APTOPIX Wintry Weather

Zaria Black, 24, of Buffalo clears off her car as snow falls on Friday in Buffalo, N.Y. A dangerous lake-effect snowstorm paralyzed parts of western and northern New York, with more than 3 feet of snow already on the ground in some places and possibly much more on the way. Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

A snowstorm of historic proportions is rolling over the Great Lakes, and it’s messing with the Buffalo Bills.

On Friday, the team announced that it had canceled its Friday practice and instead had players and coaches meet virtually. As of Friday afternoon, the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, which is where the Bills play their home games, had received 40 inches of snow.

Even before the snow began falling, the NFL announced Thursday it would relocate Buffalo’s Sunday home game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit.

A day later, the Bills tweeted photos of Highmark Stadium showing the playing field and its more than 60,000 seats virtually buried in snow, and forecasters warned of an additional foot or more by Sunday.

“This will produce near zero visibility, nearly impossible travel, damage to infrastructure, and paralyze the hardest-hit communities,” the National Weather Service wrote in its forecast.

On Saturday, team members and staff will have to dig themselves out to gather at the airport for a 45-minute flight to Detroit. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility that some might have to make part of the trip by snowmobile, as happened in November 2014, when a similar storm led to the NFL shifting Buffalo’s home game against the New York Jets to Detroit’s Ford Field.


“That’s obviously TBD at this point. We want to head out tomorrow as close to the normal time as possible,” Coach Sean McDermott said. “However, seeing what’s happening around us right now, just want to make sure that all the staff and players’ families are safe and dug out before we try to get out of here.”

As for Sunday’s game, the Lions made one request on Twitter for the Bills, whose fans are famous for getting wild at the tailgate.

“Important numbers are by the phone, lock up when you leave and please don’t break the tables,” the Lions wrote.

TITANS: Offensive coordinator Todd Downing is free on bond after he was arrested on charges of speeding and driving under the influence early Friday morning.

Downing was released from the Williamson County Jail just before 7 a.m. local time on $2,500 bond after being booked into the jail at 4:39 a.m.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled over Downing hours after the Titans beat the Packers 27-17 in Green Bay on Thursday night. Downing’s offense turned in its best performance this season as Tennessee (7-3) won for the seventh time in eight games.


“We are aware of the reports regarding Todd Downing and are in the process of gathering additional information,” the Titans said in a statement.

The arrest puts Downing at risk of further punishment from the NFL.

“We have been in contact with the club regarding the matter which will be reviewed,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “All league and club personnel, including coaches, are subject to potential discipline when a violation is determined to have been committed.”

Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said he spoke to Downing, controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, General Manager Jon Robinson and NFL officials. Vrabel noted the league has policies for such incidents and the Titans will make sure the NFL has all the information it needs. Vrabel also noted he couldn’t answer many questions because of both the legal and NFL processes.

COMMANDERS: The Commanders agreed to return security deposits to former season ticket holders and pay a $250,000 penalty in a settlement with the state of Maryland.

The team has 30 days to return fans’ deposits as part of the arrangement announced Friday by Maryland Attorney Brian E. Frosh after he accused the Commanders of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.


“For many years, the Commanders kept money that was not theirs. It belongs to their customers,” Frosh said in a statement. “Today’s settlement will require the team to return the monies owed to consumers. The Commanders will pay a penalty, and they will be enjoined from engaging in similar practices in the future.”

The District of Columbia on Thursday said it was suing the Commanders in civil court over what it called a scheme to cheat season-ticket holders out of money. It’s the second civil suit brought against them by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s office after last week filing a complaint against the team, owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for colluding to deceive fans about an investigation into the team’s workplace culture.

CHARGERS: Barring a setback, quarterback Justin Herbert will get his top two receivers back for Sunday night’s AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were full participants in Friday’s practice. Even though they are both listed as questionable on the injury report and Coach Brandon Staley said it will come down to a game-time decision, both players said they were ready to go.

Allen has missed seven games, including the past two, with a nagging left hamstring injury he suffered during the Sept. 11 opener against Las Vegas. Williams has been sidelined the last two games after suffering a high sprain to his right ankle during the fourth quarter against Seattle on Oct. 23.

Allen has been on the field for only 44 plays this season. He has six receptions for 77 yards after five straight years with at least 95 catches. Williams leads the Chargers in receiving yards (495) and is tied for second in receptions with 37. He has six touchdowns in 10 meetings against the Chiefs, including four in the past three.


RAMS: Quarterback Matthew Stafford was cleared from concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans, according to the team injury report.

Stafford, who has been in concussion protocol since Nov. 8, sat out last week’s defeat by the Arizona Cardinals. Stafford has passed for eight touchdowns, with eight interceptions. The 14th-year pro was a full participant in practice this week.

“He’s had great command, great communication with his teammates,” McVay said before Friday’s practice. “He’s looked really good. He’s been the Matthew that we all know and love.”

JETS: Veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif signed with the Jets’ practice squad, giving New York some depth on a unit hit hard by injuries this season.

Duvernay-Tardif stepped away from football after spending the last two months of last season with the Jets so he could begin working on his medical residency program at a Montreal-area hospital.

“It’s phenomenal,” Jets Coach Robert Saleh said of Duvernay-Tardif balancing both football and his medical education.

The 31-year-old offensive lineman opted out of the 2020 season while with Kansas City to work on the front lines of the pandemic as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Montreal. Midway through last season, Duvernay-Tardif chose to return to football and was traded from Kansas City to New York in November 2021.

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