NFL roundup: Attorney claims Cowboys' Smith has lost $1 million

The SportsXchange

The saga of Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith's family difficulties has taken another twist.

Smith's attorney, John Schorsch, claims that the player is missing up to $1 million and that he might pursue legal action against the family.

Earlier this week, Dallas police received a 911 call from Smith's home after siblings, according to the police report, arrived to "harass and torment" him for "financial gain."

Schorsch plans to have an accountant examine the players' personal finances before possibly seeking legal recourse.

"I'm not certain of the amount of money that's gone," Schorsch told The Dallas Morning News. "I would suggest to you that the numbers are in the seven digits that need to be accounted for. I don't know how much of that, if any, is a legitimate gift and how much of that is squeezed out of him or how much of that is flat-out taken. And I know of the latter two categories it's a bunch. I'm going to make sure all the money is justified and it's not going to be pretty."

But Smith's mother, Frankie Pinkney, denied in a conversation with The Morning News that she took anything from her son without his permission or badgered him.

"I don't know anything about any missing money," she told the newspaper. "The money that we did receive from Tyron was all accounted for and everything is in writing, and he's authorized all of it."

Smith's three stepsisters and two stepbrothers were among the people who came to his front door this week when the 911 call was made.

According to The Morning News, Pinkney blamed Smith's girlfriend, Leigh Costa, for the disagreement and said Costa wouldn't allow her family access to the home.

"Leigh reported that my daughters were threatening her and they were demanding money," Pinkney said. "My daughters did not make any threats."

Costa told The Morning News, "Nothing she's saying is factual. I didn't do anything. I'm a drive-by victim to his family's chaos."

Smith, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, signed a four-year, $12.5 million contract in July 2011.

Smith has refused to comment this week about the situation.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters Thursday that Smith isn't showing signs of his off-field problems on the field.

"I think every player and every coach, really around this league, they have different things going on in their lives and you just have to come into work and do your job as best you can," Garrett said.

---Dallas running back DeMarco Murray was not an active participant in Friday's practice and could miss his third straight game Sunday night when the Cowboys play in Atlanta.

Murray, who has rushed for 330 yards on 75 carries and one touchdown in five games this season, is sidelined with a foot injury. ESPN reported that Murray wore a jersey on the practice field Friday but was not actively involved.

His replacement, Felix Jones, has been slowed by a knee injury.

---Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo may be going through a rough stretch with a league-high 13 interceptions and two fumbles. But he has the full support of the Cowboys' coaching staff and front office.

Vice president Stephen Jones said his confidence remains high in Romo and is still firm on signing him to a long-term contract extension before his current deal expires next season to ensure he retires as a Cowboy.

"I still feel that way," Jones said. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He has a lot of confidence in himself. Tony will be fine. He is not the problem."

Jones said Romo is scrutinized because he plays quarterback for the high-profile Cowboys and because of the success of his predecessors like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Jones said Romo can handle the scrutiny and will get things turned round in his play and went so far as to compare him to legendary quarterback John Elway and Brett Favre who had early disappointments before becoming Super Bowl champions.

Jones said Romo showed some of that moxie by rallying the Cowboys from a 23-0 deficit after throwing three interceptions to take a 24-23 lead before finally losing 29-24 to the Giants last Sunday.

"I think that game is a perfect example. There's a lot of quarterbacks who would've had a hard time rallying from that type of adversity," Jones said. "You got to give him a lot of credit. I think he's going to get better. There's a lot of quarterbacks that it doesn't happen right away for them, in terms of winning championships and that type of thing.

"You don't have to look any further than some of the Hall of Famers like (John) Elway and (Brett) Favre. It came late in their careers. They had some of the same issues that Tony's had. They had some really great games and then they had some tough ones, in terms of turning it over and that type of thing."

---New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich will make his first start of the season in the middle with Chase Blackburn ruled out of Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a hamstring injury.

Fellow linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) was also ruled out, with linebacker Keith Rivers doubtful with a calf injury.

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) are all questionable.

Bradshaw did not practice Friday as part of his weekly routine to manage his ongoing foot issue. If Phillips is available Sunday, he's expected to play limited snaps with Stevie Brown starting.

Herzlich said Sunday's game has bigger meaning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"It's kind of interesting; the first game of my career was against the Redskins on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You felt that emotion that day in Washington and I think that when we go on the field this Sunday," Herzlich said. "You're going to feel that emotion again where, this is a strong country and everybody in the stadium, whether they're Pittsburgh fans or New York fans, they're going to be pulling for the people who are fighting back from the storm."

