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Jadeveon Clowney cleared after suffering concussion

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We now know why Jadeveon Clowney has hovered in the shadows since late August.

The Texans rookie pass rusher told reporters on Thursday that he suffered a concussion during a joint practice session with the Denver Broncos two weeks ago, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

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The top overall pick in May's draft spent a week mired in the league's concussion protocol before doctors cleared him in time for Sunday's home opener against the Washington Redskins.

Clowney missed Houston's final two preseason games, but coach Bill O'Brien announced Wednesday that the rookie would start at linebacker alongside a healthy Brian Cushing in Week 1. The thought of that duo burning into the pocket behind behemoth J.J. Watt should be enough to keep Robert Griffin III up at night.

In other Texans news, O'Brien said tight end Garrett Graham will be a game-time decision due to a back injury, per Drew Dougherty of the team's website.

Other injuries we're following on this glorious Kickoff Thursday:

2. Rookie Sammy Watkins was a full participant in practice Thursday. Watkins has been practicing all week as he recovers from a rib injury.

The team also said that running back Anthony Dixon (hamstring) and linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee) were limited in Thursday's practice. Dixon injured his hamstring and didn't finish practice. Bills coach Doug Marrone said it's a concern for Sunday, according to WGR-AM.

3. The Buccaneers remain confident that offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford will play some role against the Panthers on Sunday after undergoing a surgical procedure last week, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Tight ends coach Jon Embree told reporters that Tedford has been "significantly involved" in the game plan, but we still expect quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo to call plays against Carolina.

4. Speaking of the Panthers, Cam Newton was on the practice field Thursday but didn't lob a pass during any of the portion that the media was able to see. Newton has never missed an NFL start, but the signal-caller seemed hesitant to declare himself totally ready for the season opener against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

5. Tom Brady was the only player missing from Patriots practice. The star quarterback wasn't listed on Wednesday's injury report and hasn't shown any signs of an injury.

The Patriots later announced that Brady sat out practice due to a calf injury. Rapoport reports that the team is merely being cautious with Brady, and that the quarterback's injury is not serious, per a source informed of the injury.

6. "I'm definitely to the point where I'm not thinking about my foot," Julio Jones said Thursday. The Falcons' wide receiver told the team's official website that he feels no restrictions after last year's season-ending surgery, something Jones proved during moments of on-field dominance in August.

7. Arizona Cardinals starting running back Andre Ellington was limited in practice on Thursday with a foot injury.

8. Dee Milliner was limited for the Jets on Thursday, but coach Rex Ryan wouldn't rule him out for Sunday's game against the Raiders, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Ryan said Milliner could play on a limited basis, however unlikely that may be.

9. 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree said he's ready for Sunday's season-opener with the Cowboys, according to the Bay Area News Group. Crabtree missed Wednesday's practice as he worked through a calf injury. Fortunately for the 49ers, Crabtree returned to practice on Thursday.

10. New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason, who was recently activated to the team's 53-man roster, was a limited participant during Thursday's practice as he rallies his way back from a June foot injury.

11. Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts had some hamstring tightness and left Thursday's practice. ESPN's Michael DiRocco noted that this was what Shorts dealt with the first day of training camp and he missed almost a month. This doesn't bode well for the Jags or Chad Henne if he misses any significant amount of time. 

12. Bears safety Chris Conte will play Sunday. Conte has been recovering from shoulder surgery and missed the entire offseason program. 

13. Cornerback Tracy Porter (hamstring) was among those who were limited in practice for the Redskins on Thursday. Coach Jay Gruden said if Porter is unavailable in Sunday's opener against the Texans, E.J. Biggers and Bashaud Breeland would fill in. Linebacker Brian Orakpo (ankle) was also limited in practice.

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