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One and Done - FFL: Week 4 | NFL: Superbowl

Rookie QB Hodges to make 2nd straight start for Steelers

Tue Dec 3 1:55pm ET

Players: James Conner, Mason Rudolph, James Washington, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Benny Snell Jr.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Browns during in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges meets with reporters after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges heads to the locker room with a game ball following an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) stands on the field with a game ball after a 20-13 Steelers win over the Cleveland Browns in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


PITTSBURGH (AP) It’s still officially Duck season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges will make his second straight start on Sunday when the Steelers (7-5) visit the Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1). Tomlin named Hodges the starter over Mason Rudolph before last week’s meeting with Cleveland but stressed he was not committing to anything beyond the game against the Browns.

Hodges responded by completing 14 of 21 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 20-13 victory that kept Pittsburgh firmly in the playoff chase with a month to go. The 23-year-old Hodges is the first undrafted rookie free agent to win his first two NFL starts since Ed Ruppert did it as a replacement player for the Washington Redskins during the 1987 players’ strike.

Pittsburgh is 3-1 in games Hodges has appeared. He led the Steelers to a 24-17 victory on the road at the Chargers on Oct. 13 while filling in for an injured Rudolph. He came off the bench in the second half against Cincinnati on Nov. 24, connecting on a long touchdown pass with James Washington that propelled the Steelers to a comeback win.

“He’s performed well in hostile environments, but he just doesn’t have a big sample size,” Tomlin said. “I liked what I saw in LA. I liked what I saw in second half in Cincinnati.”

There’s a chance - albeit a slim one - that Pittsburgh’s injury-ravaged offense could get some help. Tomlin didn’t rule out running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster facing the Cardinals. Conner hasn’t played since aggravating a shoulder injury in a loss to Cleveland on Nov. 14. Smith-Schuster exited the same game with a knee injury and a concussion. Though he has been cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol, Smith-Schuster was spotted last week wearing a sizable brace on his left knee.

Conner practiced in a limited capacity last week before being held out of the lineup. He appears to be closer to game action than Smith-Schuster, though he figures to split time with rookie Benny Snell whenever he returns. Snell has played well in Conner’s absence. He ran for 98 yards against the Bengals and added 63 more - including his first NFL touchdown - against the Browns.

“He’s done a nice job with the opportunities he’s been given,” Tomlin said. “Excited not only what he’s doing for us but where it could lead.”

The Steelers will get center Maurkice Pouncey back after serving a two-game suspension for kicking and punching Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett in retaliation after Garrett hit Rudolph in the face with Rudolph’s helmet during a late-game brawl last month.

Player Notes
LeSean McCoy Jan 27 10:10pm ET

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George Kittle Jan 27 6:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (shoulder) said that he's been playing through a torn labrum in his right shoulder since the start of the 2018 season. "So I dislocated my shoulder last year," Kittle said Sunday on the Pardon My Take podcast, "and my labrum is completely torn. So I don't get surgery on it -- [The protective sleeve] basically helps me, so it doesn't hurt all the time." He didn't miss any games in 2018 and set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. Kittle said there's "no chance" he has surgery in the future. The 26-year-old has been quiet in the postseason with four catches for 35 yards in two games, but the Niners haven't really needed him with their ground game humming. That could change in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2.

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Kareem Hunt Jan 27 3:20pm ET

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Philip Rivers Jan 27 3:00pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers have "moved on from Philip Rivers," according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer. Rivers is set to become a free agent in March, and the writing was on the wall when he recently moved his entire family from San Diego to Florida. Rivers will end a 16-year run with the Chargers, but it remains to be seen where he'll land on the free-agent market this offseason. The Buccaneers are a popular expected destination, but that'll only be if they move on from Jameis Winston. Rivers completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019 for a QB rating of 88.5. He might have a few more seasons left in him, but at 38 years old his arm strength is clearly deteriorating, and he'll probably be more of a QB2 in 2020, depending on where he winds up.

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Frank Clark Jan 27 12:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Matthew Judon is a candidate to receive the team's franchise tag and could also be traded, according to league sources. The Ravens would like to bring Judon back in 2020, but they are also likely to listen to trade offers if another team shows interest. The Niners dealt a second-round pick to the Chiefs last year for defensive end Dee Ford, who then signed a five-year deal worth up to $87.5 million last March. The Chiefs also traded first- and third-round picks to the Seahawks last April for defensive end Frank Clark, who then signed a five-year, $105.5 million deal. Judon has emerged as a high-end pass rusher with at least seven sacks in each of the last three years. The 27-year-old had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2019 and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

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Fletcher Cox Jan 26 6:43pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox was credited with a 61-yard interception return for touchdown at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Jack Doyle Jan 26 6:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle posted three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on four targets for the AFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

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T.J. Watt Jan 26 6:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers DE T.J. Watt posted an 82-yard fumble return for touchdown in the fourth quarter for the AFC at the Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Mark Andrews Jan 26 6:23pm ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews ended up with a game-high nine receptions for an AFC-best 73 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

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D.J. Chark Jan 26 6:23pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. registered two grabs for 67 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter, for the AFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Davante Adams Jan 26 6:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams ended up with a team-high six receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Amari Cooper Jan 26 6:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper finished with three grabs for 24 yards and a touchdown on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Kirk Cousins Jan 26 6:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins completed 13-of-22 passes for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26

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Michael Thomas Jan 26 6:03pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas hauled in five receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown with a team-high eight targets at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Calais Campbell Jan 26 5:53pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell had a solo tackle, a sack and a quarterback hit in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26, winning the Defensive Most Valuable Player award.

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Lamar Jackson Jan 26 5:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, winning Offensive Most Valuable Player. He also ran twice for six yards in the 38-33 win.

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Darren Fells Jan 26 2:13pm ET

Houston Texans impending free-agent TE Darren Fells is a player the Texans will try to re-sign this offseason, but he probably will receive interest from multiple teams in free agency.

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A.J. McCarron Jan 26 2:13pm ET

Houston Texans impending free-agent QB AJ McCarron is a candidate to be re-signed this offseason, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop.

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C.J. Mosley Jan 26 1:00pm ET

New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin), who is six weeks removed from groin/abdominal surgery, said he is jogging "a little bit" and is on track to take part in "spring football." Mosley has also started a vegan diet after playing in just two games last season because of his injury in his first year in New York. The 27-year-old should be ready for a full training camp heading into the 2020 season, and he should give Gang Green a steadying presence in the middle of the field next season. Mosley recorded 100-plus tackles in four of his five seasons in Baltimore before signing with the Jets in free agency last offseason.

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Eric Berry Jan 26 1:00pm ET

Former Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who did not play at all in 2019, plans to play in 2020 after intentionally taking the season off to rest his body and mind. Berry was cut by the Chiefs in 2018 and has only played in three games since 2016 due to injuries and a bout with cancer. The former first-round pick in 2010 has 14 career interceptions and five touchdowns and could provide a team with a veteran presence in the secondary in 2020. However, it remains to be seen if any team will take a chance on the veteran moving forward. Berry is unlikely to be an asset in IDP leagues if he gets picked up by a team.

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