Ouch! Cowboys star TE has lacerated spleen

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Ouch! Cowboys star TE has lacerated spleen

From Comcast SportsNet
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- Jason Witten has a spleen injury and the Pro Bowl tight end for the Dallas Cowboys will likely miss the rest of the preseason. It is unclear if Witten will be ready for the Cowboys' regular season opener in three weeks, Sept. 5 at the New York Giants. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that Witten sustained a "slightly lacerated" spleen in the preseason opener Monday night. He said Witten has to remain still as much as possible over the next week so he can heal. "It's a very serious injury and we're really taking this thing day by day," Garrett said. "He has to be very still and idle for the next week to 10 days, so you won't see him out here on the practice field. He won't play in the game this week or next week. We've just got to make sure he heals as well as possible, as quickly as possible." Witten will be reassessed in about a week, and surgery is an option if the spleen isn't healing properly by then, the coach said. Witten apparently got hurt after he caught a pass from a scrambling Tony Romo and was immediately hit from the side by Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain. The play resulted in a 2-yard loss. Witten has missed only one game in his nine NFL seasons. That was during his rookie season in 2003 when he had a broken jaw. Witten, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has 696 career receptions, second in team history behind only Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin's 750. John Phillips, a fourth-year player, was the tight end with the first-team offense during the walk-through session Wednesday as the team prepped for Saturday's preseason game at San Diego. The Cowboys have signed free agent tight end Harry Flaherty, the nephew of the head coach and tight ends coach John Garrett. He signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent out of Princeton last season but he was cut early in camp. To make room on the roster for Flaherty, the Cowboy waived injured guard Bill Nagy.

Cyrus Jones has the look of a Patriots corner

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Cyrus Jones has the look of a Patriots corner

Cyrus Jones had the look of a Patriots cornerback long before he was picked with the No. 60 overall selection in the second round of this year's draft.

An SEC standout? Yup. A product of Nick Saban's Alabama defense? Even better. Special teams experience? He might be the best punt returner in this year's draft class with four returns for touchdowns in 2015.

Jones is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he ticks off every other box that the Patriots could want in one of their defensive backs. He's a competitive player who has a physical edge at the line of scrimmage and isn't afraid to fire up field to chip in against the run. He can play press-man or zone, and his solid build (196 pounds) helps him knock receivers off of their routes.

Many believe that because of his physical style and his size that Jones will be limited to a role as a slot corner. But with good ball skills (he was a five-star recruit as a receiver coming out of high school) and solid top-end speed (he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Alabama's pro day), he may be able to compete for a role on the outside.

Jones was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. The Patriots met with Jones multiple times during the pre-draft process, and must have felt comfortable enough with him as a person to take him with their first pick of the weekend.

The Patriots could use some depth at corner with Malcolm Butler (restricted free agent after 2016) and Logan Ryan (unrestricted free agent after 2016) not guaranteed to return after this season. Jones is a physical, competitive corner who has competed against upper-echelon opponents and isn't afraid to contribute in run support. He's also an accomplished return man, who has brought back four punts for touchdowns. He was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. If Jones looks like a good fit character-wise -- Belichick will surely get what he deems a trustworthy report from Alabama coach Nick Saban -- the Patriots could make him their choice. An offensive tackle could be the choice here, but there are long, intelligent players who could be had in the third round. Based on this mock, at least.

Patriots-Saints trade fills gap in 2016 NFL Draft

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Patriots-Saints trade fills gap in 2016 NFL Draft

The Patriots sent their 61st overall pick to the Saints on Friday night in exchange for the 78th and 112th overall picks. 

That addresses a large gap the Patriots would have had after they selected at 96. Previously, the Patriots were going to wait 100 selections - until late in the fifth - before they were on the clock again. 

Now they are in position to get a body in that stretch. Their picks are now 78, 91, 96, 112, 196, 204, 208, 214, 221, 243 and 250. 

Barring more trades, the Patriots will end their night with four new players.