Buffalo Bills’ Charles Clay exits Sunday playoff game with injury

Former Tulsa Golden Hurricane standout, Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay was forced out of Sunday's playoff game against the Jaguars with a hamstring injury. Clay has been managing a knee issue of late, with the hamstring injury representing a new health concern for the tight end. Click here to read more of this article at CBS Sports. Continue Reading

Mark Gaughan’s Big Play: Overturn of Clay catch killed

The Buffalo Bills' offense had to take advantage of every small opportunity against the NFL's No. 2-ranked defense Sunday. It did not. We could pick out many little plays that the offense gave away. One was the offensive pass interference penalty from the Jacksonville 1-yard line that forced the Bills to settle for a field goal instead of getting a touchdown. But that cost the Bills four points. They lost by seven. Call the play of the game from the Buffalo perspective an incomplete pass for Charles Clay with 5:56 to go. The Bills were threatening at the Jaguars' 48-yard line. On second down, Tyrod Taylor had a clean pocket. The pass protection was great. But Taylor got antsy and escaped toward the left sideline. His throw for Clay would have given the Bills 11 yards to the Jaguars' 37. Had Clay's foot stepped out of bounds before he made the catch? It took the Bills 26 seconds to line up for the next play before Jacksonville finally threw a challenge flag. Vic Carucci's Points After: One & done ... Jaguars 10, Bills 3 Taylor could have and should have gotten the offense lined up faster and snapped the ball. The definitive replay didn't come from CBS until 23 seconds after the officials had blown the whistle ending the play. Tom Brady and the Patriots easily would have gotten a play off before the challenge. Instead, Taylor was sacked on the next play and Colton Schmidt punted, ending a potential scoring drive. Jerry Sullivan's Hot Read: In the end, offense isn't good enough Continue Reading

Bills-Jaguars Key Match-up: Charles Clay vs. Tashaun Gipson

HEAD TO HEAD Each day this week, the Times-Union will examine a key match-up in the Jaguars’ AFC playoff game against Buffalo on Sunday: JAGUARS FS TASHAUN GIPSON VS. BILLS TE CHARLES CLAY Why it’s important: Clay ended the regular season with a team-high 558 yards receiving and was second with 49 receptions. Tailback LeSean McCoy led Buffalo in catches (59) but his status is in doubt because of a leg injury sustained Sunday at Miami. Clay has at least two catches in each of his 13 games. Gipson is often trusted upon to cover the opponent’s best tight end regardless of where he lines up in the formation. Why Buffalo could have the edge: Clay has 15 catches in his last three games, suggesting that him and quarterback Tyrod Taylor are on the same page. At 6-foot-3/245 pounds, Clay has the size advantage over Gipson (5-foot-11/212 pounds) so he could be a red zone problem and can use his strength to win at the snap to create separation. Why the Jaguars could have the edge: Gipson has been an effective coverage safety this year, showing good instincts and technique to keep, among others, Indianapolis’ Jack Doyle and Seattle’s Jimmy Graham, in check. Gipson is fifth on the Jaguars in tackles (64), tied for second in interceptions (four) and fourth in pass break-ups (four). Plus, he is a fearless run defender. Advantage: Gipson. If this match-up was last year, the edge would go to Clay, but Gipson has become a key player on the Jaguars’ second-ranked defense this year as long as he plays with good eyes and doesn’t bite on play action. Ryan O’Halloran/Times-Union Continue Reading

Charles Clay continues to fight through knee injury, says he won’t need surgery after season ends

Long after practice was over for the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Charles Clay remained on the field. One by one, an equipment manager fed balls into a JUGS machine for the veteran tight end, who stood a few yards away, making every catch. That type of extra work has become commonplace for Clay as he manages a nagging knee injury that has either prevented or limited him from taking full practices since he was hurt in Week 5 against the Bengals. “Having that injury midseason was tough,” Clay said Thursday. “You try to get in game shape and you're still kind of dealing with it. It's a combination of things, I guess you could say.” Clay said he won’t require surgery after the season, and that rest should have him 100 percent for 2018. “Sometimes you come out and you can do a little more than what you expected,” Clay said. The Bills’ training staff has been “good at telling me to listen to my body and not try to push things. They've been really helpful. They've been all supportive. I'm definitely fortunate, because it's not like that everywhere.” Even with missing three full games, Clay has taken 54 percent of the offensive snaps. He has 43 catches for 494 yards and a pair of touchdowns, numbers that closely resemble his production over the previous two seasons, when his knee also gave him problems at times. “I think he's done a good job of it, from what I understand, a little bit better this year than in years past,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said of Clay in regards to managing his injury. “Rob Boras, the tight ends coach, does a good job, just the communication with Charles, making sure that he's got the reps he needs during each week, but also without wearing him down, either.” Clay will face his former team Sunday for the sixth time since coming to the Bills. In those previous five games against Miami, he has 21 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns. “There's probably two Continue Reading

