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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Labor unions have agreed to work around the clock five days a week without overtime if needed to build an NFL stadium on St. Louis’ blighted north riverfront. Officials said the effort could save $45 million on a project that carries a price tag of as much as $985 million.

Gov. Jay Nixon and Mayor Francis Slay spoke at a news conference Thursday at the offices of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council union. More than 100 workers crowded the hall as a show of solidarity for the plan to build a 64,000-seat, outdoor stadium and complete construction in two years.

“Today we take another step toward keeping St. Louis an NFL city,” Slay said. “This project is more than just a football stadium.”

Nixon said the 24-hour agreement would provide work for about 1,500 people per day during peak construction and result in 3.4 million work hours. The governor said the work would be “transformational” and provide a “jolt of energy” to downtown whether the Rams stay — or not.

“The secret to our success is our work force,” Nixon said. “The bigger the job, the harder we work. Together, we’re sending a clear, united message.”

The Rams informed officials last month that they were going to a year-to-year lease at the Edward Jones Dome amid speculation that the team may depart for Los Angeles.

Billionaire Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture building an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles area, adding urgency to the St. Louis effort. Kroenke has not been in direct contact with leaders of the effort, although Rams officials are participating.

Earlier this month, Nixon announced deals with a power company that would relocate lines and a railroad that would move tracks out of the stadium footprint.

Under terms of a 30-year agreement reached in 1995, the Rams had the ability to convert its dome lease to annual terms if the facility was not deemed among the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums based on various criteria. The city’s Convention and Visitors Commission proposed improvements of less than $200 million with the Rams picking up half of the cost and the team countered with a more elaborate plan with a price tag of at least $700 million.

As in previous news conferences, Nixon said if the Rams leave it would cost the state $10 million in annual income tax revenue paid by NFL players.

Nixon said a new stadium would free up the dome for more convention business.

A franchise move would be subject to approval by a three-fourths vote of NFL owners. The league has said no move would be made in time for next season, although Commissioner Roger Goodell has established a committee to review stadium options in Los Angeles and coordinate a possible move.

The Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all franchises dissatisfied with current stadium agreements and reportedly interested in making a move.

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte practiced Wednesday on a limited basis after being sidelined by a knee injury.

Forte sat out Monday’s 22-19 win at San Diego because of a right knee injury he suffered against Minnesota the previous week.

Coach John Fox says Forte is “not full-go yet” but is “making progress.”

Rookie Jeremy Langford carried the load with Forte sidelined against the Chargers and ran for 72 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown. He added 70 yards receiving.

The Bears (3-5) visit St. Louis this week.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have placed wide receiver Justin Hunter on injured reserve while he’s still in a Houston hospital recovering from a lacerated spleen.

Hunter wrote on Twitter he couldn’t wait to get back to his own bed Tuesday a few hours before the Titans announced the roster move.

He was hurt Sunday when hit by Texans safety Danieal Manning in the first quarter on a pass that was intercepted. Hunter returned only to be taken to the hospital after complaining of stomach pains during the 45-21 loss.

The Titans also signed offensive tackle Terren Jones off Baltimore’s practice squad.

The 6-foot-7, 341-pound Jones was undrafted in 2013 out of Alabama State, and he has been on the practice squads with Atlanta, Atlanta, Washington and most recently Baltimore.

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons’ most glaring unanswered questions are on offense as they began a short practice week before their final preseason game against Baltimore on Thursday night.

Starters must be found at running back, tight end, backup quarterback and on the three interior offensive line spots.

The offense struggled in Saturday night’s 13-9 loss at Miami. For the first time this preseason the starters, including quarterback Matt Ryan, were ineffective. Ryan was sacked three times, as was backup T.J. Yates.

The problems began on the line, where coach Dan Quinn and his staff continued to look at different combinations at center and the two guard spots. Joe Hawley, who started at center in the first two preseason games, watched as the interior starters were center Mike Person, left guard James Stone and right guard Chris Chester. Stone has more experience at center.

Hawley is still regaining confidence in his surgically repaired right knee. “Hopefully it gets better as the year goes on,” Hawley said Monday.

