49ers move forward without Smith
Carlos Rogers understands a key piece of San Francisco's defense is missing with the absence of Aldon Smith, yet the veteran cornerback is determined to make sure it never becomes an excuse for the team's recent poor play.
The 49ers are moving forward without their star linebacker and sacks leader as he begins rehab for substance abuse and an indefinite leave from the team. He played in Sunday's 27-7 loss to the Colts, but is gone now following his second DUI arrest in 20 months last Friday morning that also included suspicion of marijuana possession.
Smith apologized Sunday night. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has no idea how long Smith might be away, and that seems to be the case all around.
"I think it's a distraction to whoever wants to think about it, to whoever wants to pay attention to it," Rogers said Tuesday. "When I get out there on the field and play, I'm thinking about playing whatever team, I'm not thinking about Aldon and whatever situation went on with him. We're going to continue our meetings, we're going to continue to go on the field and practice, whether he's here or not. That's the only thing we can do. For each individual, if you continue to worry about Aldon and let that be a distraction, let that say, "Oh, this team's not going to be the same because Aldon's not here,' then it will be a distraction."
While everybody in the locker room is rooting for Smith's recovery, his fellow defenders are now focused on getting the most from the guys who will take over for him: Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier, among others.
With Smith's departure opening up a spot, the 49ers on Tuesday promoted cornerback Darryl Morris to the 53-man roster and signed linebacker D'Aundre Reed to the practice squad.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha could be sidelined with a leg injury, so adding Morris provides depth in the secondary. On the offensive side, coordinator Greg Roman said the status of both tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) and running back LaMichael James (knee) will likely be game-time decisions.
Burleson breaks arm in car crash
Two days after a victory that for this franchise was downright historic, the Detroit Lions are facing another dose of adversity.
Receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm in a single-car accident early Tuesday after he reached over to keep two pizza boxes from falling off the front passenger seat, authorities said. Coach Jim Schwartz stopped short of writing off the rest of Burleson's season, but surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.
"It's not an emergency surgery," Schwartz said. "Nate'll be back at some point, and when he will, he will be a big contributor again to our team."
Burleson's car hit a center median wall on a highway in suburban Detroit and he was taken to a hospital. Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said there were no indicators of alcohol on the scene or on Burleson's person after the crash at 2:25 a.m.
The team didn't say which arm was broken.
Cowboys' Spencer needs surgery, out for season
Dallas defensive end Anthony Spencer will have season-ending surgery on his left knee and may have played his last game for the Cowboys.
Spencer's agent, Jordan Woy, says doctors have a "good idea" what type of surgery but were still considering options. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on his radio show, saying Spencer was likely to have microfracture surgery.
The 29-year-old Spencer is on a one-year contract with the franchise tag for the second straight season, so he will be a free agent when he's healthy again.
Spencer had arthroscopic surgery July 25 and missed the preseason and the opener against the Giants. He played more than half the game in Week 2 against Kansas City before he was sidelined again.
Rams distance selves from anti-military tweet
The St. Louis Rams say an anti-military Tweet by former offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe is reprehensible, and coach Jeff Fisher also weighed in on the comment.
After practice Tuesday night, Fisher said Nsekhe wasn't in the NFL because he's "not necessarily a deep thinker, OK?"
Nsekhe responded to a tweet that NFL players shouldn't make more money than soldiers by tweeting back: "It doesn't take much skill to kill someone."
Nsekhe was among the Rams' final cuts before the regular-season opener when he was waived with an injury settlement. He played two games for St. Louis last year.
Fisher said he learned of the tweet just before practice and reiterated his disappointment, and the fact that Nsekhe is not with the team.