in a loss to St. Louis.

Giants DL Marvin Austin and Chris Canty both left a loss at Baltimore with knee injuries. Ravens WR Anquan Boldin hurt his shoulder in the third quarter and did not return.

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The Ravens' future isn't Joe Flacco - but they don't want to face him in the AFC

The Ravens' future isn't Joe Flacco - but they don't want to face him in the AFC

The Baltimore Ravens made it clear after their Wild Card loss that Lamar Jackson would be their quarterback going forward, bringing the somewhat official end to Joe Flacco's 11-year career with the team.

So what's next for the Super Bowl MVP?

Retirement after a fruitful NFL career is an option, but in a league where teams are desperate for a seasoned veteran, Flacco could find himself with another affluent contract. The Ravens, too, could get something nice in return.

"Let's start with a second-round pick," former Redskins GM Charley Casserly said. "It's negotiable, we're going to keep him in pencil. Who am I not going to trade him to? Well, I may not have a choice. I may only have one trade pick. I don't want him in the AFC. I don't want this guy costing me a playoff position next year."

There are several AFC teams in need of a QB, too. The Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars would jump at the chance to get Flacco under center.

But it may not be that easy for the Ravens.

"If the team wants to renegotiate his contract, Flacco controls the trade," Casserly adds. "He can simply say, 'no' [and the] Ravens may have to just release him and let Joe go his own way." 

The former GM adds that he expects something to be settled come March. Why? Casserly places Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles as hotter free agency pickups for QB needy teams, and with the 2019 NFL Draft not offering a ton in terms of first-round quarterbacks, the Ravens may have to act fast in order to get a return on their investment. 

One team that is definitely in need of a QB1 is the Washington Redskins. The idea could interest Flacco as his family of seven could stay put in the DMV area. But can the Redskins afford Flacco? 

The team is facing a huge cap charge with Alex Smith, whose career is in question after suffering a catastrophic leg injury, and a rookie they can mold could make more sense than a 34-year-old Flacco.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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