Chicago Bears have paid tribute to “the ultimate Bear” Dick Butkus following the death of the Hall of Fame middle line-backer at the age of 80.

The Bears led a moment of silence before their win over the Washington Commanders on Thursday.

Born in Chicago, Butkus played his entire football career in the state of Illinois and in his nine years with the Bears, being the third overall choice in the 1965 NFL Draft, he was a five-time first-team All-Pro selection and an eight-time Pro Bowl honouree.

Butkus’ 49 total career takeaways from turnovers rank second in the franchise’s history and he was renowned as one of the fiercest tacklers in the NFL.

A right knee injury forced him to retire at the age of 31 following the 1973 season. Butkus was named in Hall of Fame All-Decade Teams for the 1960s and 1970s. In 1979, Butkus was added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Dick was the ultimate Bear and one of the greatest players in NFL history,” Bears chairman George H McCaskey said on www.chicagobears.com.

“He was Chicago’s son. He exuded what our great city is about and, not coincidently, what (former head coach) George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership.

“He refused to accept anything less than the best from himself, or from his team-mates.

“His contributions to the game he loved will live forever and we are grateful he was able to be at our home opener this year to be celebrated one last time by his many fans.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell paid tribute, with a post on X – formerly known as Twitter, reading: “Dick Butkus was a fierce and passionate competitor who helped define the line-backer position as one of the NFL’s all-time greats.

“Dick’s intuition, toughness and athleticism made him the model linebacker whose name will forever be linked to the position and the Chicago Bears.”

Following the Bears’ 40-20 victory on Thursday night – which ended the longest losing streak in the franchise’s history – wide receiver DJ Moore added a heartfelt message to Butkus.

Moore, who finished the game with 230 receiving yards and three touchdowns, posted on social media: “R.I.P Dick Butkus. Was looking over us Tonight”.

The Chicago Bears finally ended the longest losing streak in the franchise’s history with a dominant 40-20 victory over the Washington Commanders.

Dating back to last season, the Bears had lost 14 straight games heading into Thursday night’s clash.

But you would not have known that based on how they started against Washington, scoring three touchdowns and two field goals en route to a 24-point advantage at half-time.

The Commanders were able to offer some challenge in the third quarter, a touchdown and field goal closing the gap to 27-14.

However, Chicago found their offensive groove again in the fourth, clinching the win on a 56-yard completion from quarterback Justin Fields to wide receiver DJ Moore.

Having struggled through his first four games of the season, Fields was back to his brilliant best against Washington.

The 24-year-old threw for four touchdowns – including a hat-trick to Moore – without a turnover.

Washington’s Sam Howell had 388 passing yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.

Chicago Bears legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, one of the most intimidating players in NFL history, has died. He was 80.

According to a statement released by the team, Butkus’ family confirmed that he died in his sleep overnight at his home in Malibu, California.

Butkus spent his entire nine-year career with his hometown Bears after he was selected third overall in the 1965 draft out of the University of Illinois.

Though his career was shortened due to multiple knee injuries and forced his retirement at age 31, Butkus still racked up 1,020 tackles, 22 interceptions and a franchise-best 27 fumble recoveries in 119 games with the Bears.

Named to the NFL’s All-Decade teams in the 60s and 70s, Butkus garnered a slew of individual awards with six All-NFL selections, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards and eight Pro Bowls.

His hard-hitting style of play earned him several nicknames, including The Maestro of Mayhem, The Enforcer, The Animal and The Robot of Destruction.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 in his first year of eligibility and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1978.

His No. 51 jersey was retired by the Bears in 1994.

Butkus only experienced two winning seasons in the NFL and never made the playoffs.

In 1985, the Butkus Award was established to honor the top linebackers at the high school, college and professional levels.

He also had a career after the NFL, playing off his tough-guy image and appearing in commercials for Miller Lite, Prestone, Schick and Visa, as well as film roles in “Any Given Sunday,” “Hang Time” and “The Last Boy Scout.”

Butkus is survived by his wife, Helen and three children.

Star wide receiver Cooper Kupp returned to practise on Wednesday, and could be back on the field as early as Sunday for the Los Angeles Rams' home game against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

Kupp injured his hamstring during training camp in early August, and the team placed him on injured reserve, ruling him out for at least four games.

The Rams announced Wednesday, they've designated Kupp to return, starting his 21-day practise window. He can be activated at any point over the next three weeks, or the team will be forced to shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Los Angeles coach Sean McVay, however, has hinted his return could be imminent.

 

If Kupp does suit up against 4-0 Philadelphia, it's uncertain if he'll be on a play count, as it would be his first game since Week 10 of the 2022 season after he missed the final eight contests with an ankle injury.