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he's not concerned about his team lacking focus due to the events surrounding the storm.

"I think they'll come back and be focused and I think that not only will they be focused, I think the mission will be quite clear," he said. "Trying to provide a few hours of enjoyment for so many that have been devastated. I think they'll do a good job of that."

Coughlin said he never considered not playing the game, but did applaud the Steelers for choosing to come up the day of the game to leave hotel rooms open for New York-area people.

"The word that comes to mind is 'noble,'" he said. "They were very noble about that. They wanted to do their part to help the folks, the people in our area."

---The NFL has received assurances that Sunday's game between the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers in MetLife Stadium would not disrupt recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell discussed concerns about transportation issues, police and emergency efforts with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the NFL confirmed Friday.

Christie told Goodell that the game would not be "diverting any resources from relief efforts" and that he was pleased it would be played as scheduled in East Rutherford, N.J.

Because of the damaged left by the storm, the Steelers changed their travel plans and will arrive the morning of the game from Pittsburgh rather than stay in the New York area on Saturday night, the team previously announced.

---Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is a game-time decision for a second straight week because of a hamstring injury, the team's website reported Friday.

Nelson did not play last week. He practiced Friday.

"Jordy's work today went well," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Packers.com. "They pushed him further than they have all week. We'll see how he is in the morning, and we'll give him the opportunity to take it to the game."

Green Bay hosts the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Fullback John Kuhn is ruled out because of a hamstring injury for the second straight game. Also, wide receiver Greg Jennings (abdominal surgery), linebacker Nick Perry (knee), cornerback Sam Shields (ankle), cornerback Charles Woodson (collarbone) and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy (concussion) are out.

Rookie safety Jerron McMillian did not practice Friday because of tightness in his back. He is questionable for Sunday.

---For Mario Williams, it's all systems go for his much-anticipated return to Houston and a game against his old team.

"I am very excited to go back and to play," said Williams, who left the Texans as a free agent last offseason and got the Bills to give him the richest contract in NFL history for a defender (six years, $100 million). "Glad to be a part of it and have an opportunity to get on the field. At the end of the day, I have something extra to prove in general."

Indeed, Williams' first seven games with the Bills have been rocky ones.

Not only has the defensive end not performed up to expectations, but he hasn't endeared himself to fans with what can best be described as a laid-back, aloof attitude.

Williams has 16 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

In addition, a bothersome left wrist injury that first occurred in training camp became a growing sideshow. Williams elected to have an arthroscopic surgical procedure on the wrist in Alabama during Buffalo's bye week, but the Bills apparently didn't know of his plans until their trainer and defensive line coach were informed in a text message, ESPN reported.

The Bills were fined $20,000 by the NFL for failing to disclose Williams' wrist ailment on their injury reports.

If Buffalo (3-4) has any luck at all, Williams will have his best game of the year against the high-flying Texans (6-1) on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The Texans, led by second-year defensive end J.J. Watt and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, a former Bills head coach, haven't missed Williams one bit.

That would make an upset win by the Bills extra sweet. The heat is on Buffalo's front office for getting fleeced in the Williams signing.

"Definitely with everything going on, it has not been the way I really wanted it," Williams said. "Going out, making an impact and just being better to help the team win. It is just a coincidence it is this week after the bye week (that the Bills play the Texans). Everybody has time off to kind of regroup and look at things. Just happened to be against this team."

So how is Williams feeling?

"It is feeling way better," he said of his wrist. "Even after the procedure, it is definitely feeling better than what it was before."

Williams is practicing this week on a limited basis but expects to be full go by Sunday. He said he essentially was playing one-handed while wearing a protective cast on his wrist.

"I really wanted to do it after talking to the training staff. We all made a decision to go get it done. It is not like it is going to set me back," Williams said.

He described the procedure as a "cleanout."

Coach Chan Gailey, who last week sounded in the dark about Williams' health, does have a better handle on things and anticipates seeing a new-and-improved Super Mario.

"I talked to him, too, and he sounded very encouraged," Gailey said. "We will get him back at practice, and hopefully he does not miss a beat. Hopefully he is better. That is why we did it."

Houston drafted Williams No. 1 overall in 2006 but made no strong effort to retain him in free agency, not with Phillips' 3-4 scheme taking hold and Watt emerging as one of the NFL's best players. Watt leads the league with 9.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and nine disrupted passes, making Williams' departure -- and his return to Houston -- a non-story.

Williams is out to make headlines, though.

