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Chargers promote Troymaine Pope before Thursday night’s game

The Los Angeles Chargers called up running back Troymaine Pope to their active roster in advance of Thursday night’s AFC West showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The former Anniston High School and Jacksonville State standout came off the Chargers’ practice squad with Los Angeles ailing at running back.

Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ top running back, missed the previous two games with a knee injury, and he won’t play again against the Chiefs.

Austin Ekeler, who replaced Gordon in the lineup the previous two games, has a neck injury and a concussion and also will not play on Thursday night.

The other two running backs on the Chargers’ roster are Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome. Both players are rookies. Jackson has 27 rushing attempts and Newsome has five this season.

Kansas City and Los Angeles have the two best records in the AFC, with the Chiefs at 11-2 and the Chargers at 10-3. They kick off a 7:20 p.m. CST at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video will televise the game.

Pope has played in four NFL games — all in 2016, with one for the New York Jets and three for the Seattle Seahawks. Pope had 44 yards on 12 carries and caught a 5-yard pass.

Since then, Pope has spent time on the practice squads of the Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans in addition to the Chargers. He joined Los Angeles on Nov. 28.

At Anniston, Pope earned All-State honors twice. He won the Class 4A Back of the Year Award in 2011, when he ran for 2,539 yards and 31 touchdowns for the Bulldogs and finished third in the balloting for Alabama’s Mr. Football Award. He came in behind Daphne’s T.J. Yeldon, now a running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Hueytown’s Jameis Winston, now a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

At Jacksonville State, Pope set the Gamecocks’ single-season rushing record with 1,788 yards in 2015.


Another former Alabama prep standout also got the call to an NFL active roster on Thursday when the Cleveland Browns promoted Eufaula High School’s Xavier Woodson-Luster from their practice squad.

Woodson-Luster played in 14 games with the Oakland Raiders last season, when he made the team as an undrafted rookie and saw action on 44 defensive snaps and 208 special-teams plays.

After going to training camp with the Buffalo Bills in 2018, Woodson-Luster landed on the Browns’ practice squad in October. He’s been up to the active roster once before this season, getting on the field for seven special-teams plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 21.

Cleveland visits the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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