MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has not been cleared to return to football activities and was ruled out for Sunday’s playoff game against the Buffalo Bills as he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday.

The Dolphins are preparing for rookie Skylar Thompson to be their starter when they face the Bills for the third time this season. Backup Teddy Bridgewater is working his way back to full strength after dislocating his pinky finger.

McDaniel said he did not know if Tagovailoa would be able to travel with the team this weekend, and although he has not had any setbacks in the healing process, there are “compounding variables” at play that will keep him off the field indefinitely.

“He, himself, is learning that he needs to listen to the advice of doctors and medical professionals,” McDaniel said. “He understands the severity of doing that, so there’s a little bit of things that he can’t control.”

Tagovailoa was diagnosed with his second concussion of the season after a Week 16 loss to Green Bay and missed the final two games of the regular season.

He missed two games earlier in the season after he was concussed in a Week 4 game against Cincinnati on a scary hit that briefly knocked him unconscious. That was four days after he was allowed to return to a game after appearing disoriented following a hit.


McDaniel declined to say whether there is any concern about Tagovailoa’s long-term health and if there have been any thoughts about how the head injuries will affect the third-year quarterback’s career.

“I’m just thinking about his day and him getting to full health as a human being,” McDaniel said. “And then when it’s time to turn the page, I’ll turn the page.”

BILLS: Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin was released from a Buffalo hospital on Wednesday, more than a week after he went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated during a game at Cincinnati, after his doctors said they completed a series of tests.

A news release from the Bills quoted Dr. Jamie Nadler as saying: “We have completed a series of tests and evaluation and in consultation with the team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged.” Nadler said Hamlin will continue his rehabilitation with the Bills.

Hamlin is going home after spending two days undergoing tests at Buffalo General Medical Center. He was transferred to Buffalo on Monday after spending last week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where the 24-year-old from the Pittsburgh area experienced what doctors called “a remarkable recovery.”

The news came as the Bills returned to practice to prepare to host their division rival Miami Dolphins in a wild-card playoff game on Sunday.


Coach Sean McDermott said it would be up to Hamlin whether he would visit the team.

“His health is first and foremost on our mind as far as his situation goes,” McDermott told reporters. “We’ll welcome him back as he feels ready.”

His doctors said Hamlin’s progress in recovering from cardiac arrest, considered a life-threatening event, has been normal to accelerated, and that he was able to cheer on the Bills from his hospital bed during their win over the New England Patriots last weekend.

• The Bills opened the window of possibility for starting safety Micah Hyde and backup receiver Jamison Crowder to return from injury at some point during the playoffs, as both were cleared to return to practice.

Hyde has been out since he required surgery to repair a herniated disc after being hurt in a 41-7 win against Tennessee in Week 2. Crowder has been sidelined since breaking his ankle in a win over Baltimore two weeks later.

Both remain on the injured reserve list but are eligible to resume practicing over a three-week period, after which the Bills have the option of activating them to the roster or ending their season.


Coach Sean McDermott already ruled both out from playing Sunday against Miami.

RAVENS: Quarterback Lamar Jackson was again absent from practice during the portion open to reporters Wednesday.

The Baltimore star hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee in a Dec. 4 win over Denver, and there was no sign of him as the Ravens prepared for Sunday night’s playoff game at Cincinnati. Jackson missed the final five games of the regular season.

Tyler Huntley, who started the first four of those, has been dealing with shoulder issues and did not play in the regular-season finale. Anthony Brown started that game.

• The Ravens signed Roquan Smith to a contract extension, agreeing to a five-year deal with the star linebacker who arrived in a midseason trade from Chicago and helped his new team secure a playoff spot with a stout defensive effort down the stretch.

Smith, 25, was the NFL’s third-leading tackler this season.


• The Baltimore Ravens say cornerback Brandon Stephens became “acutely ill” at the team hotel before Sunday’s game at Cincinnati and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Stephens remained in Cincinnati for treatment but is now back in Baltimore and feeling better, according to the team’s statement.

JETS: Mike LaFleur is out as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets after two seasons, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

LaFleur’s future with the team was uncertain after Zach Wilson struggled mightily in his second season and the offense was among the worst in the NFL for two straight years. With Robert Saleh’s Jets finishing 7-10 with a season-ending six-game losing streak, there was speculation LaFleur could be on the way out.

PRO BOWL: The NFL announced all eight skills competitions for its revamped Pro Bowl week.

Five of the events will be Feb. 2 at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, the headquarters for the Las Vegas Raiders. Those will be televised but not open to the public.


The rest are Feb. 5 at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, and tickets are on sale for that day.

The events at the Raiders’ headquarters include a dodgeball tournament, a three-part elimination contest called the “Lightning Round,” a golf ball longest-drive contest, a quarterback passing challenge and the first round of a best catch game.

Stadium contests are the finals of the best catch event, a relay race through an obstacle course, a special teams competition and a strength contest using first-down chains.

Seven-on-seven flag football games will highlight the events at the stadium and take the place of the traditional Pro Bowl game. The NFL announced in September it was getting rid of the traditional AFC vs. NFC full-contact all-star game after years of criticism over the quality of play.

BROWNS: Jim Schwartz is getting the first crack to prove to the Browns that he can fix their troubled defense.

Detroit’s former coach interviewed with Cleveland for its defensive coordinator position after Coach Kevin Stefanski fired Joe Woods earlier this week following a disappointing 7-10 season.


Schwartz began his NFL career as a scout with the Browns in the 1990s and has built an impressive resume over the past three decades.

The 56-year-old has worked as a senior advisor with the Tennessee Titans for the past two seasons. He spent four seasons with the Lions (2009-13) and has another connection with the Browns after spending 2019 in Philadelphia working with Cleveland GM Andrew Berry.

The Browns have also requested interviews with Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores, New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and Seattle Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai.

PANTHERS: The Carolina Panthers are interviewing former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich and have requested permission to interview Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore for their head coaching vacancy, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Panthers owner David Tepper appears to have locked in on candidates with offensive backgrounds if he doesn’t retain this season’s interim head coach, Steve Wilks.

On Tuesday, the Panthers requested permission to interview four other NFL offensive coordinators for their head coaching vacancy: Philadelphia’s Shane Steichen, Buffalo’s Ken Dorsey, Detroit’s Ben Johnson and the New York Giants’ Mike Kafka, a person familiar with the situation told the AP.

Along with former Detroit Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, who interviewed with the team on Monday, that brings to seven the number of coaches with offensive backgrounds the Panthers have shown interest in or spoken with.

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