Lane Johnson returns to practice with the Eagles

PHILADELPHIA — Three-time Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson returned to practice with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday after missing the last three games because of a personal matter that he revealed was related to anxiety and depression.

“Depression and anxiety are things I’ve dealt with for a long time and have kept hidden from my friends and family. If you’re reading this and struggling, please know that you are not alone,” Johnson wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Johnson’s teammates and coaches have emphasized their support for him.

“Anything our players deal with, we want to be there for them,” first-year Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “That’s what we’ve based everything on, is this first of our core values, of connecting.”

Jordan Mailata, who moved over from left tackle to the right side to replace Johnson, said it’s “bloody great” to have him back.

“He just brings us a morale boost that — it’s needed, especially how we’re going right now,” Mailata said Mailata. “Glad we have him back, glad he’s doing well.”

The Eagles (2-4) have lost two of three games since Johnson left to return to Oklahoma hours before they played Kansas City at home on Oct. 3.

“Our football team, our building, is like a family,” Sirianni said. “When your family members go through something, you hurt for them, and you feel for them, and you want to be there for them.”

The offensive line is already missing both starting guards. Left guard Isaac Seumalo is out for the season and three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks remains sidelined by a chest injury.

49ers are optimistic QB Garoppolo will play Sunday

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are optimistic starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can return this week from a right calf injury but don’t expect backup Trey Lance back for another week.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo would be limited at practice Wednesday after missing one game with the injury and is on target to play Sunday night against Indianapolis.

“It’ll be good to go out there and go full go today. I know he’s limited because we’ve got to make sure he can do everything,” Shanahan said. “We’ll have a much better idea today, but I’m pretty optimistic about it.”

Lance sprained his left knee when he started in place of Garoppolo on Oct. 10 at Arizona and hadn’t healed enough during the bye week to practice Wednesday.

Garoppolo got hurt early in the game Oct. 3 against Seattle and left at halftime. He missed one game but took advantage of the bye week to get back without missing any more time.

Garoppolo said the calf “feels great” now and he is able to push off his plant leg once again.

“I didn’t want to push too much last week. But I think during the bye week, we’ve really made some big strides,” he said. “So I’m happy with where it’s at.”

Lance’s recovery is progressing as expected but he isn’t quite ready to return to practice. Shanahan said Lance has been told to stay off his feet as much as he can but was expected to do some light throwing Wednesday.

“We were hoping he could go this week. It doesn’t look like it,” Shanahan said. “He might have a chance at the end of the week. I’d be surprised if he’s not ready to go next week.”

Jets’ Mosley dealing with hamstring, might not start

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — C.J. Mosley is taking no chances with his injured hamstring.

The New York Jets linebacker could be sidelined for the team’s game Sunday at New England after he said Wednesday he was hurt on the second-to-last play of New York’s 27-20 loss to Atlanta in London on Oct. 10.

Coach Robert Saleh said Mosley and the team remain “hopeful” he’ll play. But Mosley didn’t participate in practice and will be evaluated each day to determine if he’ll be able to play for the 1-4 Jets.

“It’s something that if you get back too early or you try to push too fast, it can make things worse,” Mosley said. “So, honestly, it’s really just a day-to-day thing. You know, get my rehab in every day and do my workouts with our trainers and everything.”

Mosley is a team captain who leads the Jets with 45 overall tackles after missing most of the past two seasons. A groin/core muscle injury limited him to two games in 2019 in his first season with New York, and Mosley opted out last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He feels good about (playing),” Saleh said. “When it comes to those lower-extremity injuries, you just kind of feel the player out. Each player is different, however it shows up on the MRI.”

While a different injury, Mosley has some experience with coming back too soon.

— The Associated Press

After injuring his groin in the opener of the 2019 season, Mosley sat out four games before returning — and re-injuring himself. He ended up on injured reserve and missed the rest of that season.

“That’s definitely something that I look back on,” Mosley said. “If you rush it back too early, you can injure it even more. It’s feeling good right now.”

Saleh wouldn’t divulge the severity of the hamstring injury when asked what grade of strain Mosley has. Mosley said his status for the game could come down to how he feels during pregame warmups Sunday morning.

“He feels confident,” Saleh said. “He said he has dealt with these before and we’re 10 days out now, so we’ll see how the week goes.”

If Mosley can’t play, the Jets will be a bit short-handed at the middle linebacker spot.

Projected starter Jarrad Davis remains sidelined with a left ankle injury suffered during training camp, and isn’t expected to be activated from injured reserve this week. Rookie Hamsah Nasirildeen also remains on IR with a knee injury.

