NFL news roundup: Julio Jones likely out for the year, Clay Matthews out for more than a month

Mike Ehrmann

NFL stars were hit hard by serious injuries this week with Julio Jones possibly done for the year due to a foot injury.

At 1-4 the Atlanta Falcons are in a serious hole and now may have to dig out of it without Julio Jones. The NFL's second-leading receiver may miss the rest of the season due to a foot injury.

Jones injured his foot late in Monday's loss to New York. He left the game briefly, only to return and haul in a 46-yard reception. As it turns out, he made that catch while playing through an injury which will likely force him to miss the rest of the season. Jones is scheduled to get a second opinion on the injury to determine the course of action.

Jones suffered a foot injury prior to being drafted, yet worked out at the NFL combine despite it. The previous injury may have played a role as Jason Cole reported Jones broke the screw that was put into his foot during 2011 surgery. If that is indeed the case, it's hard to imagine Jones playing through it this time.

Clay Matthews to miss more than a month

Clay Matthews had surgery on Monday to repair his broken thumb and the linebacker will now miss at least a month. Matthews left Sunday's game during the third quarter with the injury likely occurring when he banged his hand on Matthew Stafford's helmet while he sacked Detroit's quarterback.

While Green Bay will be forced to cope without one of it's best players, there may be a positive for Matthews and the Packers going forward. Matthews has been limited recently by a hamstring injury and now being forced to sit out could allow him to fully heal as Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company wrote:

If there's a silver lining here, it's that Matthews will have plenty of time to rest his ailing hamstring. Matthews was limited in practice much of last week, and the coaches felt it prudent to play him fewer snaps this Sunday than usual. Matthews' likely replacements, Mike Neal and Nick Perry, both performed well in his absence against Detroit applying steady pressure and registering their first sacks of the season. Additionally, the Packers don't play any great quarterbacks either over the next month. In their next four games, Green Bay will face Joe Flacco, Brandon Weeden, Christian FreeCassel, and Jay Cutler.

Tony Gonzalez doesn't want to be traded

With Atlanta struggling there was some speculation the Falcons could trade tight end Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez postponed retirement for an extra season to chase a Super Bowl. The Falcons appear to be longshots to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, but Gonzalez said he does not want to be traded.

Some speculated Atlanta could deal Gonzalez back to Kansas City with the Chiefs off to a 5-0 start. Andrew Hirsh of The Falcoholic wrote a deal could be in the best interest of Gonzalez and the Falcons:

But now that it's abundantly clear Atlanta will not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy any time soon, Thomas Dimitroff and the entire organization owe it to Gonzalez to trade him so he can have the opportunity to reach his ultimate goal.

Seeing Gonzalez depart is going to be painful no matter what, but here's the way I see it: He's going to leave soon regardless of whether or not he finishes the year with Atlanta -- that's a fact. It's worth it to bring that goodbye closer if it 1) puts Tony in a better spot, and 2) improves the Falcons long term.

NFL announces three London games for 2014

Even more NFL regular season games will be played overseas next season with the NFL announcing three London games in 2014. The Jaguars, Raiders and Falcons will all play home games in London next season. The league began playing one game in London several years ago with two London games on the 2013 schedule.

The Jaguars will be a frequent visitor to London with Jacksonville committed to playing one home game a year in London through 2016. The London trip will be the first time the Falcons and Raiders have played an overseas home game during the regular season.

The exact matchups won't be announced until the 2014 NFL schedule is unveiled next summer.

Owen Daniels out 4-6 weeks

Matt Schaub has taken a lot of heat for his play in recent weeks and he'll now have to attempt to turn it around without one of his favorite targets. Tight end Owen Daniels has a non-displaced fibula fracture and will miss between four and six weeks.

Daniels is second on the team in receptions and third on the team in receiving yards. The 30-year-old caught six passes for 60 yards against San Francisco. According to Battle Red Blog, Garrett Graham will take over the starting duties with Ryan Griffin likely moving up to No. 2. Nathan Overbay could also be promoted from the practice squad.

NFL narrows down host bids for Super Bowl 52

Super Bowl 52 is still more than five years away, but the NFL continued the process of naming a host city on Tuesday by narrowing the list of potential candidates. Six cities put in bids to host with New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis selected as the three finalists.

Dallas, Miami and Tampa were the three other cities who applied for hosting duties. New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls, including last season's while Minneapolis and Indianapolis have each hosted one. The Vikings will have moved into a new stadium by 2018, while the year will also be the 300th anniversary of New Orleans.

All three sites feature domed stadiums, so weather will not be an issue.

Ahmad BradshawMark Sanchez done for the year

After attempting to rehab their injuries, both Mark Sanchez and Ahmad Bradshaw opted for season-ending surgery on Tuesday. Bradshaw missed the last two weeks after suffering a neck injury in Week 3. He delayed surgery and instead tried to rehab the injury while seeing a number of specialists. After gathering the information, he opted to have surgery.

The decision to have surgery means Indianapolis will now rely even more on Trent Richardson, as Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue wrote:

This makes the trade for Richardson even bigger, however, as it would have been Donald Brown as the starting running back for the rest of the year. As I wrote a week ago, Brown has had a very good year, but that has been because of his smaller role. Richardson, however, is a work horse. He can handle it.

Sanchez injured his shoulder during the preseason and will now miss the rest of the season. He had some success in the early stages of rehab, but in the end doctors told him surgery was required if he was going to fully recover.

The injury likely means Sanchez's playing career with the Jets is over. New York can save more than $8 million against the salary cap by releasing him before next season. Rich MacLeod of Gang Green Nation took a look back on the Sanchez era in New York.

When the Jets moved up to take Sanchez with the fifth overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, he was looked at as the quarterback of the future. With lofty expectations from the get-go, Sanchez would never quite live up to them despite the team's success early on in his career. The Jets didn't exactly do much to help Sanchez as the offensive line, receiving corps and offensive coordinators were, for the most part, shaky during his tenure in New York-especially lately. That said, after a pretty good second year, Sanchez became extremely prone to turning the ball over during his past two seasons-in particular crippling red zone interceptions or one particular fumble that he was mercilessly mocked for.

While it didn't go nearly as planned, the Jets made two unexpected and incredibly exciting playoff runs. While most of this was due to their stout defense and impressive running game, Sanchez did make plays and increased his production during the playoffs, and for that he should get credit. Unfortunately, these things don't always work out.

Good luck, Mark. Wherever you wind up.

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