"It uplifts me tremendously, knowing that the training staff had confidence in it and that it is going to give me an edge as far as getting back," he said of his surgery.

And what about facing his old Texans teammates, including quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster? He said he wishes them no ill will.

"Definitely not, I have mad love for them. From each and every player on that team, from each and every coach on that team, there's no type of bad luck or wishing anything bad on them at all," he said. "I hope they do the very best. ... If I get a chance to hit Matt, it's going down for sure, but you don't want to go out there and hurt anybody."

---The Buffalo Bills placed offensive lineman Chad Rinehart on injured reserve with an ankle injury and activated cornerback Ron Brooks.

Rinehart, a backup who started three consecutive games, was injured during the team's loss to the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago and coach Chan Gailey indicated it would be a long-term injury.

Brooks was on injured reserve with the designated for return label each team can use for one player beginning this season.

Brooks is a rookie fourth-round pick out of LSU who injured his foot before the start of the season. He'll help the club's depth and special teams and may challenge for more playing time at a position of concern right now.

---Wide receiver Pierre Garcon (foot) was officially ruled out for the Washington Redskins' home game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and linebacker Perry Riley is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Riley will be a game-time decision after getting in limited work Friday.

"With those hamstrings, you don't know for sure," head coach Mike Shanahan said.

If Riley can't play, Lorenzo Alexander and Keenan Robinson would be worked into the linebacker rotation more.

Shanahan said he hopes that safety Brandon Meriweather will be able to return from his knee injury after the team's bye week following Sunday's game.

DeAngelo Hall is expected to play against the Panthers, as Shanahan said the cornerback isn't expected to be suspended following his ejection for berating an official during last week's loss.

"I think you heard he wasn't going to be suspended. He's going to be fined, but I haven't heard anything officially," said Shanahan."

---At midseason 2012, the Redskins are 3-5, just as they were a year ago. And yet, they're a very different team.

A year ago, Washington's offense, which had benched turnover machine Rex Grossman for winless John Beck at quarterback and which had lost top running back Tim Hightower to a torn ACL, had scored just 120 points (not counting a defensive touchdown) in eight games, topping 22 points just once, while its defense had allowed 158.

This year, the offense, bolstered by quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris, both rookies, has scored 185 points (not counting four defensive touchdowns), but the defense has surrendered 220 (not counting a touchdown on a blocked punt).

And so, the Redskins are right back where they were last year, 3-5 and in last place in the NFC East. Washington is a half-game behind Dallas and Philadelphia and three games behind New York to whom it has already lost. In 2011, the Redskins were tied with the Eagles, a game behind the Cowboys and three games behind the Giants en route to a fourth straight finish in the division cellar.

"If people can't take a look at the offense and see it's completely different, then they obviously don't have the background in football," coach Mike Shanahan said. "(But) you take a look at our defense and you know we're not the same team we were a year ago. I thought that was going to be the strength of our football team. We're out four starters (Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, end Adam Carriker and safeties Tanard Jackson and Brandon Meriweather, only the latter of whom might return). That doesn't mean we're not going to improve in the second half of the season. But we can play much better than we've been playing."

In 2011, Washington had played three of its NFC East games by midseason (winning one) and had four games left against teams that had made the playoffs the previous season. In 2012, the Redskins have played just one division game (and lost it) but have just two games left against 2011 playoff teams (Baltimore and the rematch with the defending champion Giants).

With the teams currently holding the NFC's two wild-card spots at 5-3, Shanahan believes that Washington has to beat 1-6 Carolina on Sunday at home or its seven games after next week's bye will be about the future, not this season.

"Everybody knows it's a must-win game when you're 3-5, if you have any chance at the playoffs," Shanahan said.

---Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill's status for Sunday's game at the Indianapolis Colts remains uncertain as he was listed as questionable Friday with his knee injury.

If Tannehill can't play, Matt Moore would get his first start of the season.

"We're going to make a decision as soon as we have enough relevant information to make a good decision," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. "We have no timetable on that."

Cornerback Richard Marshall will miss his fourth consecutive game with a back injury. Wide receiver Brian Hartline (groin/hamstring) and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (knee) are questionable.

Marshall's arrival over the offseason helped pave the way for the Dolphins to deal cornerback Vontae Davis to the Colts. However, Davis won't have the opportunity to face his former team due to a knee injury.

Cassius Vaughn will start for Davis, with Josh Gordy becoming the primary nickel back.

