Richard Sherman declines to hold weekly news conference for Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. — For the first time all season, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman opted not to hold his weekly news conference Wednesday.

“I’m just going to make sure people — it’s a privilege to have me up there,” Sherman told reporters at his locker. “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”

Last week, Sherman answered questions about his outburst against the Los Angeles Rams. After that news conference, he told a reporter he would ruin his career and have his credential revoked, before later apologizing.

Sherman’s initial outburst in the Rams game was directed toward coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Week 15, after the Seahawks elected to pass from the Los Angeles 1-yard line.

Carroll said on Thursday that he was expecting Sherman to apologize at his news conference, but the star cornerback said he had no regrets about what happened.

“I thought he would,” Carroll said. “I thought he would more than he did. That’s it.”

Asked about disciplining Sherman, Carroll said whatever the team decided would be handled internally.

Sherman was asked Wednesday if he had been punished.

“Did you see me get punished?” he said. “Did you ask the coach? What’d he say?”

Told that Carroll said it had been handled internally, Sherman said, “So, cool.”

During his weekly radio appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk show, Carroll was asked whether the Sherman situation was a distraction entering Saturday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle ended up losing 34-31.

“It may have been, but we met Wednesday and had a special meeting Wednesday to make sure that we were moving ahead and moving forward,” Carroll said. “And we did that. And it wasn’t even a factor.”

Carroll added that those types of meetings are rare.

“I thought it was worth the time to do it then,” he said. “There was a lot of other stuff that we dealt with there, but that was part of it.”

Sherman downplayed the significance of the team meeting.

“It was good,” he said. “We just talked about the mood of the team, just guys coming together. We have a kumbaya meeting just about every year.

“It happens every year at different times. The Super Bowl year, it happened after Miami. The year after, it happened, I think there was some kind of big locker room deal that we had, and it happened after that. The other year, we traded Percy [Harvin]. It happened after that. Every year it happens.”

Niners’ RB Carlos Hyde has torn MCL

San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde tore his MCL on Saturday and will miss the last game of the season, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Hyde suffered the injury when he was hit in the left leg on a carry. Hyde walked off the field under his own power but did not return.

“It didn’t feel that bad when it first happened. It’s pain, there’s some pain, but it didn’t feel like bad pain. I’ve felt worse,” Hyde said after Saturday’s win. “That’s why I was able to get up and walk off on my own.”

Hyde finishes the season with career highs of 988 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Saints’ Brandin Cooks says Drew Brees snubbed for Pro Bowl

New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks wasn’t happy that his quarterback, former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, didn’t receive an invite when Pro Bowl bids were announced Tuesday night.

“That’s just ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous,” Cooks said Wednesday. “What are we looking at? What are we voting on? Like, I don’t get it. The guy is leading in so many categories. He’s having a great year.”

Brees leads the NFL in passing yards (4,559) and touchdown passes (34). He threw four scoring passes — including two to Cooks — as the Saints put up 48 points in a victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

With a 71.1 completion percentage, Brees is second only to Sam Bradford (71.6). Brees is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards passing for the fifth time in his career; no other player has done it more than once.

The quarterbacks who were named to the Pro Bowl for the NFC were Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and rookie Dak Prescott. Tom Brady, Derek Carr and Ben Roethlisberger will represent the AFC.

“You look at that and it’s just like, ‘OK, this is ridiculous,’” Cooks said. “The guy is great. And he definitely deserves to be in there. And for him not to be — the league, whoever just messed up because that just added fuel to his fire that he already had.”

Brees took a humble approach to being left out of the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row, blaming the Saints’ 6-8 record.

“I haven’t seen the list or anything, but I’m sure that there were a lot of deserving candidates there. It’s really not something that I’m too concerned about,” Brees said. “Listen, it’s a great honor when you’re chosen, but a lot of times that comes along with winning, and we obviously didn’t win enough games. I put that on myself.”

The Saints were one of six teams left off the Pro Bowl roster. This is the second year in a row that they didn’t have a player selected to the initial Pro Bowl roster; defensive end Cameron Jordan went as an alternate last season.

The Saints were 5-9 at the time rosters were selected last year and have not had a winning record since 2013.

Several players, however, took up for teammates they felt were deserving.

Many of them mentioned Brees and Jordan. Running back Mark Ingram mentioned Cooks, who ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,056 receiving yards and tied for sixth with eight touchdown catches. Brees mentioned Ingram and center Max Unger. And Jordan mentioned defensive tackle Nick Fairley.

“We have lots of good players in this room, but you gotta win games. And if you win games, you have a lot more guys on the roster,” said Ingram, who made a passionate case for Jordan.