Hawley said Miami’s strong defensive front “gives us an idea of where we’re at getting ready for the start of the season.”

Quinn said Monday the shuffling on the line will continue this week.

Left tackle Jake Matthews missed the practice with a back strain. His status for Thursday night is uncertain. Quinn said he continues to have interest in free-agent tackle Jake Long, who had a workout for the team during training camp.

Running back has been a question through the preseason as Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman have missed time with hamstring injuries. Coleman made his debut with four carries for only two yards against the Dolphins.

Quinn said Freeman, the favorite to start if healthy, was impressive in limited snaps on Monday.

“That was encouraging for us, to see him go and move,” Quinn said. “We’ll take it the next step in the process tomorrow. He caught it well out of the backfield and ran it well today.”

The Falcons signed veteran Rex Grossman last week to compete with Yates and Sean Renfree to be the backup quarterback.

Quinn said he is “anticipating” Grossman will play against the Ravens but won’t decide until after Wednesday’s practice.

The Falcons’ highlights against Miami were on defense. Adrian Clayborn recorded his second sack and a fumble recovery. Outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield had a sack and a forced fumble, and linebacker Joplo Bartu had an interception.

NOTES: Among others who missed practice or were limited: LB Brooks Reed (groin strain); LB Justin Durant (foot); WR Devin Hester (toe); RB Antone Smith (hamstring); Bartu (quad strain); TE Tony Moeaki (ankle) and S Robenson Therezie (quad strain). WR Roddy White, who continues to recover from minor elbow surgery and is expected to be ready for the regular season. … The team waived defensive back Jonathon Mincy, who signed as an undrafted free agent. LB Terrell Manning remains on the active roster. The Falcons announced on Sunday Manning would be waived but did not send the transaction to the NFL office.

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IRVING, Texas (AP) — Running back Joseph Randle was suspended four games by the NFL under the league’s personal conduct policy Tuesday, one week after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys.

The suspension begins immediately even though Randle is not on an active roster.

Randle was already away from the team to deal with unspecified personal issues when he was released by the Cowboys last Tuesday. As a third-year player in Dallas, Randle started the first six games this season.

The NFL had investigated Randle’s arrest in February in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, though police declined to pursue charges against the running back after a domestic disturbance complaint.

It was the second arrest in four months for Randle, who was detained on a shoplifting charge at a Dallas-area mall when police said he tried to take a bottle of cologne and a pack of underwear from a department store.

He got deferred adjudication in the case from October 2014, and the misdemeanor could be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for the next two months.

Randle, who cleared waivers and can sign with any team, backed up DeMarco Murray for two years and was the Cowboys’ first choice to replace the 2014 NFL rushing champion when Murray left for NFC East rival Philadelphia in free agency.

After averaging 6.7 yards per carry in limited duty behind Murray last season, Randle rushed for 315 yards with a much-lower 4.1 average as the lead running back this year.

Randle left the team’s facility Oct. 28 after coach Jason Garrett announced Darren McFadden as the starter following the team’s first 100-yard game of the season against the New York Giants. Garrett said Randle’s absence was excused, and Randle didn’t return to the team before he was released almost a week later.

A fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2013, Randle ran afoul of the coaches in the offseason when he said “there was a lot of meat on the bone,” a suggestion that Murray could have done more despite breaking Emmitt Smith’s franchise record with 1,845 yards rushing last season.

Randle has 822 career yards with nine touchdowns in 35 games, including eight starts.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Given his long history of shoulder problems, nobody could fault Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith for a few moments of concern at halftime of last Sunday’s game against St. Louis.

Smith had absorbed a sack just before halftime, landing hard on his throwing shoulder. But after he received some treatment in the locker room, Smith returned to the field and played the entire second half without missing a beat in a 34-7 blowout victory.

“I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. Felt like it was something I could handle,” said Smith, who didn’t even have ice on his shoulder during his post-game news conference. “The last two days have been great. I feel like I’ve got great work in. I expect to do the same today.”