Also out for the Colts is rookie tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder). Recently-signed Weslye Saunders will likely be active, and is familiar with offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians' scheme as the two were together with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

"We'll just plug him in. He's the next man up until Coby comes back," Arians said. "Fortunately we had Weslye last year and he's pretty familiar with the system and he's a big, young, athletic guy who has a great future if he just stays straight."

---Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer is considered doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Giants because a sore quad muscle.

The Beaver County (Pa.) Times reported that Dwyer, who has rushed for 299 yards on 58 carries in five games this season, did not practice Friday. He topped 100 yards in each of the past two games while carrying the bulk of the load at running back with Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman dealing with injuries.

Mendenhall also was listed as doubtful this week with an Achilles' injury, meaning Redman likely will get the start Sunday.

---New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles won't play Monday night against Philadelphia after undergoing surgery on a broken hand and could be out longer, interim coach Joe Vitt announced Friday.

The Times-Picayune reported that Vitt wasn't clear on the length of Sproles' recovery, saying he will be examined next week.

The Saints have used the multitalented Sproles primarily as a receiver. He has 39 receptions for 323 yards and four touchdowns in addition to 117 rushing yards.

Sproles' injury leaves Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram to pick up the slack in the backfield.

"We've got pretty good running backs around here and that's part of the National Football League -- injuries," Vitt told The Times-Picayune. "It's the next man up, and we're going to miss Darren Sproles, but this is going to be a great opportunity for some of our other running backs to get some reps and show what they can do."

---The Detroit Lions placed running back Jahvid Best on the physically unable to perform list Friday, ending his season, according to the team's website.

Best had not been cleared to play by doctors this season because of past concussion issues. The team decided to shut him down after he recently took a battery of post-concussion tests.

The Lions hoped Best could play this season after he sat out a significant portion of last year with multiple concussions. Considering he still cannot play, his career may be at risk.

"There has been subsequent evaluation and consultation regarding Jahvid since our last update (Oct. 15)," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said on DetroitLions.com. "As has been the case throughout, we have deferred to the medical experts and support their current recommendation that Jahvid not return to the field this season. Jahvid's approach to this situation and his adherence to the process and protocol have been exemplary.

"No one has worked harder or shown more dedication than Jahvid has over the past year. As disappointing as this decision is for us and Jahvid we do believe it is in his long-term best interest."

Best played in six games last year and rushed for 390 yards with two touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 287 yards with a TD.

---Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is questionable for this Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the team's website.

Johnson has not practiced this week because of a knee injury.

The wide receiver has been bothered with the knee for about three weeks, but this is the first week he missed practice.

"He's done it before," Lions coach Jim Schwartz. "He obviously knows our offense, and then his health is the most important thing."

The Lions (3-4) need Johnson as he is a major key to their success. He has 41 catches for 638 yards but just one touchdown.

"Any time your players aren't out there it's definitely a concern," Schwartz said. "An ideal situation is to go practice every day, but by the time you get to the middle of a NFL season, nothing's ideal."

Johnson said Thursday his goal is to be ready for Sunday.

---The Cleveland Browns activated defensive tackle Phil Taylor off the physically unable to perform list and signed defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron to the active roster.

Cameron takes the spot of defensive lineman Brian Sanford, who was placed on injured reserve after playing in his first game of the season last week.

Taylor started practicing last week after recovering from pectoral surgery in May.

"I'm probably not going to start," Taylor said earlier this week. "I'll probably be a little limited, but I'm ready to go."

Taylor, the 21st overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, started all 16 games last season and totaled 59 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble.

Cameron was signed by Chicago as an undrafted rookie out of Old Dominion and was claimed by the Browns on waivers on Aug. 14.

"We'll have a rotation in there. We'll cover it up the best we can," Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said about his injury-plagued defense line.

Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is listed as probable with his hamstring injury.

Shurmur said Massaquoi is "ready to roll," but didn't commit to having him active for Sunday's home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

---Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin should play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, two weeks after sustaining a high ankle sprain, according to the Seattle Times.

Baldwin was expected to take longer to heal, but practiced all week to the surprise of coach Pete Carroll on Friday.

"You can't even explain it, but he pulled it off," Carroll said. "It would be great to see him play."

Though Baldwin is likely returning to action, wide receiver Braylon Edwards is ruled out with a knee injury. He did not practice this week.

Defensive tackle Jason Jones did not practice this week because of a sprained ankle and is ruled out.

Defensive lineman Alan Branch should be back in time for Sunday's game after being absent from practice Friday due to a death in his family.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond is eligible to be activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list but his status is uncertain. He has to be activated by Saturday to play on Sunday.
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