“He’s disruptive. I don’t know if they have a stat for awarded sacks, where the quarterback’s running away from you and somebody else gets a sack, but I know he has at least five or six of those,” Ingram said. “Pass deflections, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, hurries, no runs coming to your side of the field because you’re setting the edge. … [He] leads the NFL in tackles for loss. I don’t know what else you’d ask for.”

Jordan, a two-time Pro Bowler, was hurt by the Saints’ record and the fact that he has only 6.5 sacks. But Pro Football Focus has him rated as the second-best edge rusher in the NFL behind only Khalil Mack because Jordan also ranks so high in categories like tackles for loss, run stops, QB hits and hurries and pass deflections.

Jordan cracked that he blames the “12th Man,” since two Seattle Seahawks defensive ends made the roster.

Brees and the Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday in New Orleans. While their chances are slim mathematically, they still have a shot at the playoffs but would need to win out.

Texans bench QB Brock Osweiler after 2nd interception

HOUSTON — After quarterback Brock Osweiler threw two first-half interceptions, the Houston Texans benched him for backup Tom Savage midway through the second quarter in the Texans’ 21-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Osweiler’s interceptions came on back-to-back drives in the second quarter, and he finished 6-of-11 for 48 yards and two interceptions in five drives. He had a passer rating of 26.1. Savage played well in relief of Osweiler, finishing 23-of-36 for 260 yards without throwing a touchdown or an interception in less than three quarters of work.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he felt the decision he made to bench Osweiler was “in the best interest of the team.”

“I just felt like that was the best decision at that point in time for the team,” O’Brien said. “We don’t make decisions on how much a guy gets paid. We make decisions on what’s the best way to win a game. That was the decision we made today and I thought today, it worked out OK.”

Osweiler said though he was happy the Texans came back to win, he was of course disappointed to be pulled from the game.

“As a competitor, any time you don’t play well, you get pulled out of a game, of course there’s disappointment,” Osweiler said. “That’s a natural human reaction. Also there’s disappointment because you want to be your best for your teammates.

“So you’re disappointed because you feel like you let them down, but then at the same time you’re happy because this football team found a way to win. Tom had a huge day.”

O’Brien would not disclose who will start for the Texans on Saturday against the Bengals, saying, “We’ve got a short week and we’ll make decisions on anybody, any starter that we have. We make decisions on that every week.”

“We run a very competitive program no matter what people on the outside see or think, whatever,” O’Brien said. “We run a very competitive program here and we try to compete on the practice field and reward guys that earn it on the practice field. That’s what we’ll continue to do here.”

This season, Osweiler has completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 2,704 yards. He has thrown 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 14 games.

Savage had not taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game in more than two years. He said he was prepared to come into the game, saying, “I wouldn’t be suited up if I wasn’t mentally ready to go out there. That’s what this team deserves. They deserve someone to go in there and perform. And when they called my name, that’s what I tried to do.”

Fans booed Osweiler off the field and there were loud cheers when Savage entered the game.

Osweiler said regardless of the decision that is made about who will start on Sunday, he will prepare this week like he will be the starter.

“I think Coach O’Brien, the staff, obviously Rick Smith and everybody else I’m sure will have a conversation,” Osweiler said. “My job is just to be ready to play and to prepare like I’m going to play and if I start I start and I’m going to give this team everything I have performance-wise, and if I’m the backup I’m going to be there to support Tom.

“I’m going to coach him and do everything he asks of me, and ultimately I just want to be a great teammate and I want to do whatever it takes for this football team to win games.”

Cardinals release WR Michael Floyd after arrest on DUI charge

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals have released wide receiver Michael Floyd, two days after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and failure to obey a police officer.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians opened his news conference after Wednesday’s practice by telling reporters they could read about the roster change and that he wouldn’t talk about it. But Arians later said releasing Floyd was unanimous decision by him, general manager Steve Keim and team president Michael Bidwill.

“Yes, totally,” Arians said.

“It’s a statement,” Bidwill said from the NFL owners’ meetings in Irving, Texas. “We had a difficult decision to make there.”

“Coach Arians talks to all of the team after games, before bye weekends and around holidays,” Bidwill said. “He always makes sure that he emphasizes what our standards are, which is don’t be ‘the guy.’ And also to be focusing on what you’re supposed to be doing for the team.”

Floyd was found unconscious behind the wheel of his running vehicle at a Scottsdale intersection early Monday morning, police said.

Floyd’s black Cadillac Escalade sat through at least two green-light cycles with him passed out behind the wheel. Officers barricaded his SUV between their cars as they prepared to wake him up, according to the police report detailing the arrest.

The SUV’s engine was running and Floyd’s foot was on the brake, the report said.