In other words, Smith planned to practice Wednesday and expects to be close to 100 percent when the Chiefs (4-3) welcome the New York Jets to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

“We’ll just see how he does, but that’s the way it’s looking,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said before Wednesday’s workouts. “The docs looked at him to make sure he wasn’t in a position where there would be any further injuries, but he was OK today. Felt good yesterday.”

That’s good news given Smith’s history of shoulder trouble.

The first significant injury happened four games into the 2007 season, when Smith was starting for San Francisco against Seattle. He separated his shoulder on the first series of the game, and wound up missing the next two weeks. Smith returned to play in three games, struggling in each, and did not play the rest of the season.

He had surgery that December to repair three torn ligaments, and then went through an entire offseason of rehabilitation to prepare for the 2008 season.

Just before it was about to begin, Smith was throwing a pass in practice and felt a sharp pain in the shoulder. Tests revealed a broken bone, and Smith spent the entire season on IR.

Throw in a separated non-throwing shoulder in 2010, when Smith was landed on by Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, and it made sense that he was worried when he felt soreness Sunday.

“Enough that I went in and was getting treatment at halftime and getting it looked at,” he said. “But in the middle of it you’re pretty loose, feeling loose.”

The Chiefs rarely threw downfield in the second half against St. Louis, though Reid and Smith both denied the play calling had anything to do with the quarterback’s physical limitations.

“I hope not. I certainly didn’t feel like that, didn’t need to be like that,” Smith said. “I felt 100 percent, felt like I could do anything I had to do. Honestly, I’m going where the defense tells me to. I’m not predetermining anything.”

Smith wound up completing 24 of 28 passes for 226 yards against the Rams. He’s completing a career-best 66 percent of his passes this season, with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

In other injury news, veteran linebacker Joe Mays returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since landing on the short-term IR in training camp with a broken wrist.

Reid said Mays will ease back into practice and it’s a long shot for him to be ready for Sunday’s game. The Chiefs have three weeks to add him back to the active roster.

“We’re just going to try to get him back in the swing of things,” Reid said. “We look forward to doing that, start getting him back into a little bit of football shape.”

Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry, who has missed the last five games with a sprained ankle, also practiced Wednesday. Defensive back Chris Owens was back from a knee injury.

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens returned to the practice field Monday after a late-season break that appeared to rejuvenate a weary team in search of consistency.

Baltimore endured 10 straight weeks of football before reaching its long-awaited bye week.

“Our guys did a good job of pushing through,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought we played hard and well right through to the end, which is challenging when you have a bye this late.”

The Ravens beat Tennessee 21-7 before entering their bye. Upon their return, the players appeared “re-energized,” Harbaugh said.

“Players took some time off and kind of emotionally and physically recharged a little bit,” he said. “You don’t realize how exhausted you are until you get a chance to take a deep breath and relax.”

Even though the Ravens didn’t play Sunday, they moved up in the muddled AFC North. Before Pittsburgh faced Tennessee on Monday night, Cincinnati led the division with a 6-3-1 record. The other three teams — Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore — were a half-game back at 6-4.

The Ravens probably need to go 4-2 over the final six weeks to return to the playoffs after last year’s 8-8 misfire.

Baltimore next plays Monday night in New Orleans. The Saints are 4-6 after a 27-10 home loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.

Coming off a bye, the Ravens should be ready to go. After all, they got ample rest and the coaches had extra time to prepare for Saints quarterback Drew Brees and New Orleans’ smothering defense.

Yet, there are times when teams come off a bye with a flat performance. For instance, the Titans offered little resistance against the Ravens two weeks ago, and the Washington Redskins were ineffective at home against last-place Tampa Bay on Sunday.

“It’s a challenge, but we’d better not get into that situation,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to have a tough environment. We’re playing on Monday night in New Orleans, they’re coming off two losses, they’re a very proud team, very well coached, very talented. Great quarterback, aggressive defense.

“We’re going to have our hands full and we’d better be ready to go. I’d like to think our guys understand that, but we’ll find out Monday night.”

Including this game, the combined record of Baltimore’s remaining opponents is a mundane 28-32, with none of the teams better than 6-4 at this juncture. The lone division foe on the schedule is Cleveland in the finale.

