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NFL notebook: Flacco questionable, could be backup | News

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was a full participant in Friday’s practice for the first time since injuring his hip in Week 9, but he is officially questionable Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Flacco has not been cleared yet to play a game, but that could happen before Sunday.

Rookie Lamar Jackson, who has won all three starts since Flacco went down, is expected to start again, but head coach John Harbaugh declined to confirm as much. Harbaugh acknowledged it’s possible Flacco could be the backup against the Chiefs, but he did not address who will be the team’s starter over the rest of the season.

“I’m not getting into all that,” Harbaugh told reporters. “… It’s not something that we’re going to talk about. I’m not trying to be coy or clever. We’re just rolling. We’re just going to play the games. We don’t feel like we owe any explanations to anybody. We’re going to put our best team out there and try to go play some football.”

–The Chiefs will be without wide receiver Sammy Watkins for four to six weeks, according to a Kansas City Star report.

Watkins has missed three of the last four games with a foot injury and reportedly re-injured the foot in Thursday’s practice. He’s officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Ravens and will be evaluated week-to-week after that.

Free agent wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was signed on Thursday, two days after being waived by the Buffalo Bills, though he is not expected to play Sunday.

–Cam Newton cut the ball loose in Friday’s practice and received the all-clear from head coach Ron Rivera for the Carolina Panthers’ game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Newton missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury after throwing four interceptions in defeat last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rivera said Friday that Newton was able to display touch and arm strength on throws to every level, including down the field.

–After making it through the week with no setbacks, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is officially set to return to the starting lineup Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

“He put together three really good days in practice,” head coach Matt Nagy told reporters of Trubisky, who missed the last two games with a right (throwing) shoulder injury. “The velocity on his throws was good. His decision-making, just getting in and out of the huddle, that part was easy.

“The main thing was really seeing, conditioning-wise, can he hold up? And he did well.”

–New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee has been suspended without pay for the final four games of the season for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the league announced.

Lee’s suspension begins with Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills and will cost him approximately $325,000.

Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, had 74 tackles and three interceptions this season, returning one of the picks for a score. The team must decide this offseason whether to pick up his fifth-year option for 2020.

–Tight end Jonnu Smith suffered a season-ending MCL injury in the Tennessee Titans’ win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, ESPN reported.

Smith hurt his knee while blocking on running back Derrick Henry’s historic 99-yard touchdown run.

Taking over for injured starter Delanie Walker, Smith has 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns this season.

–Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith was fined $26,739 by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit to New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara in a Nov. 29 game.

Smith, who was not penalized on the play, plans to appeal the fine, per ESPN.

–Former Buccaneers kicker Chandler Catanzaro signed with the Panthers, as starter Graham Gano will sit out Sunday’s game against the Browns with a balky left knee.

Gano first appeared on the injury report last Friday with a knee injury, though he made all three of his attempts (one field goal, two extra points) Sunday against Tampa Bay.

–Former NFL star linebacker Isiah “Butch” Robertson was killed in a car crash on Thursday night, reported. He was 69.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said Robertson died in a three-car crash near the town of Mabank, which is approximately 50 miles southeast of Dallas.

Robertson, a six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Los Angeles Rams in the 1970s, was driving a limousine at an unsafe speed around a curve, Lt. Lonny Haschel of the public safety office told

–Field Level Media

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