THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — If not for the black support tape on his right thumb, there would have been no indication Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was less than three weeks removed from injuring it.

Stafford took snaps and threw the ball without any apparent difficulty in practice, giving him more confidence he will be able to play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

It is a scenario Stafford didn’t believe was possible when he came out of the 43-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 29 after hitting his thumb three different times, the last of which happened when he caught a 2-point conversion early in the third quarter.

“I tried to grab (a football) and it didn’t have any strength and was pretty worried about it,” Stafford said. “Then went back in and did some tests and I thought it was going to be quite a bit worse than it was. So just happy that it’s not as bad as I thought.”

Throwing in a steady rain gave Stafford another way to measure how much progress he has made in his recovery.

“I haven’t been out there obviously in a couple weeks, so it was kind of nice to just get back out there and get my feet wet again, literally and figuratively,” Stafford said.


STEELERS: Pittsburgh special teams coordinator Danny Smith is still taking one for the team. Even at 70.

Smith says he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder off the bone in three places when Steelers safety Damontae Kazee plowed over him on the sideline at the end of Kazee’s game-clinching interception return in last Sunday’s victory over Green Bay.

Kazee picked off Packers quarterback Jordan Love at the goal line and then raced down the Steelers sideline before stepping out of bounds while simultaneously getting shoved by Green Bay offensive lineman Zach Tom. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Kazee was basically at full speed when he slammed into his team’s septuagenarian special teams guru.

Pittsburgh tight end Rodney Williams helped scoop Smith out of harm’s way as a brief scuffle broke out, with Williams noting Smith never stopped chewing his gum even as chaos broke out around him.

“I couldn’t get up,” Smith said. “When I landed on my shoulder, it went numb and I couldn’t get off the ground. I got tramped on a couple times and I rolled over on my back. When I rolled over on my back, he slid me out.”

DOLPHINS: Miami released veteran wide receiver Robbie Chosen, who signed as a free agent in April, was released as part of roster cuts in August and later re-signed to the practice squad.

He appeared in four games for the Dolphins, including in Week 3 against the Broncos when he caught a 68-yard touchdown in a 70-20 blowout. Chosen has been a healthy scratch the past three games and apparently became expendable when the team activated receiver River Cracraft from injured reserve on Tuesday.

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