D'Onta Foreman

Returned To Practice: Foreman, Canady

With more than half of the 2018 campaign in the books, NFL clubs are beginning to activate injured players who were previously placed on various reserve lists (injured reserve, non-football injury list, physically unable to perform list, etc.). A couple of notable players who were on said lists returned to practice this week, and we’ll take a closer look at their respective situations below:

  • Texans running back D’Onta Foreman returned to practice on Wednesday, head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, including Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Foreman, 22, tore his Achilles last November and has taken a full year to recover — he began the 2018 regular season on the PUP list and has resided there ever since. A third-round pick in the 2017 draft, Foreman managed 78 attempts for 327 yards and two touchdowns in his abbreviated rookie campaign. Houston’s rushing offense currently ranks just 29th in efficiency, per Football Outsiders, and while much of those struggles can be attributed to a poor offensive line, Foreman could be part of an improvement while seeing snaps behind Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue. Now that he’s back at practice, Blue can be activate at any point during the next three weeks.
  • The Ravens have designated cornerback Maurice Canady to return from injured reserve, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Canady, a 2016 draft selection, has actually been placed on IR in each of his three NFL campaigns. Last season, a thigh issue — the same injury that knocked him out earlier this year — was the culprit, but Canady eventually came off IR in November. Baltimore, of course, already has top-end talent at cornerback, with Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, and Tavon Young seeing most of the snaps in the Ravens’ secondary, but Canady could see special teams action if he comes back. Like Foreman, Canady’s return to practice opens a three-week window during which Baltimore must either place him on its 53-man roster or leave him on IR for the rest of the year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

D’Onta Foreman To Return To Practice

Texans RB D’Onta Foreman is expected to return to practice this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Foreman has been on the PUP list since the spring as he continues to battle back from a torn Achilles that prematurely ended his rookie campaign last November.

It was an especially tough blow for Foreman, as he suffered the injury during the best game of his brief NFL career, a performance that saw him carry the ball ten times for 65 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clinching score. A third-round pick out of Texas, Foreman was drafted to be the team’s long-term answer at running back.

And he may still be the player Houston hoped for, though veteran Lamar Miller is enjoying a strong 2018 season with a 4.5 yards per carry average on 113 totes. But despite Miller’s contributions, the Texans’ running game as a whole is just 23rd in the league in overall efficiency, per Football Outsiders, so the team would surely love to get Foreman back in the mix.

If and when he suits up, Foreman would likely take over most of Alfred Blue‘s touches. Blue has appeared in all eight games for Houston this season, including one start. He has 79 carries for 258 yards, which amounts to an unimpressive 3.3 YPC average that is roughly in line with his 3.6 career mark.

Once Foreman returns to practice, the team will have 21 days to decide whether to add him to the roster. The Texans have won five in a row and have established themselves as heavy favorites to win the AFC South.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Henderson, Broncos, Bengals, Erickson, Texans, Foreman

Carlos Henderson’s Broncos career got off to a bad start and never recovered. First, he missed his entire rookie season with a hand injury. Then he was arrested, which ultimately resulted in a one game suspension for the young receiver. Then Denver drafted two more receivers in this year’s draft.

On top of it all, Henderson was away from the Broncos most of this offseason due to a personal issue. All of it resulted in the Broncos cutting Henderson, the 82nd pick of the 2017 draft, before he ever played a snap with the team. But Denver isn’t giving up on him yet, signing Henderson to their practice squad. Henderson reportedly met with John Elway just before cut-down day to plead his case, and after that the team agreed to give him another chance according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic.

Here’s more from the AFC:

AFC South Notes: Texans, Watt, Colts

J.J. Watt continues to insist he will be on the field with his Texans teammates when they open the regular season, but the severe injury he sustained last season — a tibeal plateau fracture — did not have doctors 100 percent certain the three-time defensive player of the year would play again.

They weren’t even sure if the surgery would work and if he would be able to run anymore. That’s what was so scary for us,” said Watt’s girlfriend, pro soccer player Kealia Ohai, via Jenny Vrentas of SI.com. “An ACL is difficult, but it’s pretty straightforward. With J.J.’s, because of the type of injury, I remember the doctors were not exactly sure how his leg and his knee would react to [the surgery]. From the beginning, he wanted to work hard and come back. But for a while, [the question] was, would he be able to come back and play at the same level, and support that much weight? Will his leg ever be the same again?