During a bye in which the Baltimore coaching staff reviewed virtually every play of an up-and-down season, Harbaugh said there’s plenty that can be improved upon offensively down the stretch.

“The turnovers is where it starts,” he said. “Third down has been important to us. You go back two weeks ago, if we convert on third down, we’re a whole different offense in Pittsburgh (Baltimore was 3 for 13 in a 43-23 loss). That would have been big for us.”

That’s not all.

Harbaugh said the team needs to score more touchdowns in the red zone and make more big plays.

Baltimore has a plus-1 turnover differential and ranks 19th in red zone percentage.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The crowd gathered at New England Patriots training camp broke into the first of several choruses of “Happy Birthday” on Wednesday morning.

Tom Brady, who turned 39 Wednesday, waved to the crowd, then went back to work.

Brady, of course, will miss the first four games of the regular season because of his “Deflategate” suspension, is allowed to practice right up until the Patriots make their final roster cuts, but then has to be away from the team.

For now, however, it’s business as usual as Brady works along with likely replacement Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett.

Brady hasn’t spoken to reporters in camp, his only public words coming when he showed up, wearing Kevin Faulk’s No. 33, at Faulk’s Patriots’ Hall of Fame ceremony Monday.

But his birthday was a center of attention Wednesday.

“He didn’t get it (from his teammates) too bad today,” said safety Devin McCourty. “I tried to make a wish for him, we celebrate his birthday with some interceptions but he wasn’t for it. There were no interceptions today.”

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a new Brady teammate, marvels at what Brady can do at his age.

“It hit me today when I realized he was born in the 70s,” Knighton said. “I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he’s doing it at a high level. I feel bad for everybody that has to go against him because he’s not slowing down.”

Reminded Brady would hear the 70s quote, Knighton said, “That’s cool, that’s cool. I told him ‘Happy birthday, old man,’ today, but I still got a few more words for him once I get back in the locker room.”

Asked if he could think of a gift you can give Brady, Knighton said, “Not at all. I think that at this point he should be buying everyone gifts for making it through 39.”

Knighton, listed as 6-3/355, says he would win a footrace against Brady, adding “There’s probably like three quarterbacks that can beat me in a foot race.”

Garoppolo, asked what he got his mentor, said, “I can’t tell you guys that. Come on.”

Coach Bill Belichick had another view of the big “Jack Benny” birthday.

“Well, first of all, I don’t think we want to miss Chris Barker’s birthday as long as we’re celebrating,” Belichick said.

Belichick, asked about Brady’s work ethic getting him to 39 and still playing well, said, “Yeah, no question, Tom works hard. (He) works very hard at all phases of the game. I think you have to, to play as long as he has.”

Barker, a defensive lineman, turned 26 Wednesday.

“I take a little piece of pride every time somebody in the crowd says, ‘Happy birthday Brady,’” he said. “I just change it to Barker in my head.”

Asked if he heard anyone wish him a happy birthday, Barker said, “Tom did, so that’s all I needed right there. In the locker room right before we came out he said ‘happy birthday’ and I said ‘happy birthday’ right back.”

Reminded his coach gave him a shout-out earlier, Barker said, “That’s a present right there. That’s good enough for me.”

NOTES: Rookie TE Bryce Williams, trying to make the team as an undrafted free agent, had his left knee wrapped in ice for most of practice. … WR Chris Hogan reportedly won’t be out long with a shoulder injury. . Rookie CB/PR Cyrus Jones, the 60th pick in the draft, but New England’s first after losing its first rounder in the “Deflategate” punishment, continues to impress, as does rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell, a fourth-round pick. . Best shirt spotted was a Rob Gronkowski No. 87 jersey, with Gronkowski spelled backward because of a production flaw. The little girl wearing it didn’t want the spelling fixed.

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Mike Singletary hopes to coach again in the NFL someday. He has plenty on his plate right now, though.

Singletary was at minicamp with the Detroit Lions on Thursday. He said he doesn’t know Lions coach Matt Patricia that well, but he wanted to be there to check out the video screens Detroit is using at practice.

