Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to miss the final two games of the regular season but might be able to return for the playoffs, according to numerous reports Monday.

Brown, the NFL’s leading receiver, was injured in the second quarter of Pittsburgh’s 27-24 loss Sunday to the New England Patriots. Several media outlets reported Monday that Brown has a partially torn calf muscle.

Brown was in the midst of a season that had him in the conversation for the NFL MVP award, a rarity for a wide receiver. He went over 100 receptions for the fifth straight season and will finish with 101 catches for 1,533 yards.

“It changes. A.B. is significant,” Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters, “but I thought the guys did a nice job of adjusting and making plays, largely. You lose somebody like AB and there’s an adjustment.”

PANTHERS: The stunning news of the rare opportunity to purchase an NFL team has quickly garnered the attention of sports figures, business investors and politicians alike.

Amid reports of sexual and racial remarks made by Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson in the workplace, he has unexpectedly announced that he is selling the NFL franchise after this season ends.


It was a bombshell that rocked the Carolinas, and generated shock waves inside and out of the organization. On Monday, the team promoted Tina Becker to chief operating officer and gave her full control of the day-to-day operations.

Becker said in a release that “these have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers.” She added that her immediate focus will be on the corporate side of the organization, “while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days.”

Richardson, meanwhile, stepped away from daily responsibilities to focus on the sale of the team – which will come with a multibillion dollar price tag.

That’s what is known, but Richardson’s decision to walk away after nearly 25 years as owner has left more questions than answers about the franchise’s future – most notably, who will buy it and will they keep the team in Charlotte.

The Panthers are tethered to Charlotte through the 2018 season because of an agreement on an $87.5 million stadium renovation between the city and the team in 2013. That renovation is nearly complete.

But a buyer could move the team in 2019.


n Linebacker Thomas Davis was suspended for two games by the NFL following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

RAIDERS: Coach Jack Del Rio still doesn’t understand how Dallas got a first down by the width of an index card in a key play of Oakland’s loss Sunday night to the Dallas Cowboys.

Dak Prescott’s fourth-down sneak gave the Cowboys a first down by the narrowest of margins after a measurement that included props and helped set up the go-ahead score in a 20-17 win.

“Nothing really surprises you after 32 years, things happen in this league,” Del Rio said. “But, that was unusual.”

The key play came when the Cowboys went for it on fourth-and-1 from their 39 with about five minutes left in a tie game. Prescott dived into the pile on a sneak, and the officials took some time to untangle the mess and spot the ball.

Referee Gene Steratore called for the chains to come out, but even then it wasn’t clear if the ball had cleared the first-down threshold. He tried to slide an index card between the tip of the ball and the end of the chain before awarding Dallas a first down.


Oakland still had a chance to win after holding Dallas to a field goal on that drive, but with the Raiders driving for a possible winning touchdown in the final minute, quarterback Derek Carr fumbled while trying to stretch the ball over the goal line on a scramble and the ball rolled out of the end zone for a touchback that gave the Cowboys the ball.

n Left tackle Donald Penn will undergo surgery on his injured right foot and will miss the rest of the season.

Penn has appeared in all 174 consecutive games since making his debut as an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay in 2007.

CARDINALS: Drew Stanton will be back at quarterback for Arizona when the New York Giants come to the desert for the Cardinals’ final home game of the season Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the move Monday, benching Blaine Gabbert after five starts.

PACKERS: Despite bleak playoff hopes, Coach Mike McCarthy left the door open for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to play against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.

“Aaron Rodgers is sore, rightfully so,” McCarthy said, one day after Rodgers’ return from a fractured right collarbone wasn’t enough in the Packers’ 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers. “He was hit too many times, took two big hits. So we’re working through that. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

McCarthy made the comments before Atlanta’s game Monday night’s against Tampa Bay. A Falcons win would eliminate the Packers from playoff contention and mark the end of the team’s eight-year run of postseason berths.

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