Watt’s returned to Texans practice, taking part in team drills, but he’s now missed 24 games over the past two seasons. It’s uncertain how the 29-year-old defensive end will look after this extensive rehab process.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • D’Onta Foreman likely will not be joining Watt and other healthy Texans in Week 1. The second-year running back is likely to land on the Reserve/PUP list to start the season, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes. Foreman currently resides on the Active/PUP list, but if Houston places him on the regular-season version of the PUP, he must sit at least six weeks. Alfred Blue will take Foreman’s place as Lamar Miller‘s primary backup. Foreman tore an Achilles’ tendon in November.
  • The Colts‘ backfield might not have its projected leader back by the season’s first Sunday. Marlon Mack‘s nursing a hamstring injury, and it’s “no slam dunk” he’ll be available for the opener, Frank Reich said (via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, on Twitter). While the Colts are hopeful the second-year back can return by then and take his place with the starting offense, they may have to wait a bit for that to occur. The Colts will also be without Robert Turbin for the first four games of the season due to a suspension; they have rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, along with the well-traveled Christine Michael, in their backfield behind Mack.
  • The Jets contacted the Jaguars this week regarding the trade availability of Dante Fowler.
  • Derrick Morgan appears likely to miss the start of the Titans’ season due to meniscus surgery.

Extra Points: Panthers, Cardinals, Texans

Earlier this offseason, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis made it sound like 2018 was going to be his final season in the NFL. However, the veteran acknowledged last month that he was open to continuing his playing career in 2019. Today, the 35-year-old echoed that sentiment, telling Panthers.com that his impending four-game suspension played a role in him changing his mind.

“I look at the way things transpired this offseason and think back to, really, my legacy and the things that I’ve been able to do as a football player,” Davis said. “I don’t want to leave on a sour note. You never want to walk away from the game knowing that you served a four-game suspension. That’s my mindset right now.”

Davis, who finished last season with 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 15 games, has been especially upbeat during this year’s training camp.

“When you factor in that (suspension), and the fact that I may not ever get another training camp – I embrace it every day,” Davis said. “Talk trash to Cam (Newton) at a high level daily. Just competing and having fun with my teammates – that’s what training camp is all about.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Markus Golden is still working his way back from an ACL injury that ended his 2017 campaign. The Cardinals defensive end hasn’t been able to participate in coach Steve Wilks and coordinator Al Holcomb‘s defense, but he’s still found reasons to be encouraged heading into next season. “Ever since I got injured – especially once I found out I wasn’t going to be in camp – I wanted to encourage guys,” Golden told Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “You can tell they are competing. And that’s what I want to see.” Specifically, Golden was pointing to the trio of players who are stepping up in his absence: Vontarrius Dora, Benson Mayowa and Arthur Moats.
  • While Texans running back D’Onta Foreman remains on the physically unable to perform list, it sounds like the second-year weapon is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. “I think he’s progressing well,” coach Bill O’Brien told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I think he’s doing well. He’s on the right track, and we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes, but I think he’s headed in the right direction.” Foreman’s season ended in November, at which point he had compiled 327 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots moved on from wideout Malcolm Mitchell earlier today. The former fourth-rounder had been unable to stay healthy during his stint in New England.

AFC Notes: Mason, Herndon, Foreman

Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.

Reiss also observes that other key players, like DE Trey Flowers and K Stephen Gostkowski, are entering the last year of their respective contracts, but he does not offer an opinion as to how those negotiations will play out.

Now for more notes from the AFC:

