The New York Jets officially stated Wednesday what had become obvious over the past week: rookie Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The job essentially became Smith’s when returning starter Mark Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of a preseason game on Aug. 24.
Smith suffered an ankle injury in his preseason debut against the Detroit Lions but returned for the third preseason game against the New York Giants and threw three interceptions. Still, Ryan is confident that Smith has a good grasp on offensive coordinator Marty Mornhiweg’s scheme.
It’s uncertain how long Sanchez will be out and whether he will get the job back once he’s healthy enough to play. He has not practiced since he suffered the injury.
The Jets also have quarterbacks Matt Simms and Brady Quinn on their roster.
• Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.
Hawkins hasn’t practiced since injuring his ankle Aug. 1.
He finished the 2012 season second to AJ Green in receptions with 51 and scored four touchdowns.
Offensive tackle Dennis Roland was re-signed and could be active Sunday when the Bengals open the regular season at Chicago. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Andre Smith have been slowed by knee injuries.
Hawkins can return to practice Week 7 and is eligible to first play in a game Week 9.
• The Denver Broncos will kick off the NFL season on Thursday night at home against the Baltimore Ravens without cornerback Champ Bailey, according to reports.
A sprained foot will keep the veteran on the sideline. Bailey sprained the foot in the second preseason game on Aug. 17 against the Seattle Seahawks and has not practiced since then because of lingering pain.
Taking Bailey’s place on the left side of the secondary will be third-year cornerback Chris Harris. Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie will start on the other side and Tony Carter will be the nickel back.
After the opener, the Broncos will not play again for 10 days until they face the New York Giants on Sept. 15, giving Bailey more time to recover.
The Denver Post also reported that tight end Joe Dressen, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in August, will miss the opener.
• Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin was not expected to return after hip surgery until at least November, but he hinted Wednesday that he could be back sooner than anticipated.
Harvin is eyeing a Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 17 for his possible debut with the Seahawks. That’s the first game for which he’s eligible to come off the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
The Seahawks have given no indication of a timetable in Harvin’s recovery from a torn labrum.
The Seahawks landed the 25-year-old Harvin in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings in March for a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
• Safety Ed Reed appears to be doubtful for the Houston Texans’ season opener on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers, CBSSports.com reported.
Reed sat out training camp and a majority of offseason workouts because of a hip injury. All indications are that he is progressing well, but the Texans are proceeding with caution.
The veteran signed with the Texans in March after 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
The 34-year-old Reed played in all 16 regular-season games for the Super Bowl champion Ravens last year and 58 tackles and four interceptions. He has 61 career interceptions.
• The Baltimore Ravens officially placed tight end Dennis Pitta on the injured reserve-designated for return list.
Pitta underwent surgery during the summer to repair a dislocated hip. The recovery time is estimated at three to four months, but the IR designation would allow him to return for Week 9 of the regular season.
Ed Dickson, Pitta’s replacement at tight end, has battled a hamstring injury during the preseason but is expected to play in Thursday night’s season opener against the Denver Broncos.
• The NFL Players’ Association is giving its members a tool designed to keep them from drinking and driving.
Players will be able to use a smartphone app developed by Uber Technologies to request a ride that will arrive in minutes in 17 of 31 NFL cities and in Honolulu, where the Pro Bowl is played.
The union said in a statement that it wants to ensures “its members have access to safe, discreet and professional transportation when they need it.”
The service will be available starting this month. Personalized key-chain cards with ride credits will be given to every active NFL player.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union is concerned about player and community safety and wants to avoid situations such as the crash that killed Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown in a car driven by teammate Josh Brent last year.
• NFL commissioner Roger Goodell believes the league’s $765 million settlement with former players as compensation for brain-related injuries is fair.
“People start with making an assumption … first off, that we make $10 billion,” Goodell said Wednesday. “That’s $10 billion in revenue. And there’s a difference between making (money) and revenue.
“So this is a significant amount of money (and) the plaintiffs also believed it was an appropriate amount. The mediator felt it was an appropriate amount. It’s a tremendous amount of money that we think is going to go to the right purpose, which is helping players and their families. So $765 million is a lot of money.”
The tentative agreement calls for compensation to retired players that were affected by brain-related injuries and to pay for medical exams as well as fund concussion-related research.
—Most players and teams hide the fact that they fake injuries from time to time to slow down an opponent’s offense, but former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher acknowledged it’s common practice.
Fox Sports 1’s new analyst, whose NFL career ended in March when he rejected the Bears’ offer to re-sign, said players acting like they were hurt was a scheme to counteract high-powered, fast-paced, no-huddle offenses.
The former All-Pro said a Bears coach would make a diving motion to signal a player when to go down with an injury. It was more prevalent on a long drive when a defense was winded, Urlacher said.
Faking injuries became a topic of conversation this past weekend after California fans accused Northwestern players of the illegal tactic during last Saturday’s non-conference college football game. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald denied that his players were mimicking injuries during the Wildcats’ 44-30 victory in order to slow down Cal’s fast-paced offense.
—Pro Football Hall of Fame president and executive director Stephen A. Perry announced his retirement.
Perry, 67, earlier this summer informed the Hall of Fame’s senior management team and the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and Hall of Fame members who were in Canton, Ohio, for the enshrinement ceremony of his plans.
Perry served in the position for seven years. During that time, he led facility improvements that included a recently completed $27 million “Future 50” expansion, renovation and modernization project.
The Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees has established a search committee to find a successor. Perry will stay on until a replacement is found.
“He is a man of great passion and vision, which was reflected in the unprecedented growth of the Hall of Fame during his tenure,” said Frank Cooney, publisher of The Sports Xchange and a 20-year member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “He will be missed.”
Perry served on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2001 before becoming its fifth full-time president-executive director in 2006. His successors included John Bankert, Pete Elliott, Dick Gallagher and Dick McCann.