Season, maybe career, over for Browns' Fujita

Season, maybe career, over for Browns' Fujita

BEREA, Ohio (AP) D'Qwell Jackson turned and looked at the empty chair in front of Scott Fujita's locker, where his good friend and teammate would normally be sitting after practice.

Fujita wasn't there. He might be gone for good.

The forthright Fujita, one of the league's most informed players, will be placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his stormy season - and perhaps his football career.

One of four players suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, Fujita was inactive for Cleveland's past two games. He last started on Oct. 7 against the New York Giants in what may have been his final game as a pro.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur spoke with Fujita before practice, but he does not know if the 11-year veteran will retire.

At the very least, Fujita's season is over.

``It's tough, man,'' said Jackson, who started at linebacker alongside Fujita. ``Just having him around the building, his personality and the guy that he is, it's a loss for all of us.''

The 33-year-old Fujita underwent neck surgery in college. Jackson said one of his closest friends is having to contemplate not playing again.

``Anytime you get to that point of your career, ideally everyone in this locker room, we're all taking notes, we want to retire and not because of injury,'' Jackson said. ``It's a tough pill to swallow.''

Fujita was not available for interviews. He was at the team's facility earlier in the day, but had left by the time the locker room was open to reporters. The Browns have not officially made a roster move with Fujita, but Shurmur said it will happen.

Fujita's season has been marred by injuries and the suspension. He has always maintained his innocence from the pay-for-hits program and Goodell recently reduced Fujita's three-game suspension to one. However, Fujita was angered by a letter he received from the commissioner and harshly criticized Goodell for ``abuse of power'' in handling the Saints' situation. Fujita also questioned the commissioner's track record on player safety, saying he has done more to help his peers through his activities as an executive council member for the NFL Players' Association.

It's not yet known if Fujita will continue to fight to clear his name.

Jackson said Fujita was able to block out the distractions, but it wasn't easy.

``He's a strong-willed guy and you would never know he had so much going on,'' Jackson said. ``He was the same guy, but you know at some point it had to affect him and his household. And for this happen, it's another setback.''

Fujita signed with the Browns as a free agent in 2010 after spending four seasons with the Saints. He played just 23 of a possible 39 games with the Browns because of injuries.

He's highly respected in the locker room and on the field, and the Browns will miss Fujita's leadership. However, Fujita was not part of Cleveland's long-term plans as the team has been immersed in a youth movement this season.

Jackson said he learned from Fujita.

``He has a system in the way he does things,'' Jackson said. ``He's here in the morning early, he sticks to it and he's a pro's pro. And for him to do it for so many years. You sit back and watch the way he plays and when he's around, he enjoys being here.''

With Fujita sidelined, rookie James-Michael Johnson will likely start at strongside linebacker on Sunday against San Diego. Johnson has started Cleveland's past two games, recording three tackles.

Shurmur said losing Fujita's savvy and knowledge hurts, and that Johnson and rookie L.J. Fort will need to step up.

``Just from a roster standpoint, we got younger guys playing those positions and when you got a guy who has experience there's things that he can add to the mix,'' Shurmur said. ``On the other side of it some of the youth and enthusiasm and fresher legs add another little dimension.''

If Fujita retires, Jackson knows his teammate will be successful in whatever he chooses to do next. Fujita has been active in many social causes, including raising awareness for former Saints teammate Steve Gleason, who is afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

``Whatever he decides to get into after football, I'll be right there beside him,'' Jackson said. ``He's interesting, man. He's going to fight the fight no matter what.''


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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.


Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy


5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live


Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 



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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

Marcell Ozuna homered and Austin Gomber tossed six shutout innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

St. Louis has won a season-high eight straight. The Cardinals, who are 18-9 since the All-Star break, captured their sixth successive series after taking the first three of the four-game set.

Daniel Murphy homered in the ninth for Washington, which has lost four in a row and seven of nine to fall below .500 and nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The current skid began with a loss to the Cubs on a two-out, walk-off grand slam.

Ozuna homered in the second inning, his 14th of the season and his first since July 30.

Gomber (3-0), in his fourth start of the year, gave up three hits, struck out six and walked four.

Bud Norris pitched the ninth to pick up his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina added run-scoring hits for St. Louis, which improved to 19-9 since Mike Matheny was fired and replaced by interim manager Mike Shildt.

St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games with a walk in the fifth. It's the longest current streak in the majors. Carpenter left the game in the seventh after he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Matt Grace, but X-rays were negative.

Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) left in the fifth inning after colliding with Bader on a play at the plate following a wild pitch. Hellickson gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Bader, who had three hits, also made a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Bryce Harper in the fourth.

The Cardinals, who have an NL-best 12-2 mark in August, remain one game behind Philadelphia for the second wild card spot. They are four games behind Chicago in the NL Central.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday. He threw around 70 pitches and could be ready to return early next week, manager Dave Martinez said.

Cardinals: LHP Brett Cecil was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. Cecil, who had been sidelined with inflammation in his right foot, pitched four scoreless innings in four appearances with Triple-A Memphis. LHP Tyler Webb was optioned to Memphis.


RHP Tanner Roark (7-12, 4.12) will face RHP Luke Weaver (6-10, 4.66) in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday. Roark has won his last four decision, Weaver is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA in nine career games against NL East foes.