  • More details have emerged regarding the arrest of Jets‘ rookie TE Chris Herndon. Herndon, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was charged with driving while intoxicated several weeks ago, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, an eyewitness told New Jersey State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph. Herndon’s SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire, and the SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. Eyewitness reports are notoriously shaky, but if this one is accurate, it will not bode well for Herndon, either from an NFL or legal perspective.
  • The Bills‘ WR corps is pretty thin overall, so second-year wideout Zay Jones — whom the team selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — is generally considered to have a stranglehold on Buffalo’s No. 2 wideout job opposite Kelvin Benjamin. However, Jones has dealt with some issues this offseason, as he was arrested in March and underwent knee surgery, and new GM Brandon Beane said the East Carolina product will not be handed anything. During an interview with WGR 550 (via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com), Beane said, “He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line. He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or A.J. [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides an in-depth look at Texans RB D’Onta Foreman‘s recovery from a torn Achilles, which ended his rookie campaign prematurely in November. There is still no specific date for Foreman’s return, and it is unlikely he will be a full participant at the beginning of training camp next month (even the 2018 regular season opener is up in the air at this point). However, the former Texas standout remains confident that he will eventually regain the form that made him a 2017 third-round pick and the heir apparent to Lamar Miller.
  • The Ravens have some depth along their offensive line, part of which is last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Siragusa suffered a brutal injury last August, as he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Of course, that ended his rookie campaign before it began, but as Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes, Siragusa was able to fully participate in last week’s minicamp. He will compete for a backup role this year and could soon become a starting guard or center if he can remain healthy. Alex Lewis, who also missed the entire 2017 season, is expected to start somewhere along the O-line this year — either at left guard, center, or right tackle — but he was held out of minicamp due to back spasms. Head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis should be ready for training camp, but the Nebraska product’s injury history will be cause for concern until he can manage to stay out of the training room for an extended period of time.
  • Tyler Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, will be given every opportunity to win the Steelers‘ starting ILB job alongside Vince Williams, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. Pittsburgh has a gaping hole at that spot due to Ryan Shazier‘s horrific injury, but the team is confident Matakevich is ready to take the reins. He will need to fend off veteran Jon Bostic, whom the team signed this offseason.

South Rumors: Melvin, Saints, Foreman, Jags

After bouncing around during the 2014 and ’15 seasons, Rashaan Melvin found stability with the Colts over the past two years. He would like to stay in Indianapolis and added the Colts have informed him they would like to have him back as well.

I’m waiting to see exactly where we stand,” the impending UFA said of he and the Colts during a Sirius XM Radio interview (Twitter link). “I know it’s all positive. They told me they want me to be back. That’s where my career blossomed, so I wouldn’t mind going back there. There’s a lot of potential there.”

Melvin started 19 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons with the Colts and was the team’s best corner last season. A hand injury halted Melvin’s breakout campaign after 10 games, but the work he did prior to that will make him a sought-after player on the market. The Colts are projected to hold $74MM-plus in cap space, a figure that currently sits third in the league, so they could afford Melvin. But the team now has a new coach in Frank Reich and new DC in Matt Eberflus. That could complicate Melvin staying in Indianapolis, but it’s obviously not a deal-breaker.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • The Saints have some key free agents, both RFAs and UFAs, to possibly retain. But Kenny Vaccaro looks to be on his way out of New Orleans, Larry Holder of NOLA.com writes. Vaccaro was the subject of rampant trade rumors prior to the 2017 deadline, with the Cowboys being mentioned as a team discussing a deal for the safety. Vaccaro’s Saints run may have ended with an IR trip in December. He will join a talented safety UFA contingent, one that also features Eric Reid, Tre Boston and Morgan Burnett. Vaccaro started for five seasons with the Saints and turned 28 in January.
  • Holder could see the Saints offering an RFA tender to neither Willie Snead nor Brandon Coleman and creating a need at wideout. An original-round tender would cost the team $1.9MM. While that would seem like an insult to Snead given his 2015 and ’16 production, he disappeared from the Saints’ offense last season after returning from an early-season suspension. The sides were in talks about an extension last summer, but Snead ended up playing on an ERFA tender. He then caught just eight passes for 92 yards; that came after two seasons of at least 895 air yards. Holder estimates the Saints will not tender Coleman but could see the sides reuniting for a lower amount. He does not envision Snead staying in New Orleans for a lower amount if the Saints non-tender him.
  • Despite tearing his Achilles’ tendon in late November, Texans running back D’Onta Foreman is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018 season, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports. Foreman’s ongoing rehab could give Miller one more chance, but if the second-year ball-carrier can come back healthy, Barshop could see this being closer to a timeshare going forward rather than a starter-complement situation.
  • The JaguarsBlake Bortles extension, despite being an $18MM-AAV pact, doubles as a way for the team to seek more UFA help this offseason while looking in the draft for a developmental passer to possibly succeed the incumbent, Mike Kaye of First Coast News writes. Kaye notes a tight end would be high on the Jags’ list of possible upgrades via free agency. The Julius Thomas pact did not work out for the team, and Marcedes Lewis has one year left on his deal and would be entering his 13th season. Bortles’ deal being for low-end starter money would allow the team to draft a quarterback soon while Bortles either develops or flounders. That said, Jacksonville is taking a risk in the short term considering how close it was to its first Super Bowl berth and the limitations associated with a Bortles-led offense.

