NFL Notebook: Barkley is back, but will he be ready for Week 1?

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August 27th, 2021

The first game of the 2021 NFL regular season is less than two weeks away. Final cuts are on the horizon, and each team’s depth chart is moving closer to the version we’ll see in Week 1. Here are some of the latest news items from around the league.

Michel on the move

Running back Sony Michel was traded from the New England Patriots to the Los Angeles Rams Tuesday. It was a somewhat-surprising move at the time, and Michel goes from competing for reps in a crowded Patriots backfield to potentially falling into a heavy workload for the Rams, who lost Cam Akers to a season-ending injury earlier this summer.

In his new location, Michel figures to compete with Darrell Henderson for the starting job once he gets up to speed with the new system.

Barkley progresses toward return

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley participated in a joint practice Thursday against the Patriots’ defense.

It wasn’t quite a full-speed, full-contact day, as he wore a red jersey usually only donned by quarterbacks. However, Barkley says he feels good as he recovers from the season-ending injury he suffered last fall, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him take the field in some capacity during the first week of the campaign.

Etienne out for the year

Unfortunately, the news isn’t so rosy for Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Travis Etienne. The first-round pick suffered a foot injury in a contest against the New Orleans Saints, and he’ll undergo surgery for a Lisfranc injury, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Etienne graduated Clemson as the ACC’s all-time leading rusher, and hopes were high he would provide a big-play threat in Urban Meyer’s first year at the helm of the Jags.

Bills WRs fined, Tannehill tests positive

We’ll need to wrap up, unfortunately, with some COVID-related news. Buffalo Bills wide receivers Cole Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie were both fined for various violations of NFL protocols, while Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was one of nine players on his team who tested positive for the virus.

He’ll need to produce two negative tests before he can suit up again, and time is of the essence given that the Titans' season opener is coming up very quickly.