NFL news roundup: Urlacher says Bears faked injuries; Bills, Jets name rookie QB starters

Ezra Shaw

Urlacher revealed some unsavory details about his old team, and the Bills and Jets named E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith starters, respectively. Those stories, plus an injury update on Percy Harvin in Wednesday's roundup.

Brian Urlacher burned his former team Wednesday, revealing that the Chicago Bears faked injuries to slow down up-tempo offenses while he was roaming the defense at middle linebacker. Urlacher said that the Bears used to have a "designated dive guy" and that an assistant coach on the sideline would mime a swimmer's diving motion to signal for a player to get "hurt."

Teams have been accused of faking injuries in the past, but it is surprising to see a team outed by a longtime legend of the franchise.

Bills name E.J. Manuel Week 1 starter

The Buffalo Bills appeared to be on track to start Jeff Tuel at quarterback for the season opener against the New England Patriots. E.J. Manuel's surgically repaired knee has apparently healed much better than expected, however.

Bills fans should feel much better starting the first-round draft pick over the undrafted rookie, though rushing a young player into action isn't ideal in any scenario. Manuel played well in preseason, at least, passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions in two appearances.

Jets to start Geno Smith

Less surprisingly, the New York Jets have named second-round pick Geno Smith their starter for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith assumes the starting job by default. Incumbent Mark Sanchez played moderately better during preseason, but is still dealing with a shoulder injury that will likely keep him on the bench against the Bucs.

Percy Harvin eyes Week 7 return

Percy Harvin tweeted out a glimmer of hope for Seattle Seahawks fans Wednesday, saying that he could return by Week 7 from offseason hip surgery:

Of course, a tweet from a player is hardly concrete evidence. Head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that there is still no timetable for Harvin's return. The Seahawks take on the division rival Arizona Cardinals in Week 7.

Steve Smith criticizes former Panthers OC Rob Chudzinski

Steve Smith told reporters Wednesday that former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator, and now Cleveland Browns head coach, Rob Chudzinski was positioning himself to earn a head coaching job last season, and lost focus on the Panthers' offense as a result. Chiefly, Smith said that the Panthers "got cute" at times and cited a lack of touches for bruising running back Mike Tolbert.

Smith may have a point. The running game struggled when it was zone-read focused for much of the first half of the season, and seemed to improve out of more traditional formations over the second half. It should also be pointed out, however, that Smith was very productive under Chudzinski in 2011 and 2012.

NFLPA announces rides program for players

The NFL Players Association has announced a partnership with the car service start-up Uber that it hopes will cut down on the alcohol-related driving incidents that have made headlines in recent years. Uber connects users with on-call drivers through a mobile app. The NFL plans to hand out keychains with prepaid ride credits to players.

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