Bryant back at practice

Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant practiced on Friday for the first time since getting injured in...

Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant practiced on Friday for the first time since getting injured in Week 1. (AFP)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:54 PM ET

TORONTO - The Dallas Cowboys’ crowded infirmary cleared out a bit on Friday.

Star receiver Dez Bryant practiced on Friday for the first time since getting injured in Week 1.

Running back Felix Jones and centre Phil Costa joined him.

With Miles Austin expected to miss a couple of weeks, Bryant will be needed to play a major role on Monday night against the Washington Redskins. If he can go, that is. There is still a chance that he will be held out again.

Aside from Austin and quarterback Tony Romo, offensive guard Derrick Dockery, who has an injured knee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (ankle), also did not practice on Friday.

Romo is the only player from the foursome likely to play against Washington.

His punctured lung has healed, but he still has fractured rib.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said though Romo’s lung injury has healed, “that still doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to play Monday night.”

According to ESPN, Romo didn’t practice on Friday because Dallas did not want to give him a painkiller.

He did throw some passes on Thursday.

ORLANDO BROWN DEAD

Orlando (Zeus) Brown, best remembered for having a weighted penalty flag thrown in his eye and for shoving the official who threw it afterwards, has died.

The former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle was just 40.

The cause of death is not yet known. Brown was found unresponsive Friday morning at his home.

The 10-year veteran started 119 of 129 games.

Though a fierce, feared competitor on the field, Brown was extremely well-regarded off of it.

“He’s one of the greatest men I know — really a gentle giant away from the game,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in a release.

“He was the original Raven. He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent. When you heard his voice on the field, you knew things were going to be all right. He would say: ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Do it for us. Do it for your teammates. Lew, Lew, keep it up!’ I can almost hear that voice right now. And, oh, how he loved his sons. They lost a great father. So sad, just so sad.”

Brown was a divorced father of three.

He settled a lawsuit with the NFL for $25 million U.S. after missing three seasons due to his eye injury.

INJURED MANNING STILL CONTRIBUTING

Peyton Manning won’t be able to play for the Indianapolis Colts for quite some time, but he still expects to try to earn his keep.

Manning, possibly out for the season while recovering from recent neck surgery, signed a large contract extension and wants to do what he can to help the Colts.

Manning told the Indianapolis Star that he will be in the press box this weekend, sitting beside quarterbacks coach Ron Turner.

Turner would be wise to listen to what Manning has to say.

The quarterback is the NFL’s only four-time MVP.

“My first obligation to the team is to get myself healthy,’’ Manning told the paper on Friday. “But I do believe that (since) I’m on the active roster, I have an obligation to help the team in some capacity.’’

Manning said not being able to play is an adjustment. He doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return.

“I’m just trying to get healthy,” he said.

“This is new to me. But I want to be a resource. I want to help.”

NO POT LUCK

Cincinnati receiver Jerome Simpson likely is in big trouble after police reportedly found a large quantity of marijuana at his home recently, but teammate Anthony Collins is defending his name.

Collins issued a statement on Friday:

“This past Tuesday morning I stopped by the house of my teammate, Jerome Simpson, on my way to the stadium. While I was at his home, several law enforcement officers unexpectedly entered the house. I had no idea what it was about and after identifying myself and speaking to the officers, they let me go on my way.

“Unfortunately I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, I do want to take this opportunity to let my fans, friends and family know that I had no part in the reported activities at Jerome’s home. I have done nothing wrong and I have not been charged with doing anything wrong. So far as I know, I am no longer a part of any investigation.”

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has also said Collins was not involved.

Simpson might have a harder time clearing his name.

He was excused from practice the past two days and unlikely to play on Sunday.

Six pounds of marijuana allegedly was found in his house after a package containing 2.5 pounds was delivered there.

MADDEN CURSE?

Has the Madden curse struck again?

Don’t worry Peyton Hillis fans, the star Browns running back was just sent home from practice because he was sick. At least that’s their story.

Madden video game cover boys (Hillis is featured on the 2012 edition because he won a fan voting contest) have a long history of getting injured shortly after making the front of the box, but Hillis is OK — at least for now.

Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur said he expects Hillis to play on Sunday when Miami visits in search of its first win of the season.

“Whatever it is, we don’t feel like it will affect him on Sunday,” Shurmur said.

“We felt the best course of action was to just send him home and give him the best opportunity to get as much rest and fluids as we could.”

Hillis, a former fullback, rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and scored a pair of touchdowns last week.

It was thought that Hillis injured himself at practice on Thursday, but the team maintained he was out Friday only because he was feeling under the weather.


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