Texans RB D’Onta Foreman Has Charges Dropped

All charges stemming from D’Onta Foreman‘s 2017 arrest have been dismissed, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The Texans rookie running back was arrested last July in Austin and was facing marijuana and gun charges.

D'Onta Foreman (Vertical)Foreman ultimately pleaded no contest to “misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for making unreasonable noise,” tweets Wilson. These charges will be dismissed if the player avoids legal issues for 90 days. Foreman was also required to pay a $500 fine and turn in the gun that was found in his car.

“Everybody’s happy,” attorney Chip Lewis said“They dismissed the cases and let him plea to the disorderly conduct charge. D’Onta is relieved. He’s learned a great deal from this. You have to be very cognizant of what you do and who you do with it.”

According to the attorney, the NFL told Foreman and his agent that he wouldn’t face any disciplinary action if the charges were dismissed (Twitter link).

The former Texas star was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft, and he proceeded to play in 10 games (including one start). Serving as Lamar Miller‘s backup, Foreman ultimately ran for 327 yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries. The rookie’s season ended prematurely after he suffered a torn Achilles in mid-November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Fear D’Onta Foreman Tore Achilles

Fresh off the best game of his career, Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).D'Onta Foreman (Vertical)

A third-round pick out of Texas earlier this year, Foreman had served as the backup to Lamar Miller, and had posted 68 rushes heading into Week 11. Today’s contest against the Cardinals was the top performance of Foreman’s short NFL tenure, as he handled 10 carries for 65 yards and scored two touchdowns, including one that proved decisive in Sunday’s victory.

Houston, of course, is no stranger to injury luck this season, as the club had already lost superstar rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to a torn ACL. Wideout Will Fuller missed today’s game with a rib injury, while the Texans are also playing without stalwart left tackle Duane Brown, whom the team dealt to Seattle earlier this month. Without that talent present, Houston has only a nine percent chance to earn a postseason berth even after winning today, per FiveThirtyEight.

The Texans don’t necessarily need to add another running back to their roster, as the club boasts Alfred Blue and Jordan Todman in addition to Miller. Still, a free agent addition isn’t out of the question, and options such as Ryan Mathews, Shaun Draughn, DeAngelo Williams, or Stevan Ridley could make sense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Texans, Patriots, Jets

After Texans running back D’Onta Foreman‘s arrest on charges of marijuana and unlawful gun possession last Sunday, his attorney, Chip Lewis, claimed that the rookie didn’t “use or possess” the drug. To help clear himself of wrongdoing, Foreman was voluntarily tested for marijuana, and the results came back negative, according to Lewis (via Mark Berman of FOX 26). “It makes it clear that he was telling the truth,” Lewis said of the outcome. “He was not using marijuana.” Foreman has a July 31 court date, though there’s reportedly a strong likelihood of a postponement because the Texans will be at training camp in West Virginia then.

  • Patriots running back Dion Lewis may have to fight for a roster spot this summer, Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com points out, but colleague Tom Curran says it would be a mistake for the team to cut him if he’s healthy (video link). Fellow back Brandon Bolden should be in greater jeopardy, as he offers little offensively, opines Curran. Lewis has provided solid production as both a runner and pass catcher when on the field during his two-year New England stint, having averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 113 attempts and totaled 53 receptions, but he hasn’t appeared much. A torn ACL in 2015 and the subsequent recovery process kept Lewis out of action for nine games in each of the previous two regular seasons. Releasing Lewis would save the Pats all but $200K of his $1.49MM cap hit, and they’d still have a capable group of backs with Mike Gillislee, James White and Rex Burkhead leading the way.
  • Having moved on from a cavalcade of veterans in recent months, it may look as though the Jets are tanking, but it’s just a full-scale rebuild, contends Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Tanking is “almost impossible” to pull off in the NFL, argues Vacchiano, who writes that a top 10 to 15 selection in next year’s draft may be the best-case scenario for the club. Picking that late could mean the Jets found an answer at quarterback in Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder in 2016 who didn’t take the field as a rookie, and saw a slew of other young players emerge as legitimate building blocks. It’s more likely, though, that they’ll end up with a top five pick, potentially putting them in position to find a franchise QB, observes Vacchiano.
  • More on the Jets, whose deal with first-round pick Jamal Adams contains offsets, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.