Patriots' injury bug continues with Edelman on IR

Patriots' injury bug continues with Edelman on IR

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm. Chandler Jones injured his ankle. Logan Mankins hurt his hip, calf and ankle.

Now Julian Edelman is out for the season. The dangerous punt returner and elusive wide receiver was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury by the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The ailments keep piling up.

But so do the wins.

The Patriots' sixth straight victory last Sunday clinched first place in the AFC East. But things don't get easier. That streak, in fact, will be on the line Monday against the Houston Texans (11-1).

Like all teams, the Patriots (9-3) try to build depth. So, when a starter is sidelined, they can rely on his backup to fill in effectively, even if it means playing a different role. That happened at tight end when Gronkowski, the Patriots' outstanding pass catcher and blocker, missed the past two games with a broken left forearm- with the likelihood he'll miss at least two more.

The good news in that tight-end equation is that Aaron Hernandez, their other star tight end, is back after missing six games with a sprained right ankle.

One up, one down.

``Every player has some different strengths and so forth and you try to play to those guys' strengths,'' quarterback Tom Brady said. ``I don't think you go into it and you say . there's only one Rob Gronkowski; there's only one of those in the league.

``The guys that are going to be in there playing that role, (they) have to go in there and do the best they can do. That's why they're on the team and that's why we have 53 guys on the roster, so everybody can contribute at one point or another.''

Trevor Scott did that at defensive end with two sacks in Sunday's 23-16 win at Miami. Scott stepped in when Jones, a rookie who is tied for the team lead with six sacks, missed his second game, and his primary backup, Jermaine Cunningham, began a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

On the other side of the ball, Donald Thomas has filled in at left guard for Mankins, who was sidelined five of the past six games.

And now someone - or several players - will try to fill in for Edelman. He scored five touchdowns this season - three on receptions, one on a punt return and one on a fumble recovery. But he left Sun Life Stadium Sunday on crutches, wearing a walking boot on his right foot. Edelman may have broken his foot, but the Patriots provided no details of the injury.

Coach Bill Belichick did go out of his way, though, to praise Edelman's performance.

``Julian's had an opportunity to contribute offensively,'' he said. ``In the kicking game, he's done a good job for us as a returner. He's also done a good job for us on kickoff coverage. Offensively, he's done a good job with the ball in his hands on screens and routes where he can run it, reverses and screens and things like that.''

The Patriots re-signed Donte' Stallworth on Tuesday to help out at wide receiver. They had released him Aug. 27, after signing him as a free agent following one season with the Redskins. He spent 2007 with the Patriots, one of his six teams, and made 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns that year.

``A lot of cuts in training camp are hard,'' Belichick said, referring to Stallworth. ``Guys come in, they work hard, they're competitive on our team, (and) they're competitive against competition.''

The loss of Edelman could mean more work for Wes Welker as a punt returner. That might increase the chances of injury for the NFL's leading receiver, although he filled in when Edelman missed three games this season with a hand injury.

Along the offensive line, this is nothing new. Backups have played key roles all season, protecting Brady and opening holes for running back Stevan Ridley. Right guard Dan Connolly missed the 59-24 win over Indianapolis Nov. 18 and was replaced by Nick McDonald. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer sat out the 49-19 victory over the Jets Nov. 22 as Marcus Cannon took the start. And Thomas has stepped in for Mankins admirably, as mentioned.

``They've all done well,'' Belichick said. ``They're all young guys in the relatively early part of their careers that have come in here in a variety of circumstances.''

The health of the Patriots is improving in at least one area - the secondary. Safeties Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung are back after missing four games each, although Devin McCourty has moved from cornerback into Chung's starting spot.

After Gronkowski was hurt, Belichick was asked about the expectations for the backup tight ends.

``Same as for every player on the roster,'' he said, ``prepare, practice and be ready to go.''

So far, so good.


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Blue Jays players could face hefty punishment for leaving quarantine due to Canadian regulations

Blue Jays players could face hefty punishment for leaving quarantine due to Canadian regulations

As Major League Baseball slowly inches closer to the beginning of the regular season, an important procedure for all players involved is remaining safe and smart when they are not at the ballpark. With the coronavirus pandemic still a major threat to the sport and the public, teams are stressing the importance of remaining in safe environments.

While staying healthy for their teammates and family is enough for every player to make the right decisions, the Toronto Blue Jays may have another reason to not break away from the designated safe areas.

According to TSN's Scott Mitchell, players could face a fine up to $750,000 and jail time as a maximum punishment if they are outside places they are allowed to be.

To be clear, this report does not mean that the players will definitively face this punishment if they break quarantine. The consequences above are the maximum sentence a person could face. Additionally, this is not a regulation that was created by the Blue Jays. It is part of a Canadian Federal Government Act known as the Quarantine Act.

The Act relates to personnel who have re-entered the country, as they are then required to complete a 14-day quarantine. Because the Blue Jays will be consistently traveling to the United States for games, they fall into this category every time they travel back to Toronto.


The Nationals travel to Toronto for their first road series of the season on July 29-30, immediately after playing the Blue Jays in Washington D.C. The Baltimore Orioles travel to Toronto twice, playing the Blue Jays at the end of August and then again to close out the season in September. 


Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 to take care of newly adopted twins

Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 to take care of newly adopted twins

Six-time All-Star and 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey has opted out of playing the 2020 MLB season, the Giants catcher told reporters on a Zoom call Friday. He’s the 11th player to decide not to play in the abbreviated season MLB is holding amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Posey and his wife, Kristen, recently adopted identical twin girls who were born prematurely and are expected to be in a neonatal intensive care unit for some time. The three-time World Series champion spent the last few days away from training camp while he deliberated the decision.

Other former All-Stars such as Felix Hernandez, David Price, Nick Markakis and Ian Desmond announced their decisions to opt out over the last three weeks. The Nationals have had three players—Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross and Welington Castillo—opt out of the season, the most of any team so far.


“I don’t condone anybody from making decisions that they feel they need to make,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said in a Zoom press conference Friday. “I’m sure that Posey really thought about it and he tried it and felt like he couldn’t do it. Hey, to each his own. That’s the way he felt and we don’t hold that against him.”

As the summer progresses, the number of players who opt out will be a defining statistic that will determine the legitimacy of the 2020 season. MLB and the players union issued a joint report Friday that found that 83 of the 11,149 samples (0.2%) of “Covered Individuals” have tested positive for the coronavirus.


Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.