Kupp had 75 receptions for 812 yards and six TDs last year before getting hurt following a sensational 2021 season that saw him be named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Two seasons ago, Kupp led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), then added six scores during the Rams’ playoff run that ended with a title and Kupp being named Super Bowl 56 MVP.

Although the Rams are missing one of the league's top receivers this season, Matthew Stafford has found a new favourite target to keep the offence rolling.

Rookie Puka Nacua leads the NFL with 39 receptions - the most by any receiver in league history through four games - while his 501 receiving yards trail only Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson's 543 for the most in the NFL. Nacua's first career touchdown was a memorable one, as he scored on a 22-yard reception in overtime last Sunday to lead the Rams to a 29-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts to improve Los Angeles to 2-2.

Another relatively unknown receiver has also stepped up for the Rams, with Tutu Atwell catching 22 passes for 270 yards.

Seattle claimed their third-straight victory in dominant fashion as the Seahawks’ defence monstered the New York Giants en route to a 24-3 win.

The Seahawks sacked Giants quarterback Daniel Jones 10 times and came away with two interceptions, including a 97-yard pick six to rookie Devon Witherspoon.

The visitors opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter, Geno Smith finding DK Metcalf in the end zone on a six-yard reception.

New York were able to cut the gap through a 55-yard field goal from Graham Gano.

But the Giants’ offence was no match for Seattle’s defence and did not look like scoring again from there.

Seattle found the end zone again just before half-time and Witherspoon’s third-quarter score ultimately sealed the 21-point victory.

The Indianapolis Colts could be getting a big part of their offence back for Sunday's game against the visiting Tennessee Titans.

The Colts will activate Jonathan Taylor from the physically unable to perform list this week, and depending how he looks in practise, he could be on the field for their next game.

Indianapolis' first practise of the week is Wednesday, and it will mark Taylor's first of the season after he was placed on the PUP list at the start of training camp while recovering from ankle surgery.

Colts coach Shane Steichen told reporters on Monday that Taylor is excited to rejoin the Colts and get back to work.

 

The ankle injury wasn't the only issue this offseason for Taylor, as the 2021 NFL rushing champion had been mired in a contract dispute and had requested a trade.

Taylor, the runner-up for the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2021, is entering the final season of his rookie deal and is scheduled to earn $4.3 million in 2023.

The fourth-year pro ran for a franchise-record 1,811 yards in 2021, but was slowed by injuries last year and was put on the PUP list earlier this summer as he recovered from ankle surgery that ended his 2022 campaign in December.

Ankle issues limited Taylor to 11 games last season, which he finished with 861 rushing yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per attempt.

Taylor averaged 5.5 yards per carry during his sensational 2021 season in which he also tied for the NFL lead with 20 total touchdowns while playing in all 17 games.

He'll be joining a 2-2 team that got No. 4 overall pick Anthony Richardson back in Sunday's 29-23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams after the rookie quarterback suffered a concussion in Week 2. 

Without Taylor in the fold, Zack Moss has emerged as the team's No. 1 running back, and has rushed for 280 yards with a touchdown through three games.

Damar Hamlin said his return to the NFL “meant everything” nine months after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

The Buffalo Bills safety collapsed during a game in Cincinnati on January 2 and had to be resuscitated before being rushed to hospital.

Hamlin was cleared to resume his career and made his first NFL appearance on Sunday in the Bills’ 48-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

He told a post-match press conference: “That moment meant everything to me.

“I think it was more about proving something to myself than anything else, showing myself that I have the courage, I have the strength, I’ve got the pride, all those words, in me.

“To go through something so dramatic and be able to come back from it and to be able to still do what I love at the highest level in the world is amazing.”

Hamlin was the last player to emerge from the tunnel prior to the match and ran the length of the field before removing his helmet and soaking up the acclaim of the crowd.

Hamlin could be in the Bills’ side next Sunday when they travel to London to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Kansas City Chiefs held off a brave effort from the New York Jets to claim their third win of the season 23-20 on Sunday night.

Having lost Aaron Rodgers in game one and staring down a three-game losing streak, pressure was mounting on under-fire Jets quarterback Zach Wilson to stand up against the NFL’s heavyweights.

The 24-year-old was able to do just that despite the narrow defeat, throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was below his best, giving up two intercepts with just one touchdown, but did just enough down the stretch to get Kansas City across the line with a late field goal.

Two of the NFL’s other best offences collided earlier on Sunday with the Buffalo Bills getting the better of the previously undefeated Miami Dolphins.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen was seemingly unstoppable, throwing for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-20 win.