UT Vols: Trey Smith earns second-team All-SEC from AP; Charles Wright of Vandy selected

Freshman offensive lineman Trey Smith was a bright spot throughout Tennessee's miserable 2017 season. Voters for the AP All-SEC team took notice.Smith earned second-team accolades. The team was released on Monday.Smith was the only Tennessee player selected.Vanderbilt had one player selected, with linebacker Charles Wright earning a second-team nod.Smith, a former five-star recruit from Jackson, was UT's only offensive lineman to start all 12 games. He led the team in knockdowns. Smith started nine games at guard and three at left tackle. He became the first true freshman to start at left tackle in at least 30 years when he received his first start there on Nov. 4 against Southern Mississippi. Smith's versatility and production was key for the Vols' injury-riddled line.Wright is tied for second in the SEC with nine sacks. He tallied 43 tackles, 10 1/2 of which were tackles for loss.Georgia's Kirby Smart was named SEC coach of the year. Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith was named defensive player of the year. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson was named offensive player of the year. Georgia quarterback Jake Frohm and Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham shared the honor for newcomer of the year.Here's the full list of honorees: FIRST TEAM OffenseWR — A.J. Brown, Ole Miss, 6-1, 225, So.WR — Calvin Ridley, Alabama, 6-1, 190. Jr.T — Jonah Williams, Alabama, 6-5, 301, So.T — Isaiah Wynn, Georgia, 6-2, 302, Sr.G — Braden Smith, Auburn, 6-6, 303, Sr.G — Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama, 6-4, 303, Jr.C — Bradley Bozeman, Alabama, 6-5, 314, Sr.C — Will Clapp, LSU, 6-5, 309, Jr.TE — Hayden Hurst, South Carolina, 6-5, 250, Jr.QB — Drew Lock, Missouri, 6-4, 225, Jr.RB — Kerryon Johnson, Auburn, 6-0, 212, Jr.RB — Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky, 5-11, 223, So.PK — Daniel Carlson, Auburn, 6-4, 223, Sr.All-Purpose — Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, 5-11, 200, Jr. DefenseDE — Jeff Holland, Continue Reading

Bills offense gets a lift with return of Clay, addition of Benjamin vs. Saints

 ORCHARD PARK – The Buffalo offense will get an infusion of talent Sunday afternoon when the Bills host the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field.Tight end Charles Clay will return to the lineup after missing most of the previous four games with a knee injury suffered in Week 5 against Cincinnati. When he was sidelined, Clay was the Bills’ leading receiver through four games.Also, newly-acquired wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will make his Bills’ debut after sitting out the loss to the Jets on Nov. 2. Benjamin came over from Carolina in a trade just two days before that game, and while he made the trip to the Meadowlands and warmed up before the game, the Bills opted to sit him out because he’d had no practice time with the team.Benjamin stayed in Buffalo last weekend when the team was off to learn the playbook and work with receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, and coach Sean McDermott said he’s confident Benjamin will be ready to go and he’ll be interested to see how the Saints defend the Bills with him in the lineup.“I think that’ll be somewhat interesting,” he said. “It’s new for us as well, in that regard, just to see how we’re going to now get defended, as opposed to how we were defended before. Again, one person does not make a team, I’ve tried to establish that. It’ll be interesting to see how he integrates into what we do. Then, to your point, how other teams defend us, and the different looks (we’ll get). We need to be ready to adjust to how we’re being defended when Kelvin’s out there.”As for the rest of the inactives, left tackle Cordy Glenn is out again and he’ll be replaced by rookie Dion Dawkins. Glenn had two solid games when he returned to the lineup to play against Tampa Bay and Oakland, but like the rest of the offensive line, he had a terrible night against New York and apparently aggravated his ongoing foot/ankle injuries.Also, while it Continue Reading

Charles Clay may return for the Bills after missing several weeks

After four weeks on the sideline, there's a chance that Bills tight end Charles Clay will return to the field against the Saints, coach Sean McDermott said Monday.His potential return comes at a good time as rookie wide receiver Zay Jones may miss the game thanks to a knee injury he suffered against the Jets.McDermott said that Clay's return along with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin has him optimistic about the offense.“He’s a receiver that makes our offense better,” McDermott said. “If you want to go one-on-one on the outside (against Benjamin), that’s on you, and that opens up the run game. It’s a nice little dynamic there and you look at what we already have in the run game, with Charles potentially coming back, Tyrod (Taylor), the other receivers, now we’ve got some things a defense must contend with. I had confidence in the group of receivers before we brought in Kelvin. Now, I see the group improving because of Kelvin. We’ve got a couple of pros in that room and they have their effect on Kelvin and Kelvin has his effect on them.” More: Kelvin Benjamin felt he was being phased out in Carolina, so he's happy to join Bills More: AFC playoff picture: Bills looking good in many scenarios     Continue Reading