According to the police report, Floyd initially told officers that he was leaving his home in Scottsdale to pick his nephew up from the airport, but his story evolved into him having one drink, and he later said it was two drinks.

Police said Floyd’s story jumped around between him drinking on the team plane back from Miami and drinking at the W Scottsdale Hotel, but Floyd eventually “settled” on having had wine — “house cabernet” — on the team plane. Floyd also told the officers he was on a blood-thinning medication.

Floyd had three alcohol-related brushes with the law at Notre Dame, including a DUI in his final season.

The Cardinals chose Floyd in the first round of the 2012 draft, 13th overall. He was playing this year under a team option that the Cardinals enacted before the 2015 season.

This season, his contract year, Floyd had 33 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers were well off his 2015 stats, when he overcame early injury problems to catch 52 passes for 849 yards.

Floyd’s best season was 2013, when he had 65 catches for 1,041 yards. He caught two passes for 18 yards in Arizona’s 26-23 loss at Miami on Sunday.

The Cardinals host the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.

Bengals’ Adam Jones on Browns’ Terrelle Pryor: ‘Suck. What else?’

CLEVELAND — Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said he doesn’t like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. He demonstrated his point to reporters in the locker room following the Bengals’ 23-10 victory over the Browns on Sunday.

Jones stopped in the middle of a rant about Pryor, grabbed an empty trash can and started shaking it.

“Hey, you in there?” he yelled, rattling the trash can as his teammates started laughing. “You in there?”

During the interview session, Jones said he would only answer questions regarding Pryor.

“We’re talking about Pryor, nobody else,” he said.

Jones was asked several questions and repeated the phrase “Suck. What else?” several times in response.

“Pryor suck,” he said.

Dre Kirkpatrick and Jones shut Pryor down Sunday, limiting him to one catch for 3 yards. They both pointed that out several times during postgame interviews.

“How many catches?” a teammate asked Kirkpatrick.

“One catch, 3 yards,” Kirkpatrick said after pretending to ponder the question.

Kirkpatrick said he didn’t really have any issue with Pryor himself. Pryor was briefly with the Bengals last summer, when he still played quarterback. Kirkpatrick said he thought the feud started the last time the Bengals and Browns played, but he said he didn’t know what happened.

“If my teammate is in it, I’m in it,” Kirkpatrick said.

The issue between Jones and Pryor seemed to have started from a remark Pryor made to Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther after a game. Pryor told Guenther that his play would get Jones cut.

“He told my coordinator that he’s going to cut me after the game,” Jones said. “For a guy that’s been a slouch around the league at quarterback, played decent this year for his first year at wide receiver. I’m saying all this facade, all the fake hard [stuff] that he plays out on the field. That ain’t Terrelle. I checked his background. He’s a suburbs kid from Pittsburgh.

“Terrelle Pryor was right there the whole game,” he continued, “right there in the garbage can. Next question.”

Jones told the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier in the week that Pyror was “just a guy,” to which Pryor tweeted:

Said Jones: “I have the utmost respect for [Browns coach Hue Jackson], but certain s— I don’t tolerate from young punks basically. … He’s just arrogant. You could see it with his teammates. Could you all not see when he was pushing and cussing at [Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III] on the field?

“I don’t really don’t get into personal battles because I’ve got respect for a lot of people, but certain situations it just demands me to speak.”

Pryor left the locker room quickly after the game and was not available for postgame interviews.

Ravens’ Terrell Suggs on Patriots’ Tom Brady: ‘He’s pretty good’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he respects the New England Patriots, but he still refuses to call QB Tom Brady by his name leading up to Monday night’s game between the two first-place teams.

Reporters on Wednesday peppered Suggs with questions about Brady. But a slightly smiling Suggs didn’t budge, as read in the following exchange:

Reporter: “Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in NFL history. What’s your take on that?”

Suggs: “He’s pretty good. Like I said, wins are wins and numbers are numbers. Numbers don’t lie. He’s pretty good.”

Reporter: “Is it fair to say you really don’t want to talk about Tom Brady?”

Suggs: “I’m like Marshawn Lynch. I know why I’m here. It’s a big game this week. We’re playing a good team. It’s going to be fun.”

Reporter: “You don’t want to say his name, do you?”

Suggs: “I mean, it’s going to be fun. We’re going to have fun. It’s going to be an interesting game. We accept the challenge.”

Instead of saying Brady’s name in recent years, Suggs has referred to him as the “quarterback from New England” or “the pretty boy from up north.”

The feud between Suggs and Brady dates back to 2010, when Brady expressed his frustration about no flags being thrown after taking a hit by a Ravens player. Suggs and Brady jawed on the field and then traded barbs on the radio. Suggs said Brady and his then-three Super Bowl championships were “questionable.”