The Denver Broncos scraped past the Chicago Bears 31-28 to claim their first win of the season.

A 17-point fourth quarter lifted the Broncos to victory to leave the Bears winless through four games.

The early-season woes continued for the Cincinnati Bengals, who suffered their third loss of the season 27-3 to the Tennessee Titans.

There were also heavy losses for the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, while the New England Patriots were steamrollered 38-3 by the Dallas Cowboys.

The Philadelphia Eagles stretched their winning streak to four with a 34-31 overtime win against the Washington Commanders.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Jake Elliott’s 54-yard field goal which ultimately got the Eagles over the line.

The Los Angeles Rams also had a narrow escape against the Indianapolis Colts, a touchdown to Puka Nacua in overtime ultimately proving the difference.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Las Vegas Raiders, the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers downed the Arizona Cardinals 35-16, the Minnesota Vikings kept the Carolina Panthers winless with a 21-13 victory and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cruised past the New Orleans Saints 26-9.

The Cleveland Browns will be without Deshaun Watson for their game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday because of an injured right shoulder.

With Watson out, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will make his first NFL start in this key AFC North matchup.

Watson hurt his shoulder in last Sunday's 27-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, and was limited in practice all week.

He warmed up before Cleveland's game against visiting Baltimore, but was ultimately ruled out.

 

Watson is coming off his best game of the season, throwing for 289 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions after throwing two TD passes and two picks in Cleveland's first two games of the season.

His absence means the Browns may lean more on the ground game and running back Jerome Ford, though he rushed for just 18 yards on 10 carries last Sunday in his first start following Nick Chubb's season-ending injury.

Thompson-Robinson is a fifth-round draft pick out of UCLA, and appeared in five plays against the Titans, but has yet to attempt a pass.

The Browns and Ravens are each 2-1, and enter Week 4 tied atop the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Las Vegas Raiders have ruled Jimmy Garoppolo out for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers because of a concussion.

Who gets the start at quarterback is still uncertain less than 24 hours before kickoff.

Garoppolo practised on a limited basis Thursday and Friday but has not cleared the league's concussion protocol and Las Vegas announced Saturday night that he would not play.

The Raiders did not say who would start between veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O'Connell.

 

Garoppolo played every snap in last Sunday's 23-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was evaluated for a concussion afterward.

The concussion is the latest setback for the 31-year-old Garoppolo, who has struggled to stay healthy over the past several seasons.

Las Vegas signed Garoppolo to a three-year, $67.5 million contract in March, including $34 million guaranteed, but the 10-year veteran is off to a shaky start with his new team. He has thrown for 709 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions for the 1-2 Raiders.

Hoyer is a 15-year veteran and is 16-24 in 40 career starts. In 77 career games, the 37-year-old has thrown for 10,668 yards with 53 TDs and 35 interceptions.

The Raiders also said starting cornerback Nate Hobbs won't play because of an injured ankle, while running back Brandon Bolden is expected to play despite not travelling with the team to Los Angeles because of a personal reason.

The Las Vegas Raiders released Chandler Jones on Saturday, less than 48 hours after the defensive end’s arrest.

The club confirmed the move with a post on social media.

Jones, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has been away from the team since before this season after a flurry of social media posts criticising the team’s leadership. He was placed on the non-football injury/illness list on Sept. 20.

Jones was in the second season of a three-year, $51million contract.

Jones’ arrest was the latest in a series of concerning developments that led to the Raiders cutting ties with the veteran sack artist.

Jones said on social media Monday that he had been hospitalised and taken to a behavioural health facility “against my will.”

The 33-year-old continued his concerning and bizarre social media activity throughout the week, including multiple live videos.

In one video, Jones spoke about a variety of topics for about 25 minutes before breaking down in tears while discussing the death of former teammate Aaron Hernandez.

Jones has since deleted those posts and said that his account had been hacked.

Early Friday morning, Vegas-area police arrested Jones on accusations of violating a domestic violence temporary restraining order. He was detained at the Clark County Detention Center before paying his $15,000 bail.

There has been a wave of growing concern about Jones’ mental health, given his erratic behaviour.

After Jones’ arrest, the Raiders posted a statement on social media saying they are “hopeful that Chandler Jones receives the care that he needs. He, his family, and all those involved are in our thoughts. As this is now a legal matter, we will not be providing further comment.”

Jones has 112 career sacks over 11 seasons with the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Raiders.

 

Star running back Travis Etienne wants to “put on a great show” as the Jacksonville Jaguars make NFL history by playing back-to-back games in London.

