FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Hawley has been suspended four games for violating NFL rules against performance-enhancing substances.
The league announced the penalty Monday, one day after the NFC-leading Falcons improved to 9-1 with a 23-19 victory over Arizona.
Hawley is a backup behind Falcons longtime center Todd McClure. The suspension begins immediately, meaning Hawley can't return to the Atlanta roster until Dec. 17 — a day after the team faces the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. While Hawley is out, the Falcons will likely use rookie Peter Konz as McClure's backup. Konz is also the starter at right guard.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A person familiar with Rob Gronkowski's injury says the New England Patriots tight end has undergone surgery for a broken forearm.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement, and did not say which arm was injured. The team could not confirm that Gronkowski had an operation, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.
Gronkowski went to the locker room with team physician Dr. Thomas Gill with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter after blocking on an extra point following the final touchdown in the Patriots 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. He caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the game, becoming the first tight end in NFL history with at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions are benching wide receiver Titus Young for Thursday's game against Houston following what coach Jim Schwartz calls unacceptable behavior during Sunday's loss to Green Bay.
Schwartz does not characterize the move as a suspension, but says Young was sent home from the team's practice facility Monday and will be inactive against the Texans. The coach does not say what Young specifically did wrong, but says there's no room for selfish behavior in a team sport.
Young, a second-year receiver out of Boise State, has 33 catches for 383 yards and four touchdowns this season. He caught one pass for 24 yards Sunday.
Young was involved in an altercation with teammate Louis Delmas last offseason. When he was in college, he missed most of the 2008 season for disciplinary reasons.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Rivera says based on recent conversations with team owner Jerry Richardson he doesn't know if he'll remain the Carolina Panthers head coach beyond this season.
Rivera says I know that nothing is going to happen until after the season.
Rivera's coaching seat got a little hotter after the Panthers (2-8) surrendered yet another fourth quarter lead Sunday and lost 27-21 to Tampa Bay in overtime. The loss dropped Rivera's record to 8-18 in his two seasons as Carolina's coach.
Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney four weeks ago and Rivera indicated at the time his future was tied to Carolina's ability to start trending up.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota receiver Percy Harvin did not practice on Monday when the team returned to work after its bye week.
Harvin is still working through a badly sprained left ankle that caused him to miss the game against Detroit before the bye. Coach Leslie Frazier says his leading receiver hasn't suffered any setbacks. But Frazier did say it was still too sore for Harvin to go Monday.
Receiver Michael Jenkins also missed practice with a sore foot. An MRI revealed no structural damage.
-- The Associated Press