Singletary was hired earlier this year to coach high school football at Trinity Christian Academy in Texas. He also has been hired as coach of the Memphis franchise in the Alliance of American Football, which will start playing in February.

Singletary has coached for three NFL teams, including a stint as San Francisco’s head coach. The 49ers went 18-22 under him from 2008-10. Singletary was asked if he thought he could get another opportunity like that.

“I hope so. But for me, I’m going to work where I’m planning,” he said. “Very excited to be where I am, and if that happens, great. If not, then I’m going to keep working where I’m at.”

Singletary says he learned some lessons from his time coaching in the NFL.

“It’s a long list of things. I think more so than anything else is how much I needed to do — how much work I needed to do as a coach and being able to coach my coaches and have them help my players. … Just getting more information, just getting more grounding as a head coach.”

A star linebacker with the Chicago Bears, Singletary was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. He clearly still enjoys being involved in the sport.

“It’s such a great game, such a great game when you have the right people involved, when you have the right coaches and you’ve got good kids,” Singletary said. “I think all kids are good kids. … You’ve got to know which ones you’ve got to manage, and the ones that help the others. But it’s just such a great game, and so many life lessons, so very important game to me, in America.”

As for the video screens at practice, Patricia explained the purpose this week.

“You may have missed something on the field. You kind of look at it and see what happens. You see what went wrong on the play and can get that instant kind of correction to the player right away,” Patricia said. “A lot of the times the players are trying to figure it out for themselves. So, they’ll see something and, ‘Hey, what happened right there?’ And they can look at it and reference it from that standpoint.”

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Marcedes Lewis wasn’t sure if the Green Bay Packers were the right fit for him. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tight end Jimmy Graham made him feel at home at Lambeau Field.

Lewis visited Green Bay last week thinking he wanted to explore his options during his first stint as a free agent following 12 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He received calls from other teams, but he said that the Packers were the most persistent so he made Lambeau his first stop.

He never made another visit.

“This was the only place I took a trip … I took my trip, and Aaron was here in the locker room. I started talking to him,” Lewis said Thursday. “I started talking to Jimmy and I kind of made my decision that day.

“When I came down here, I didn’t expect to sign anything,” Lewis added. “I was just coming down here to get a feel. Once I saw Aaron and Jimmy, it was a no-brainer after that.”

Lewis, 34, was released by the Jaguars in March after the team had picked up his one-year, $3.5 million option in February. His signing filled a glaring need – a blocking tight end – and gives the Packers another veteran at the position with Graham, a five-time Pro Bowler, and Lance Kendricks.

“I don’t think we’ve had this much experience at the tight end position in my time here,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who called Lewis a “prime-time player.”

“An on-the-line tight end is something we haven’t had a lot of, as far as the way we’ve played over the years,” McCarthy added. “He can block any defensive end on the league, and that’s definitely a huge asset.”

Lewis, who said he felt he got a “raw deal” from the Jaguars, started 157 games for Jacksonville. He has 375 career receptions, including 24 for 318 yards and five touchdowns last year.

Still, Lewis hasn’t caught more than 25 passes in a season since 2012, when he had 52 receptions. His best season came in 2010, when he earned his lone Pro Bowl selection by catching a career-high 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The 6-foot-6, 269-pound Lewis said he takes the “blocking tight end” moniker as a compliment, but added that “I pride myself on being a really good all-around tight end, whatever it is that I’m called upon to do.”

It’s the type of attitude that Rodgers loves to hear. Lewis’ ability to help slow down pass-rushers should help an offensive line that has questions on the right side.

“Obviously, I’m a really good blocker, but don’t get it mistaken. I didn’t come here to be a tackle. … Be on the other side of Jimmy doing some good things,” he said. “It’s going to be trouble out there.”

Graham’s strength is making tough catches. Kendricks provides experienced depth.

“Jimmy’s not known as a blocking tight end, but he’s willing. He will get in the way. He will punch you in the mouth,” Lewis said. “So it’s going to be interesting. We get in that personnel with three tight ends on the field and (defenses) have to leave base on the field, it’s not going to be good.”