ATLANTA — New England Patriots left tackle Trent Brown was excused from the team’s final media session Thursday before the Super Bowl to be with his wife, who had a baby.

A team spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press that Brown’s wife was in town in the Atlanta area, and the offensive lineman would play in the game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 6-foot-8, 380-pound Brown was acquired by New England last April from San Francisco and started all 16 games at left tackle for the Patriots this season.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower did not attend the practice session because of an illness. Coach Bill Belichick said Hightower will be evaluated on Friday.

RAMS: Kicker Greg Zuerlein (left foot) and safety Blake Countess (foot) both were limited in practice. Zuerlein did not kick, but will on Friday.

WASHINGTON: President Bruce Allen denied a recent NFL Network report that the team is prepared for quarterback Alex Smith to miss all of 2019, calling it “nonsense.”

Speaking to WTEM-AM (the Team 980) from the Super Bowl, Allen said Smith “is improving,” but did not give a timeline for when Smith would return from the compound fracture of his leg suffered last season and the ensuing series of surgeries to stop infections in the leg.

COWBOYS: The Cowboys promoted Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator and hired former Dallas quarterback Jon Kitna to replace Moore as QB coach.

Moore is replacing Scott Linehan after one season on the coaching staff, and just one year after retiring as a player.


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