The UK has long been a home away from home for the Florida franchise, who are breaking new ground by becoming the first team to play two regular season games outside of the United States.

The Jaguars kick off the 2023 International Games on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley – their 10th game in England as part of a multi-year commitment to play in the region.

Doug Pederson’s side remain in London to face the Buffalo Bills at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next weekend as part of an unprecedented 10-day stay that the talented Etienne is relishing.

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“I feel this could be a time for us to rally together and just kind of grow, continue to build and just come together as a team,” the 24-year-old running back told the PA news agency.

“When we leave there, I want them to know the Jaguars were here, and we put on a great show and they can’t wait to see us again.

“I feel like it’s going to be an exciting time in London.”

It is a decade since the Jags first played in England and owner Shahid Khan told PA last year that the “goal is for London and the UK to always be a part of the Jacksonville Jaguars identity”.

Khan also said “we’ve been clear in our commitment to play a home game in London every year”, with Etienne getting his first taste of it in last October’s Wembley loss to the Denver Broncos.

“I really became aware of that (fanaticism) last year when I took my first trip out there to play the game,” he said of the 21-17 defeat in which he scored a touchdown.

“It was a tremendous experience for me just being in London for the first time and having a chance to go out there and showcase my skillset to the world.

“I took a loss on my first trip, so this trip I want to leave win a win.

“It’ll make me feel so much better and then have an opportunity to get two wins is going to be awesome.”

Last year’s London loss came during a five-game losing streak – the lowest point in a season that ended with the AFC South crown and stunning wild-card comeback win in a playoff run that ended in the divisional round.

It was quite the turnaround for a team that had recorded the NFL’s worst regular season record in the previous two seasons and led to heightened expectations this time around.

The Jags have begun 2023 sluggishly and are hoping to get back in the groove in London following losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and, more alarmingly, the unfancied Houston Texans.

“This was only week three and we have 14 more games ahead of us, so we can’t let this bleed into other games,” Etienne said.

“We have to understand that this is not last season.  We have to put last season to bed.

“We have to focus on this season because the reality of the situation is we’re 1-2 right now and we haven’t been very good this season.

“Last season means nothing. If anything, last year put a target on our back so we’re going to get everybody’s best shot, so we have to go out there and give everybody our best shot each and every day we step on that field.”

Three touchdowns from running back David Montgomery lifted the Detroit Lions to a 34-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Montgomery found the endzone twice in the first half and again in the fourth quarter to clinch the visitors’ third win of the season.

The Packers were able to impact the scoreboard early, gaining a 3-0 lead with a field goal from their opening drive.

However, they had to wait a long time between drinks from there, as the Lions hit back with three touchdowns and two field goals to take a 27-3 lead into half-time.

Green Bay were able to stem the tide in the third quarter, holding Detroit to nil while picking up a touchdown through wide receiver Christian Watson.

They inched closer at the start of the fourth thanks to a nine-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jordan Love, but their comeback bid was officially ended when Montgomery picked up his third touchdown with six minutes remaining.

Love finished with 246 passing yards to go along with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Detroit quarterback Jared Goff threw for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception of his own.

The Philadelphia Eagles maintained their perfect start to the season, proving too strong for previously unbeaten Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts led his team to a 25-11 win as he masterminded a game-deciding drive that lasted nine minutes.

Hurts threw for 277 yards and scored a touchdown while running back D’Andre Swift racked up 130 yards on 16 carries.

The Eagles are 3-0 for the second successive season and join Miami and San Francisco as the only unbeaten sides.

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow shook off a calf injury to throwing for 259 yards to beat the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 for the Bengals’ first win of the season.

Burrow, who picked up the injury in pre-season and aggravated it against Baltimore last week, only returned to training on Thursday.

Running back Joe Mixon’s 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the AFC North champions their first lead of the season.

Logan Wilson intercepted Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford twice and he was sacked six times.

The Los Angeles Chargers will be without star wide receiver Mike Williams for the remainder of the 2023 season after an MRI confirmed he tore his ACL in Week 3, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

Williams went down in the third quarter of the Chargers’ 28-24 road win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday after recording seven catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Williams entered Monday’s action ranked 12th in the league in receiving yards (249), tied for 12th in targets (26) and tied for 13th in catches (19).

Since being selected seventh overall by the Chargers in the 2017 NFL Draft, Williams has 309 receptions for 4,806 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Los Angeles lost its first two games by a combined five points before defeating Minnesota.

The Chargers went 10-7 last season and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2018. They led by 10 points after three quarters in the wild-card round at Jacksonville before the Jaguars rallied for a 31-30 victory.

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