AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

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AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

Bengals Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert will undergo ankle surgery, according to multiple reports.

Estimates varied on when Eifert would return, but he was not expected to be back on the field until at least mid-August.

Eifert suffered his injury at the Pro Bowl, which he left wearing a walking boot.

His ankle has not responded to treatment as well as Eifert hoped, and he could not join his teammates for OTA’s this week.

A first-round pick in 2013 (21st overall), Eifert led all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdown catches last season, and had 52 catches overall for 615 yards. Still only 25 years old, Eifert has emerged as a major weapon for the Bengals, and they have already picked up his fifth-year option.

The priority for the Bengals is to have Eifert ready for Week 1 when they visit the Jets. Ryan Hewitt, Tyler Kroft, and C. J. Uzomah will see plenty of reps at tight end until Eifert returns.

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NFL owners vote for modest changes to replay, shun overhaul

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NFL owners vote for modest changes to replay, shun overhaul

The NFL made modest changes to replay rules Tuesday, but did not institute major changes that some teams, including the Ravens, had proposed in recent months.

Owners voted for changes that slightly increased situations where plays can be reviewed, and when officials can turn to the league office for help during games.

Situations subject to replay review, which were not before, include:

- Penalty enforcement

- Proper down

- Spot of a foul

- Status of game clock

Plays not reviewable in the past, that can now be reviewed, include:

- Where a ball in the air crosses the sideline.

- Whether a player was blocked into a loose ball.

- Advancement by a player after either a valid, or invalid, fair catch signal.

- Whether player impetus forced a ball to travel into the end zone.

The Ravens made a proposal in March that would have made all plays reviewable except for offensive and defensive holding, offensive and defensive pass interference, illegal contact, illegal use of hands, and whether a quarterback, receiver, or kicker had been hit illegally. The Patriots had previously proposed that all plays be made reviewable, but that has also been resisted by the owners and the competition committee.

Each team will still be given two replay challenges per game, and will be awarded a third challenge only if the first two are successful.

2015-16 Season in Review: Taylor Chorney

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2015-16 Season in Review: Taylor Chorney

With the Capitals’ 2015-16 season now in the rearview mirror, we continue with our player-by-player analysis through their numerical roster.

No. 4 Matt Niskanen

Age: 29 (turns 30 on April 27, 2017)

Games: 55

Goals: 1

Assists: 5

Points: 6

Plus-minus: Plus-8

Penalty minutes: 21

Time on ice: 13:11

Playoff stats: 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1, 4 PIM, 12:34

Contract status: 2 years remaining on 2-year, $1.6 million contract extension ($800,000 cap hit)

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When the Capitals signed Taylor Chorney to a one-year, one-way contract last July 1, the general reaction from the Caps’ fan base was: Who?

A career minor leaguer with 400 games of AHL experience but just 68 games at the NHL level, the Caps viewed Chorney as a solid seventh defenseman with enough NHL experience (including five playoff games for the Penguins last year) to fill in as an injury replacement.

That’s exactly how he was used. With Brooks Orpik (41 games) and John Carlson (26) missing 67 games due to injury, Chorney served as a reliable seventh defenseman who played all six of the games Orpik missed in the playoffs (3 because of injury, 3 because of suspension).

“I think I did pretty well,” Chorney said in his post-season exit interview with reporters at Kettler. “Heading into the year you don't really know on a new team exactly where your place is going to be, it's just different.

“But I think as the year went on I did a pretty good job earning more and more trust from the coaching staff and from my teammates and I think by the end of the year I felt like I was playing some pretty good hockey. It's just too bad that it all got cut a little short.”

Chorney began and ended the regular season primarily as a healthy scratch. He played in just five of the Caps’ first 14 games and in eight of their final 22 games. In between, he played in 44 straight games from Nov. 12 through Feb. 13 and the Caps went 30-10-4 in that stretch.

Shortly after, on Feb. 19, Chorney signed a two-year contract extension that will pay him $775,000 next season and $825,000 in 2017-18. This is the first time in his pro career that Chorney enters into an offseason with the security of a two-year NHL level contract.

“It's nice,” he said. “Going into the year, you don't really know what to expect. You're just hoping to get an opportunity to show you can play and I think I did a pretty good job of doing that and it was definitely nice getting an extension in the middle of the year.

“It just kind of puts your mind at ease to know that most likely you're going to be here and you're going to be a part of it. At the same time, I think that knowing that you're probably going to be back next year it makes the loss that much tougher. I think you feel more invested with this group of guys and the expectation was so high for us and I think that it's going to carry over for us next year and we'll be ready to rock.”

As well as the Caps played with Chorney in the lineup during the regular season, they were 1-6 in the games he played in the post-season.

In their season-ending 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins in Game 6, Chorney logged a playoff-high 16:10 of ice time and was on the ice for Nick Bonino’s game-winning goal. Chorney was beaten off the boards by Carl Hagelin and despite a stick check by Chorney, Hagelin got off the shot that Bonino shoveled past Braden Holtby to end the Caps’ season.  

“There's some things that you could do differently,” Chorney said of the game-winner. “It's tough. It's a bang-bang play right at the net and that's usually how those overtime goals happen and just whether you're a half step late on the coverage or just get your stick in there to maybe break it up, that's definitely one of those things that, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been thinking about it for a couple days. I'm sure that it'll be with me for a little while, but I guess I don't really regret anything about the way I played. It's just one of those plays where you'd probably do something a little bit different. …The big picture, there's probably a lot more going on than just that one play, but at the same time there's some things that you'd probably do a little bit different.”

Heading into next season, Chorney is one of six Capitals defensemen under contract and with Dmitry Orlov expected to be re-signed, his role likely won’t change much. Neither, he said, will the expectations of a team that ran away with the Presidents’ Trophy this season.

“We had high expectations for our team all year,” he said. “Just the way we played throughout the season, we knew that we had a chance to do something special and we fell short this year and I think that that's probably going to be with us for a while now. Hopefully, it'll fuel us for next season.”

MORE CAPITALS: SEASON IN REVIEW: MATT NISKANEN