Buffalo wide receiver John Brown's 2020 season has been interrupted a few times. He's starting 2021 off right where he wants to be: back on the field.
The Bills activated Brown from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. Adding their leading receiver from a year ago could be a boon as they set out for a deep playoff run. Brown has played just eight games this season, missing multiple weeks with an ankle injury. His last appearance was on Nov. 15. He was placed on the COVID list at the beginning of this week but comes off in time to perhaps work out some rust in a Week 17 game in which Buffalo could scale back its starters.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley has already been ruled out after not practicing all week with a knee injury.
Buffalo also had a series of transactions involving its practice squad, activating Josh Thomas and Christian Wade from the COVID list, signing wide receiver J.J. Nelson and cornerback Duke Thomas, and releasing offensive lineman Marquel Harrell, linebacker Deon Lacey and cornerback Lafayette Pitts.
Here's other news, injuries and transactions we're tracking on Friday:
- Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (calf strain) was limited again in practice Friday, but it was his heaviest workload of the week as he aims to play Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. "He came out of yesterday feeling pretty good," coach Ron Rivera said. "Again, he had a good day today, he took the reps that were assigned for him today in a limited fashion, and we'll see how he is tomorrow." Smith is officially questionable, as is wide receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson. Linebacker Thomas Davis (knee), who said earlier in the week he's retiring after this season, has been ruled out.
- Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack (shoulder) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (illness) do not have a game designation, clearing them for Sunday versus the Packers. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) and defensive back Deon Bush (foot) are questionable. Defensive backs Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) and Buster Skrine (concussion) are out.
- Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) and wide receivers Tyreek Hill (hamstring) and Sammy Watkins (calf) have been ruled out for Sunday versus the Chargers. Running back Le'Veon Bell (knee) returned to practice Friday and is questionable.
- The Los Angeles Ram listed running back Cam Akers (ankle) and linebacker Leonard Floyd (abdomen) as questionable. The team announced Akers is a game-time decision. Floyd, who missed his first practice of the week Friday, was experiencing abdominal pain this morning before practice, and was sent to the hospital to be further evaluated, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Floyd later tweeted he plans on playing.
- The San Francisco 49ers signed kicker Tristan Vizcaino to their practice squad. That puts him in line to kick Sunday against the Seahawks with Robbie Gould on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Offensive tackle Trent Williams was placed on injured reserve. The Niners will be without receivers Brandon Aiyuk (ankle) and Deebo Samuel (hamstring), defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (knee) and cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) on Sunday.
- Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and offensive tackle Will Holden have been ruled out for Sunday versus the Jaguars. The Colts placed offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo on injured reserve and signed center Joey Hunt to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) and cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) have been ruled out for Sunday versus the Giants. Safeties Darian Thompson (concussion) and Xavier Woods (ribs) are questionable.
- Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said Kingsbury said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Chase Edmonds will be game-time decisions for Sunday versus the Rams. He also said he's hopeful Budda Baker will play.
- Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio said defensive end Bradley Chubb (ankle) and guard Graham Glasgow (shoulder) are questionable for Sunday's game against the Raiders. Wide receiver KJ Hamler is out with a concussion.
- The Baltimore Ravens announced the one-year extension for cornerback Jimmy Smith, who will earn up to $5 million, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Baltimore also listed 11 players as questionable for Week 17, including running backs Gus Edwards (back) and Mark Ingram (illness), defensive ends Calais Campbell (calf) and Yannick Ngakoue (thigh), and CBs Marlon Humphrey (knee/shoulder), Marcus Peters (calf) and Jimmy Smith (ribs/shoulder).
- New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones does not have a game designation, clearing him for Sunday versus the Cowboys. Wide receiver Golden Tate (calf) is doubtful.
- The Seattle Seahawks listed running back Carlos Hyde (illness) and tight end Greg Olsen (foot) as questionable.
- Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (calf), linebacker Shaun Bradley (neck), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (neck), tight end Dallas Goedert (calf), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (ankle), tight end Richard Rodgers and running back Miles Sanders have all been ruled out for Sunday against Washington. Philly signed tight end Jason Croom and linebacker Rashad Smith from the practice squad to the active roster and placed linebacker Shaun Bradley and linebacker Duke Riley on IR.
- The Los Angeles Chargers ruled out defensive end Joey Bosa, cornerback Casey Hayward, right tackle Bryan Bulaga and safety Rayshawn Jenkins for Sunday against the Chiefs. The Chargers signed linebacker Cole Christiansen, DE Joe Gaziano, tight end Matt Sokol and S Jaylen Watkins to the active roster, and placed Hayward and LB Malik Jefferson on IR.
- The Green Bay Packers ruled out defensive lineman Kingsley Keke for Sunday against the Bears.
- The Cincinnati Bengals announced Friday they've signed tight end Mitchell Wilcox to the active roster.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed linebackers Devin White and Shaquil Barrett, as well defensive lineman Steve McLendon, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bucs coach Bruce Arians told the media Friday that cornerback Carlton Davis (groin) would be a game-time decision after a limited practice on Friday and that safety Mike Edwards (hip) was good to go for Sunday after a full practice.
- Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring), returner Jakeem Grant (ankle), guard Solomon Kindley (knee/foot) and defensive end Shaq Lawson (shoulder) are questionable for Sunday's game against the Bills.
- Jacksonville Jaguars receiver D.J. Chark (shin) and running back James Robinson (ankle) have been ruled out for the team's season finale against the Colts. Receiver Collin Johnson is also out.
- Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (shoulder), offensive tackle Russell Okung (calf) and running backs Christian McCaffrey (quad) and Mike Davis (ankle) are all doubtful for Sunday, with coach Matt Rhule indicating it's unlikely they will play.
- Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and linebacker Eric Kendricks have been ruled out for Sunday's game versus the Lions. Kicker Dan Bailey is questionable.
- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday versus the Buccaneers. He finishes the season with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.
- Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and center Frank Ragnow are questionable for Sunday versus the Vikings. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay is out.
- Houston Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (ankle) is listed as doubtful for Sunday against the Titans. Running back Duke Johnson (neck) is questionable.