Plaxico Burress (USA Today Sports Images)
Though the NFL preseason is just entering Week 2, training camps are winding down. Most will end by the weekend, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who placed wide receiver Plaxico Burress on injured reserve after the veteran underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on Monday, his 36th birthday.
Burress only caught three passes in three games for the Steelers in 2012 and it's fair to wonder if we've seen the last of him in the NFL. If so, Burress will have one of the strangest careers of the last 15 years. The No. 8 overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft has caught 553 passes for 8,499 yards and 64 touchdowns, eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving four times, had 10 or more receiving touchdowns twice and caught the game-winning touchdown in a Super Bowl. However, Burress was never selected to a Pro Bowl and missed two full seasons after spending two years in prison on weapons charges.
• Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener had an injury-plagued rookie season and is currently sidelined by a concussion that is believed to have been sustained in Sunday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills. In order to return to the practice field, Fleener will have to pass the NFL's concussion protocol test. In addition to Fleener, a 2012 second-round pick, the Colts are currently operating without 2012 third-round tight end Dwayne Allen, who took advantage of Fleener's absences last season to catch 45 passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns.
• Denver Broncos guard Chris Kuper restructured his contract, was activated from the physically unable to perform list and, in his first practice of training camp, got some work at center.
"That’s going to be an adjustment, snapping, making the line calls (and) moving two feet over makes a difference too," Kuper said. "Everything just looks a little bit different. For the past seven years I can make every call at right guard. It’s a little bit of an adjustment doing it from center."
Kuper added that he hadn't played center since making three snaps during his junior year at North Dakota.
"We got some tough news. Phillip Thomas has a left foot Lisfranc ligament tear and it’ll be four or five months recovery," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "The X-rays first were negative. They took an MRI, saw a little light spot on the MRI. Dr. [Robert] Anderson wanted to take a look at it. When the swelling went down, they took another X-ray and they found that Lisfranc ligament needed an operation, so that’s what we’re going to have and it’ll be about four or five-month recovery time."
The news for Thomas gets tougher. As a rookie drafted in the middle of the 2013 draft, Thomas' four-year, $2.585 million contract included a "split" salary that would pay him at a reduced rate if he landed on a reserve list. Instead of earning $405,000 this season, when Thomas is placed on injured reserve, he'll be paid $288,000 this season.
• New England Patriots second-round linebacker Jamie Collins got some work with the first-team defense on Tuesday, providing a glimpse of what the team's 2014 linebacker corps might look like, writes Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.
In other Patriots news, the team signed tight end Evan Landi and waived defensive end Jason Vega, a native of nearby Brockton, Mass. who had received a $20,000 base salary guarantee when he signed with his hometown team in February.
"When we saw there was no ligament or structural damage in there, it gave us hope," Harbaugh said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
"I think at some time in the next five years, you’ll see a complete uniform – throwback and current uniform," Rams CEO Kevin Demoff said. "I’d be surprised if we didn’t have it."
The Rams will wear their 1999 throwbacks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, the two teams they played to get to and win Super Bowl XXXIV. Hopefully the Rams go with the classic blue-and-white look from the Deacon Jones era. Demoff mentioned liking that look.
"I think the blue-and-white is a great traditional, classic look for our club," Demoff said. "I like our current throwbacks. I like our current uniform. They all have a meaning in time. We’ve talked about long-term doing a uniform re-design, looking back at the throwbacks we’re using now, or the blue-and-white, or a different hybrid. Or maybe something new and completely different."
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