Hall of Fame R&B artist Otis Clay dies at age 73

Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist Otis Clay, known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally, died Friday. He was 73. The Mississippi-born Clay — whose gruff, tenor-tinged voice on blues songs such as “Trying to Live My Life Without You” varied from his haunting but hopeful baritone on gospel standards like “When the Gates Swing Open” — died suddenly of a heart attack at 6:30 p.m., said his daughter, Ronda Tankson. The one-time Grammy nominee had a year of touring planned behind recent records and recognition at May’s 37th Blues Music Awards, manager Miki Mulvehill said. Clay is nominated for Soul-Blues Male Artist and Soul-Blues Album for “This Time for Real,” his collaboration with Billy Price. “Otis was the last standard-bearer for deep southern soul music, the really gospel-inflected music that was in its heyday in the late ‘60s and early and mid ’70s,” Price told The Associated Press on Saturday. “These styles change, and different styles are in the forefront, but Otis was just as strong in the past five years ... For that reason, he was an icon for a lot of us who work in this genre.” European music enthusiasts and record-collectors flock to Clay’s music because of its spare, “unvarnished” style wrought of the 1960s soul scenes in Memphis, Tennessee and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Price said. A 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee who moved to blues-steeped Chicago in 1957, Clay had just begun planning a gospel tour of the U.S., followed by a summer European tour and, later, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, Mulvehill said. His latest album is called, “Truth Is.” But Clay was much more than a talented musician. A resident of Chicago’s West Side, he was an avid humanitarian whose charitable works included assisting development of the Harold Washington Continue Reading

Green Bay Packers release ‘once-in-a-generation talent’ Charles Woodson after seven years

Charles Woodson is on the market. The Green Bay Packers released the 36-year-old defensive back Friday with two years left on his contract. “We are grateful for all that Charles has given to the Green Bay Packers over the past seven years,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “He has been an integral part of the Packers’ success and our Super Bowl title in 2010 would not have been possible without his contributions. A once-in-a-generation talent as a player, he is also a great leader and ambassador for the organization off the field.” The Packers clear about $10 million in cap space by releasing Woodson. Carl Poston, Woodson’s agent, said the veteran wasn’t done yet. “The Packers told Charles they’re going in a different direction,” Poston said. “Charles told me he still wants to play — for a Super Bowl contender.” Woodson signed a five-year deal before the 2010 season that was worth as much as $55 million. He missed nine games during the 2012 regular season because of a broken right collarbone and played in two postseason games for the Packers in his seventh year with the franchise. “We had a good run,” Woodson wrote to ESPNWisconsin.com in a text message. Woodson was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him out of Michigan with the No. 4 overall pick. He’s the only player in NFL history with touchdowns off interceptions in six straight seasons, a feat he pulled off each year from 2006 to 2011, and leads the league with nine touchdowns off interceptions since 2006. He went to the Pro Bowl every year from 2008-11. Woodson was productive for the Packers, but they have some tough decisions to make this offseason to manage the salary cap. Woodson had a year left on his lucrative deal and linebacker A.J. Hawk is Continue Reading

Super Bowl XLV: Nick Collins, Jarrett Bush, Clay Matthews force turnovers that vault Packers to win

ARLINGTON, Tex. - For all the hype swirling about the star quarterbacks, the Packers' defense made the three most pivotal plays of Super Bowl XLV. Dom Capers' unit intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice in the first quarter and forced a game-changing fumble in the fourth to help the Pack win its fourth Lombardi Trophy. "You can't turn the ball over," Steelers wideout Hines Ward said. "You can't do it at this stage of the game for the Super Bowl." Aaron Rodgers converted the Steelers turnovers into three TDs to help prevent Pittsburgh from winning its seventh title. The Packers got help from Jets castoff Howard Green, who forced the first mistake of the night. Green, who was released by Gang Green in October for being overweight, forced Roethlisberger into an errant throw in the first quarter with pressure up the middle. Green hit Roethlisberger, whose underthrown pass was intercepted by Nick Collins. The safety weaved through traffic before leaping into the end zone for a 14-0 lead. "I was just reading Ben's eyes," Collins said. "I was able to get a nice jump on the ball. When I saw it floating up there, I just wanted to make sure that I caught it." Jarrett Bush picked off Roethlisberger late in the second quarter to help set up Rodgers' 21-yard touchdown strike to Greg Jennings that extended the lead to 21-3. "The defense was incredible," Rodgers said. "They've been great all season carrying us, getting turnovers and scoring off turnovers. Unbelievable." The Steelers grabbed the momentum after defensive backs Charles Woodson and Sam Shields left the game with injuries. After Pittsburgh drew to within 21-17 and was driving for the go-ahead score, Clay Matthews drilled Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and forced a fumble that was scooped up by Desmond Bishop. "I just saw the ball in the air," Bishop said. "It was a huge momentum turn." Super Bowl MVP Rodgers responded with an 8-play, 55-yard drive capped by his third touchdown pass - an Continue Reading