QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Injury: Hairline fracture in his ribs
Prognosis: Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 draft, suffered the injury on a hit Thursday night in the Eagles’ 17-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Doug Pederson said the team hopes to have Wentz back before the preseason ends Sept. 1. This injury will halt any attempt to move up the depth chart or at least pressure veterans Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel before the season begins. Any playing time he receives this season will be the result of either multiple injuries or poor performances elsewhere, as opposed to a surge in preseason games.
WR Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots
Injury: Dislocated left elbow
Prognosis: Initial reports suggest Mitchell will miss four weeks. That timetable calls into question whether he’ll be ready for the Patriots’ regular-season opener Sept. 11 at the Arizona Cardinals, but overall it’s great news, given how gruesome the injury looked on video in the Patriots’ 34-22 victory Thursday over the New Orleans Saints. Mitchell had four catches for 55 yards to that point, continuing a surge that hinted he would be a significant part of the Patriots’ offense this season. He’ll still have that chance.
LB IK Enemkpali, Buffalo Bills
Injury: Torn right ACL
Prognosis: Enemkpali will miss the season after suffering the injury Saturday in the second quarter of the Bills’ 19-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Enemkpali had been working with the first-team defense throughout camp, partially because of injuries to other players, but his injury leaves the Bills’ defensive line significantly depleted. Yes, this is the same Enemkpali who forever changed New York Jets history last summer when he broke the jaw of quarterback Geno Smith during a locker-room altercation. The Bills claimed Enemkpali after the Jets waived him.
WR Bennie Fowler, Denver Broncos
Injury: Right elbow fracture
Prognosis: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Fowler will miss “a few weeks,” which implies that he might be ready to return when the regular season begins. (Apparently elbow fractures heal quickly.) Fowler, who suffered the injury on a punt return in Thursday night’s 22-0 victory over the Chicago Bears, has been working as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver during training camp.
Cortland Finnegan brought it up even before the media had a chance.
When someone asked him about how much pride he takes in being a good locker room guy and a teacher to his young teammates, the New Orleans Saints’ newest cornerback replied, “You know, when your reputation is you’re a dirtbag … you like to hope and think that you add some value in real life to the locker room.”
A small smile came across Finnegan’s face as he answered, as if he had beaten reporters to the punch while addressing them for the first time.
“You know, you guys probably think that,” Finnegan added.
The 32-year-old veteran is able to laugh about his notorious reputation — he was routinely voted as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players during his prime and became infamous for a 2010 fight with receiver Andre Johnson.
At the same time, Finnegan showed great self-awareness in the interview, which can be seen here on the Saints’ website.
“I don’t think it’s a misconception. I think it’s a stated fact, people just think that. So I’ve just got to live with it. It’s just part of who I am now. So we’ll just take it,” said Finnegan, who often was accused of taking cheap shots at the end of plays and who openly admitted that he would try to get under receivers’ skin by yapping at them throughout the game.