NFL Player News: Last 24 hours, All Positions

News: Smith is active for Thursday's game against the Chargers after missing two with a groin injury.
Impact: This is a huge addition for the Cowboys, who had been struggling to protect Dak Prescott without him.
News: Benjamin (knee) still isn't practicing, so his status for Sunday's game against the Chiefs is very up in the air.
Impact: Benjamin injured the knee last week, and though it's nothing major, it could keep him out for one week.
News: Sanders did not practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury but was back for Thursday's session and appears good to go for Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Impact: Sanders, who missed two games last month because of the ankle, will be teamed with a new quarterback in Paxton Lynch if he can play.
News: Forte remains sidelined with an ailing knee and is uncertain to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Impact: Forte, who turns 32 on Dec. 10, missed the Jets' last game at Tampa Bay on Nov. 12 with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. He ran for a season-best 77 yards against Buffalo on Nov. 2, but recently said he has been dealing with swelling in the knee for "a while" and it worsened. Forte had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the end of last season to repair a torn meniscus.
News: The Lions reportedly claimed Freeney off waivers on Wednesday, one day after he was released by the Seahawks.
Impact: The move reunites Freeney with Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, who was the Colts' offensive coordinator and head coach for part of Freeney's tenure in Indianapolis. The seven-time Pro Bowler, in his 16th season, will be joining his sixth NFL team.
News: Brady sat out practice Wednesday with what the team says is an Achilles tendon injury.
Impact: He has yet to miss a game because of an injury since 2008 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening game. The 40-year-old has thrown for 3,146 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season.
News: The Texans have added Ellington, who had been released by the Cardinals.
Impact: Ellington, whose cousin Bruce Ellington is a wide receiver for the Texans, has caught 33 passes for 297 yards out of the backfield this season, and rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries.
News: Vaccaro says he'll return Sunday against the Rams.
Impact: This would be a big boost for a Saints defense that didn't look particularly good against the Redskins.
News: Smith-Schuster didn't practice again Thursday as he deals with a sore hamstring and is questionable to play in Week 12.
Impact: It's not expected to keep him out Sunday night against the Packers, but if ever the Steelers were going to be extra cautious, this would be the week.
News: Beathard will start in Week 12 against the Seahawks.
Impact: Jimmy Garoppolo's time is certainly coming, but it would have been tough to bench Beathard after his excellent pre-bye week showing against the Giants. Given the Seahawks' injuries, perhaps he'll play well again.
News: Johnson isn't expected to return this season.
Impact: This isn't particularly surprising. The Cardinals are out of the playoff hunt and there's no sense risking his long-term health.
News: Newton was limited in practice with a right thumb injury, but the Panthers don't seem too concerned.
Impact: Newton should be fine for Sunday against the Jets. Keep an eye on the weather in New Jersey, as that's more likely to affect his throwing than his thumb.
News: Grant is questionable for the Redskins' game against the Giants on Thursday.
Impact: Grant is good for about three catches a week and has totaled three TDs this season.
News: Wilson returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since pulling his hamstring in Week 8.
Impact: He seems to be on track to return for Sunday's home game against the Bills, where he'll likely retake the starting No. 2 job from Demarcus Robinson.
News: Fournette was limited in practice Wednesday, but remains on track to play Sunday in Arizona.
Impact: Fournette knows his ankle may both him all season, but he still topped 100 yards last week against the Browns.
News: Bailey (groin) has a chance to play on Thanksgiving, according to Jerry Jones, and is listed as questionable.
Impact: One of the game's top kickers hasn't taken the field since getting hurt in Week 7.
News: Brown is questionable for Thursday's game against the Giants with an Achilles injury.
Impact: Brown is the league's leading tackler. He's been limited in practice but should be good enough to play on Thanksgiving.
News: Hitchens is questionable for Thursday's game against the Chargers because of a groin injury.
Impact: The fourth-year pro has become an even more important part of the defense with star linebacker Sean Lee sidelined. Hitchens has 36 tackles in six games.
News: Perine is listed as questionable for a Thanksgiving matchup with the Giants because of a finger injury.
Impact: Though this is something to keep an eye on because Perine has been limited in practice, he is expected to play and be the every-down back now that Chris Thompson is out.
News: Vernon (shoulder) is questionable for Thursday's game against the Redskins.
Impact: He has missed time with an ankle problem, then hurt his shoulder on Sunday. Vernon has two sacks in six games.
News: Reed won't play Thursday against the Giants, the fourth straight game he's missed with a hamstring injury.
Impact: Reed has 27 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns this season in five games.
News: Beathard (thumb) will start Sunday's game against the Seahawks, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Impact: San Francisco general manager John Lynch spoke in support Beathard on Tuesday, and head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Wednesday that the rookie will receive at least one more start. Beathard will face a Seahawks defense that actually looks a bit vulnerable sans Richard Sherman (Achilles) and Kam Chancellor (neck). Even so, the 49ers are still expected to take a look at Jimmy Garoppolo for at least one or two games before the end of the season.
News: Coleman should start this week with Devonta Freeman reportedly still in concussion protocol.
Impact: Coleman only had 43 yards on 20 carries against the Seahawks, though perhaps he'll find things better against the Bucs.
News: Freeman remains in the concussion protocol and is unlikely to return Sunday against the Bucs, but he did return to practice Thursday on a limited basis.
Impact: This would mean another start for Tevin Coleman if Freeman sits out again, so plan accordingly. Freeman is listed as questionable.
News: Cutler did some light throwing Thursday as he remains in concussion protocol, but he hasn't been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Patriots.
Impact: Coach Adam Gase declined to say whether he would consider starting Cutler even if the veteran doesn't get in a full practice.
News: Peterman is back on the bench this week after his five-interception debut.
Impact: If you were reading this looking for advice on whether you should play Nathan Peterman in a fantasy league, you've already lost.
News: Taylor is the Bills' starter again this week at Kansas City after Nathan Peterman's disastrous debut.
Impact: Taylor should be extra motivated to play well this week and Kansas City's pass defense was in bad shape until facing Eli Manning and a stiff breeze last week.
News: Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that Freeman remains in the NFL's concussion protocol and won't practice Wednesday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Impact: It appears Freeman hasn't made much notable progress in his recovery from the concussion since entering the protocol following his early departure in the first quarter of the Falcons' Week 10 win over the Cowboys. Though practice participation doesn't have any bearing on a player receiving clearance from the protocol, it's typically an indication that one is trending in the right direction. Given that Freeman had a prior history of concussions before suffering his latest head injury, the Falcons could opt to proceed cautiously with the running back, who missed his first game of the season in Monday's win over the Seahawks. Freeman will likely need to practice in some capacity either Thursday or Friday and receive clearance from an independent neurologist afterward in order for the Falcons to give him the green light to play Sunday against the Buccaneers. If that fails to materialize, Tevin Coleman would serve as the team's lead back for the second straight contest.
News: Bills head coach Sean McDermott named Taylor the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Impact: Though Taylor had turned in his worst outing of the season in a blowout loss to New Orleans in Week 10, it was still surprising when McDermott elected to bench the veteran last week in favor of untested rookie Nathan Peterman for a road matchup with the Chargers. The decision quickly proved to be ill advised, as Peterman threw five first-half interceptions before being replaced by Taylor, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in relief. While Taylor will get the chance to get the 5-5 Bills back into the win column Sunday, McDermott said that the team will continue to "evaluate every position every week," according to Chris Brown of the Bills' official site, suggesting that Taylor isn't necessarily a lock to remain the starter the rest of the way.