NFL: Jets’ Darron Lee suspended four games by NFL for substance abuse

New York Jets inside linebacker Darron Lee (58) reacts during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings.
(Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy.

The league announced the suspension Friday, a few hours after the Jets completed their last full practice before leaving for Buffalo to play the Bills on Sunday.

The suspension begins immediately, meaning Lee will sit out the team’s final four games of the season.


The 24-year-old Lee was having his best season since being drafted 20th overall in 2016 out of Ohio State. He ranked second on the Jets in total tackles with 99 and his three interceptions were tied for the league lead among linebackers. Lee also had six tackles for loss and six passes defensed.

Chiefs sign former Bills receiver Benjamin through end of season

The Kansas City Chiefs signed wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a one-year contract, taking a low-risk gamble that they can become the team that finally allows the 2014 first-round draft pick to live up to expectations.

The Chiefs announced the deal Friday, one day after Benjamin was invited for a visit. They released defensive end Jarvis Jenkins to create space for him on the roster.

The 27-year-old Benjamin was waived by Buffalo earlier this week, ending a disappointing 13 months with the Bills. He had just 23 catches for 354 yards and one touchdown while getting knocked for having one of the highest drop rates in the NFL this season.

Benjamin, who began his career in Carolina, gives the Chiefs some depth for the stretch run. Sammy Watkins has been bothered by a foot injury and his status going forward remains uncertain.


Dolphins’ Howard ruled out against Patriots because of knee

NFL interception leader Xavien Howard has been ruled out of the Miami Dolphins’ game Sunday against New England because of a left knee injury.

Coach Adam Gase said Friday that Howard might be able to return for next week’s game at Minnesota.

Howard was hurt when tackled following an interception in Sunday’s win over Buffalo. He missed only one play but sat out practice this week .

The Dolphins have declined to say whether the third-year cornerback had surgery. He has seven interceptions, including two in each of the past two games.

Bowles mum on Jets starter, but all signs point to Darnold


Todd Bowles says the New York Jets’ starting quarterback against the Buffalo Bills is still to be determined.

All signs indicate it will be rookie Sam Darnold under center after he was a full participant at practice all week following missing three games with a strained right foot. Bowles declined, however, to announce his team’s starter Friday, saying that the coaches will discuss it and decide on Sunday.

If Darnold plays, it would be his first game action since being injured against Miami on Nov. 4. Darnold was replaced the last three games by Josh McCown, who had one touchdown pass and four interceptions while the Jets went 0-3.

McCown fully participated in practice Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday by a sore back.

The 21-year-old Darnold is healthy, but Bowles’ decision will be about whether the rookie has his timing back after a three-game layoff.

Falcons’ Julio Jones returns, expected to play at Packers


After missing practice Wednesday and Thursday with a foot injury, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had limited participation on Friday and is expected to play in Sunday’s game at Green Bay.

Jones was removed from Atlanta’s injury report.

Backup tight end Logan Paulsen was ruled out with knee and ankle injuries. Kicker Matt Bryant is questionable with a back injury.

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (hand, elbow) and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (shoulder) also were limited on Friday but are expected to play.