NFL

A pick 6 of players on injured reserve

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Sure are a lot of star NFL players down for the count - and it's only the fourth week of the season.

Maybe it was the lockout and lack of prep time before the season opened, but whatever the reason there's a whole lot of hurtin' going on the around the league.

Peyton Manning tops the list, or course. The Colts' four-time league MVP is out with a ''neck,'' as in three neck surgeries in 19 months. However, he's not on injured reserve, and owner Jim Irsay is saying there's an outside chance his quarterback could return in December. Maybe.

The defending AFC West champion Chiefs lost three top players to knee injuries early on in running back Jamaal Charles, strong safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki. Kansas City is 0-3.

They defending AFC South champion Colts are not only Peytonless but took a double hit last Sunday, losing defensive leaders LB Gray Brackett and SS Melvin Bullitt to shoulder injuries. Indianapolis is 0-3, too.

Others out for the season include Packers safety Nick Collins (neck), Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (right knee) and wide receiver Domenik Hixon (right knee), Steelers tackle WIllie Colon (right triceps) and Panthers linebacker Jon Beason (left Achilles tendon).

And what would an IR list be without Bob Sanders, the strong safety who's missed more games than he's played since coming into the NFL in 2004. The Chargers put him on IR Wednesday with knee injury.

Herewith, this week's Pick Six of players expected to shine but who instead are sidelined until next season.

- Kenny Britt, Titans: Just as the wide receiver and new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck were becoming one of the league's top pass-and-catch duos, Britt tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee in Sunday's win over the Broncos. A first-round pick from Rutgers in 2009, he was among the league leaders with 289 yards receiving before his knee buckled in the second quarter. Hasselbeck called Britt ''probably the most talented player on this team at any position.''

- Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: The All-Pro who was second in the league in rushing last season went down in Week 2, a week after Berry went down and a few weeks after Moeaki was lost in a preseason game. All are out with knee injuries. Talk about piling on. KC may have decent replacements for Charles in Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster, but so far the running game is sputtering.

- Gary Brackett, Colts: The offense is lost without Manning, and who knows what'll happen to the defense when it lines up against the Buccaneers on Monday night? The team's steadiest tackler, Brackett called signals for a defense that kept the Colts in last week's game against the Steelers. Add the loss of solid SS Melvin Bullitt, and it's not a pretty picture for a team that had hopes of playing in the Super Bowl in its own stadium.

- Roscoe Parrish, Bills: The way quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been flinging the ball around, it's hard to believe Parrish isn't around making any of the catches. The speedy receiver injured his left ankle in Week 2's win over the Raiders, just when he was being counted on as one of the Bills' go-to guys. By the way, David Nelson is filling in quite nicely (he caught the winning TD pass against the Raiders).

- Ty Warren, Broncos: The nose tackle was Denver's free-agent showpiece, but went down with a torn right triceps on Aug. 15. The Broncos signed him to a two-year, $8.2 million deal. He also sat out last year in New England with a hip injury.

- Eric Steinbach, Browns: The left guard is out for the year after back surgery. He was arguably the club's best offensive lineman last season, and a big reason for Peyton Hillis' success. So far, the running game is not the same without him.

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Follow Richard Rosenblatt on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rosenblattap

Tagged: Bills, Browns, Broncos, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Giants, Panthers, Steelers, Peyton Manning, Ty Warren, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt, Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles, Kenny Britt, Eric Berry

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