The Chicago Bears released veteran safety Chris Harris on Thursday after he asked for a trade, ending his second run with the team.
Coach Lovie Smith said the move had been building over several weeks of sub-par play.
“We don’t all of a sudden wake up one morning and just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go this direction,’” Smith said. “It’s a pattern and I feel good about the decision that we had to make.”
Harris got beat for a touchdown pass and dropped an interception Sunday against Tampa Bay. He had asked for a trade two weeks ago and was inactive against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 16, but then started Sunday in London against the Bucs.
LIONS: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford worked with the first team at practice Thursday, a sign of progress after he hurt his ankle last weekend.
“He has improved,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “I think that he’s on a pretty good track right now.”
Stafford was limited Wednesday, but he looked comfortable a day later in the portion of practice open to reporters. He hurt his right ankle late in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to Atlanta, hobbling off the field after a fourth down incompletion.
BROWNS: Running back Peyton Hillis’ bumpy season has hit another pothole.
Hillis did not practice Thursday, one day after he returned from a strained left hamstring that kept him out of last Sunday’s game. On Wednesday, Hillis practiced for the first time since getting hurt in the Browns’ Oct. 16 game at Oakland.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur described Hillis as being a “little sore” and said the team will “back him down” as it prepares for Sunday’s game at San Francisco.
Shurmur says he’s hopeful Hillis will be able to play against the 49ers.
TITANS: Matt Hasselbeck says his right thumb feels just fine, and he’s played with much worse in the past.
Hasselbeck practiced fully Thursday after being limited Wednesday.
He says he bruised the thumb in last week’s 41-7 loss to Houston when he hit his throwing hand on the arm or elbow of a defensive player. Hasselbeck says his thumb will not be an issue Sunday when the Titans play host to Indianapolis.
VIKINGS: A cadre of Minnesota legislators opposed to putting public money into a deal for a new Vikings stadium acknowledged Thursday they’d let the team flee the state rather than let themselves be strong-armed into cutting a deal at any price.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, meanwhile, laid out two funding options and three possible sites in a bid to keep the team from bolting from the city to the suburbs – or beyond. His plan relies on new sales and lodging taxes or proceeds from a potential downtown casino.
All of it comes as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s self-imposed deadline for crafting a stadium plan approaches.
SCORING CHANGE: An official scoring change is now giving the Miami Dolphins credit for six sacks instead of seven on Denver quarterback Tim Tebow.
During its weekly review of plays,’ the NFL and the Elias Sports Bureau determined that a second-quarter play originally ruled a sack was a designed run by Tebow.