Rookie Jamien Sherwood would likely take over Mosley’s role as the Mike linebacker who relays plays to the defense. Quincy Williams, a waiver claim from Jacksonville, has been a pleasant surprise while ranking second on the team with 31 tackles. The Jets also have Blake Cashman on the active roster, and linebacker Noah Dawkins on the practice squad. New York protected Dawkins on the practice squad this week to assure he wouldn’t be signed by another team.

“We’re fine at the linebacker spot with a lot of guys who have been getting a lot of playing time,” Saleh insisted.

In other injuries, safety Marcus Maye practiced on a limited basis and is expected to play this week after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Tyler Kroft, who missed the game at London, sat out with a back injury. He previously appeared on the injury report with a rib ailment.

“I give him credit,” Saleh said. “It’s not easy what he’s going through.”

Safety Adrian Colbert (concussion), defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd (knee) and wide receiver Jeff Smith (concussion) were all full participants at practice.

NFL is kicking off $6.2M responsible betting campaign

AP-FBN-NFL-Responsible-Gambling, 1st Ld-Writethru

Oct 20, 2021 12:14 PM — 782 words

By WAYNE PARRY Associated Press

Eds: UPDATES: Links photos. With AP Photos.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The NFL is spending $6.2 million to help expand programs to prevent or treat problem gambling across the country.

The league is launching a responsible betting initiative aimed at getting fans to set limits on their wagers, understand the risks of betting and know where to get help if things get out of hand. It is partnering with the National Council on Problem Gambling to improve the group’s nationwide help line, create new treatment programs and expand existing ones, and educate football fans who gamble on how to do so responsibly.

A three-year effort will include in-game messaging, social media outreach, broadcast, print and in-stadium messaging. Some of it will target people who are too young to legally gamble but may feel tempted to do so.

More than 45 million Americans say they plan to bet on NFL games this year, according to the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. That’s an increase of 36% from last year.

“Sports betting is supposed to be fun,” said Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s executive vice president, chief strategy and growth officer. “We feel it is critical that the NFL uses the power of our voice to educate and encourage fans who choose to gamble to do so in a safe and responsible way. We also recognize that responsible betting programs across the country are under-resourced, especially as legalization spreads nationwide.”

Keith Whyte, executive director of the council, said the NFL’s funding will enable it to “exponentially” expand its advocacy, awareness and assistance efforts regarding problem gambling.

“We will be able to help so many more people as a result of this,” he said. “The NFL has set an example for the other professional sports leagues who also need to realize their obligation to address the downside of sports betting as much as they embrace the upside.”

Whyte said about 2% of the U.S. population has a gambling problem, but among those who have gambled within the last 12 months, the rate is 5%.

He said the need for compulsive gambling treatment and prevention has grown since New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting. Half the states currently do.

“We think the risk has doubled since then,” Whyte said.

He said the council is seeing more respondents to its surveys say they believe gambling is a good way to make money, that they frequently rely on it as a way to pay for daily living expenses, and that they lie about their gambling to family members — all indicators of a potential gambling problem.

Whyte said the council plans to offer grants to local groups to develop programs aimed at young people, including those under the legal gambling age of 21.

“By the time kids come to college, the majority of student-athletes has already bet on sports,” he said.

Whyte said talks are underway that could lead to similar agreements with the NBA, Major League Baseball and the Women’s Tennis Association.

The NFL says it will work with its official sports betting partners — Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel — to share information and support the effort. Each of those sports betting operators has developed its own responsible gambling program.

“Anyone with a role in legal gaming shares a mutual interest and critical role in reducing the incidence of and harm caused by problem gambling,” said Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital.

A central message of the campaign will be the slogan “Stick to Your Game Plan. Always Bet Responsibly.”

It will encourage gamblers to decide in advance what and how much they will bet on, to know their own limitations and tendencies and to understand how betting and sports books work. It also will direct them to the website for additional resources.

Halpin said about 17% of NFL fans aged 21 and over describe themselves as frequent sports bettors, although the term has not been defined. An additional 30% describe themselves as casual bettors (who may enter office Super Bowl pools) or aspirational bettors, who say they want to bet once it becomes legal in their state.

“As legalization expands, problem gambling grows,” Halpin said. “For the casual bettor, now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach them what responsible betting looks like: mindfulness, setting betting budgets, knowing your operator, knowing how parlays and other kinds of bets work. We intend to get this right.”