In October 2013, Suggs was asked what he thought about Brady in an ESPN interview.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate for camera,” Suggs said. “I don’t like him, he don’t like me. I don’t like his hair.”

On Wednesday, Suggs did show more admiration toward the Patriots organization than he has in the past.

“I mean, how many Super Bowls do they got? They got, like, four or five and played in, like, six or seven,” Suggs said of the Patriots, who have won four Super Bowls and have appeared in six. “You can’t do nothing but respect that. Wins are wins and championships are championships.”

So who are the Ravens’ biggest rivals: the Patriots or Steelers?

“That’s pretty close,” Suggs said. “We’ve had some legendary games with both of them. Nothing’s bigger than Ravens-Steelers.”

Colin Kaepernick benched by 49ers after dismal 3 quarters vs. Bears

CHICAGO — After a dismal three-plus quarters of offense, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly benched quarterback Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Kaepernick, who entered the game having thrown for more yards in the past four games than in any four-game stretch in his career, struggled mightily in the cold and snow of Soldier Field.

At the time the Niners pulled him for Gabbert, Kaepernick was 1-of-5 passing for 4 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 39.6. He was also sacked five times for 25 yards, leaving the Niners with negative-21 net passing yards and a 24-6 deficit at the time of his departure.

In the process, Kaepernick became the first quarterback in NFL history to be sacked five times and throw for fewer than 5 yards in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“I thought we needed a spark on offense, needed to get something going,” Kelly said. “[I] knew we were going to be throwing every down, so give Blaine a shot. That was it, nothing more.”

Kaepernick said he was “surprised” he got pulled but didn’t feel it was his place to put up a fight when quarterbacks coach Ryan Day informed him of the change despite getting so few chances to throw.

“It wasn’t something I was expecting,” Kaepernick said. “I am always prepared and ready to do everything I can to help this team win.”

“It’s not about my feelings. It’s about being able to help this team win. This coaching staff didn’t feel like I was out there being able to help this team win, so they made a change, whether I agree with that or not.”

The Niners spent last week practicing in the 85-degree temperatures of Orlando, leaving them to struggle in the cold and wet conditions of Soldier Field. Kaepernick, in particular, had trouble getting the ball out quickly and accurately.

“I think the weather was something that definitely played a factor,” Kaepernick said. “We have to be able to do a better job managing that, handling it, being able to throw the ball still.

“More than anything, it’s tougher throwing a wet football, but once again it’s something that we have to be better at in being able to handle that.”

On Gabbert’s first attempt, he completed an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. Gabbert finished 4-of-10 passing for 35 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked once for a safety. All told, the Niners finished with 6 net passing yards.

After the game, Kelly said there had been no discussions about who will start at quarterback next week against the New York Jets and no permanent decisions have been made.

“I was just watching how the ball was coming off of his hands and what our chances were of completing them,” Kelly said. “Maybe I was too cautious, but we didn’t look like we were doing much in the passing game.”

Kaepernick said whether he starts moving forward is not up to him and whether he believes he should is inconsequential.

“That’s not my decision,” Kaepernick said. “My feelings on it really don’t matter at this point. I’m just going to do everything I can to make sure I’m prepared.”

Kaepernick’s yardage output was, by far, the worst of his career in a game he started. His previous worst was a 67-yard outing against Arizona on Sept. 27, 2015.

After losing a preseason competition to Gabbert for the starting job, Kaepernick took over before the team’s Week 6 game against Buffalo. Sunday was Kaepernick’s seventh start of the season and the only one of those games he did not finish.

Kaepernick had been steadily improving over the past month but acknowledged that Sunday’s loss was a setback. Asked about an NFL Network report that he plans to opt out of his contract after the season, Kaepernick repeated the answer he has given when asked about it all season.

“Once again, like I’ve said all along, my focus is on the next game,” Kaepernick said. “So my focus has been on the Bears this past week.”

Richard Sherman on Cam Newton grabbing ’12th man’ flag: ‘I guess karma gets you’

RENTON, Wash. — After the Carolina Panthers beat the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, quarterback Cam Newton ran around Bank of America Stadium high-fiving fans.

But when one Seahawks fan dangled a “12″ flag near Newton, he grabbed it, crumpled it up and tossed it — all with a smile on his face.

As the Seahawks prepare to host the Panthers on Sunday night, cornerback Richard Sherman was asked if Newton crossed the line with his gesture.

“Yeah, he probably did,” Sherman said. “I guess karma gets you. It doesn’t look like you’re going to be in the playoffs this year.”

Carolina is in last place in the NFC South with a 4-7 record. The Seahawks are 7-3-1 and in first place in the NFC West.

The Seahawks played the Panthers twice last year — once in the regular season and again in the playoffs — and lost both times.