Cousins to start for injured RG3 on Sunday

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Cousins to start for injured RG3 on Sunday

WASHINGTON (AP) Robert Griffin III's sprained right knee will keep him out of the starting lineup Sunday when the Washington Redskins visit the Cleveland Browns in a game with vital playoff implications.

The Redskins announced Saturday night that fellow rookie Kirk Cousins will make his first career start as Redskins (7-6) try to run their winning streak to five games and keep the pressure on the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East.

Griffin tweeted: ``The decision was not my own... But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can''.

The Redskins did not say whether Griffin will be active for the game, or whether veteran Rex Grossman, who has been an inactive third-string quarterback for every game this season, will serve as the primary backup to Cousins.

Griffin, who is tied with New England's Tom Brady for the NFL lead in passer rating and whose popularity has soared in a few short months as a 22-year-old newcomer to the league, was injured when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata late in regulation during last week's 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

An MRI revealed a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament. The No. 2 overall draft pick and last year's Heisman Trophy winner was limited in practice all week, favoring the leg heavily on Wednesday but moving considerably better Thursday and Friday.

But offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said during the week that a decision on Griffin will rely more on the stability of the knee and the risk of further injury rather than how well the quarterback can move in practice, and head coach Mike Shanahan indicated the final call would hinge on an doctor's re-examination of the knee on Saturday.

The results of the examination apparently didn't go RG3's way.

Griffin has thrown 18 touchdown passes and only four interceptions this season and has a 104.2 rating. He has also rushed for 748 yards, an NFL record for a rookie quarterback.

Cousins was drafted in the fourth round from Michigan State, a surprise selection given that the Redskins had already selected Griffin. He made his first appearance after Griffin suffered a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5 and threw one touchdown pass and two fourth-quarter interceptions in a 24-17 loss.

Then last week, Cousins went 2 for 2 in the Redskins' final drive of regulation after Griffin was injured, throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left and then running in the game-tying 2-point conversion.

Cousins has completed 7 of 11 passes for 137 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his two appearances. He has gained a reputation as a studious backup, benefiting from the fact that he and Griffin were brought along together in an offseason program and training camp specifically designed by Redskins coaches for quarterbacks new to the pros.

The Redskins were 3-6 before their bye week, but now they are one game behind the Giants and also one game behind the front-runners for the NFC's two wild card berths. Griffin has led the comeback, throwing for 10 touchdowns and only one interception during the four-game winning streak.

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AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

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AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

Here’s a key AFC North question. Will Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stay healthy?

Bell is without question one of the league’s most talented backs. However, knee injuries have ended his season the past two years, leaving the Steelers without him when they were eliminated from the playoffs.

De’Angelo Williams did a superb job in place of Bell last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. But Bell is a better pass receiver and more elusive – capable of turning almost any play in to a big play. In 2014, Bell had over 2,000 yards combined from scrimmage – 1,316 yards rushing and 854 yards receiving.

Bell doesn’t want to be labeled as injury-prone, yet some people already view him that way. But at Steelers OTA’s, Bell showed up looking healthy, while vowing not to run cautiously next season.

“I’m going to be physical,” Bell told ESPN.com. “I’m out here with no knee brace or anything, didn’t wear a sleeve or anything. I’ve been training my knee for everything I’m about to go through, so when September gets here I’ll be even better than I am now. That’s even crazy to think about. But I’m excited.”

When Bell has been healthy, putting up numbers has not been a problem. The more Bell plays next season, the better the Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs.

Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

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Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

If the NFL had an All-Academic team, Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel would be on it.

In February, Urschel began the Ph.D program in mathematics at MIT. How’s he doing so far? Here’s a hint. When it comes to grades, Urschel is only familiar with one letter in the alphabet.

“My first semester in school in nearly three years,” Urschel wroter on Twitter. “Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A’s. The streak continues!!!”

Entering his third season with the Ravens, Urschel has found a way to juggle his love for football with his love for mathematics. He posted an interesting article on The Players Tribune this week in which he described training with the football team at MIT this spring.

“I probably had about 50 or 60 pounds on the biggest guy on MIT’s O-line,” Urschel wrote. “But when we ran, they put me to shame. They could outsprint me.

“What I found is that the team at MIT is no joke. It is a football team – in some ways, more of a football team than any I’d ever seen. These guys love football. They are playing the game because they want to. No one is making them come to practice, no one is checking up on them. They know as well as anyone about head injuries; they know that football is dangerous; they know the feeling of exhaustion and pain. They still play. They don’t do it for money, and they don’t do it for status.

“We talk about dedication and passion in the pros, but the truth is, sometimes the game feels like a job. You start to think of the paycheck. You feel the grind. But training with the team at MIT, I started thinking about what had drawn me to football as a kid. It felt like a game again. I had thought I might have something to teach the team. I never imagined they’d have so much to teach me.”

That guy in the Dos Equis beer commercials might be the most interesting man in the world. But Urschel has built a strong resume as the most interesting player on the Ravens.

RELATED: NFL ANNOUNCES LOCATIONS FOR 2019, 2020 AND 2021 SUPER BOWLS

NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

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NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls. The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021. 

The cities chosen each included new or upgraded stadiums in their pitches to the league. 

Atlanta will be home to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opening in 2017. 

Miami's stadium (Sun Life Stadium from 2010-2016) is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will include an open-air canopy to provide shade for 92 percent of seats, according to Sports Illustrated. Construction should be complete before the 2017 season. 

And Los Angeles will boast a new 300-acre, campus-style stadium housing the Rams and potentially a second team. The $2.6 billion project will be the most expensive sports arena in the world, reports CNN, and should be ready before the 2019 NFL season.