The NFL suspended New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich on Friday for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
It is the latest blow to the Patriots, who will also be without quarterback Tom Brady the first four games as he serves a league-imposed suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” case.
Like Brady, Ninkovich will not be eligible to return to the Patriots’ active roster until Oct. 3 following the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
The 32-year-old has not played this preseason after suffering a reported triceps injury during a joint training camp practice with the Saints on Aug. 9. He had returned to practice recently, but had only participated in light conditioning.
Ninkovich was a defensive captain in 2015 and had 52 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks.
More than his production, he has been New England’s ironman on defense, playing in 102 consecutive regular-season games. That is behind only Green Bay’s Julius Peppers and Indianapolis’ Kendall Langford, who have both played in 128 straight games.
Taylor arrested on suspicion of DUI
The Florida Highway Patrol says ex-NFL player Lawrence Taylor has been arrested in Palm Beach County on suspicion of driving under the influence, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky told the newspaper that Taylor was arrested after a crash on Florida’s Turnpike. Wysocky said more details will be released Saturday.
WPTV reports that Taylor, 57, was driving south on the turnpike from Beeline Highway at about 5:20 p.m. when he became involved in a crash. The TV station says that Taylor switched lanes and hit a motor home and sideswiped a patrol vehicle.
Taylor was taken to the Palm Beach County Jail, WPTV reports. Taylor, a retired linebacker, played 13 seasons with the New York Giants, helping the team win Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991.
Chiefs’ Charles is still questionable for opener
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles remains iffy for the season opener against the San Diego Chargers. Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said on a conference call with reporters Friday that Charles “might need some more time to get himself back,” though Reid did not rule him out of next weekend’s game.
Charles tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 5 last season. He has been working out for several weeks, though he did not participate in any of the Chiefs’ preseason games.
Reid was more optimistic about safety Eric Berry and linebacker Tamba Hali. Berry did not report to training camp until last weekend after refusing to sign his franchise tender, while Hali is returning from surgery in February on his ailing knee.
The right shoulder of New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty escaped serious injury after he was sacked in Thursday’s preseason game. An MRI exam on the second-year quarterback, who now has to wait to see if he survives final roster cuts, revealed no structural damage. … Houston Texans Coach Bill O’Brien says that injured star J.J. Watt is feeling much better and that it “looks decent” for him to play in the season opener against Chicago on Sept. 11. Watt missed the entire preseason on the physically unable to perform list after having back surgery in July. Last year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year has started every game in his five-year career. ...
Matt Bryant appears set for his eighth season as the Atlanta Falcons kicker after Shayne Graham was cut. After missing two preseason games with muscle tightness in his leg, Bryant returned to kick a 27-yard field goal and two extra points in Atlanta’s 17-15 preseason win over Jacksonville on Thursday night. Graham missed a 32-yard field goal Thursday night. … Cleveland signed defensive lineman Stephen Paea, a 2011 second-round pick released earlier this week by the Washington Redskins. The 6-foot-1, 310-pound Paea gives the Browns some depth and versatility up front. … The Arizona Cardinals acquired cornerback Marcus Cooper from the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed draft choice. … The Indianapolis Colts put cornerback D’Joun Smith on the waived-injured list. … The Cincinnati Bengals released veteran safety Jimmy Wilson, who played with the Chargers last season.