First Terrell Suggs. Now linebacker Ray Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb.
The Baltimore Ravens might have the best record in the AFC, along with Houston at 5-1, but they're losing big-name defenders faster than O.J. Simpson after a hotel robbery.
Lewis and Webb are gone for the year after suffering serious injuries Sunday during the Ravens' 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys, head coach John Harbaugh said Monday.
Lewis completely tore his right tricep. Webb tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, three years after tearing his right ACL as a rookie.
"Lardarius yesterday was distraught," Harbaugh said. "I could see it when I walked on the field, on his face. He kind of knew because he has been through it before. I just felt like he knew. He was just beside himself."
With 25 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and six passes defended, Webb had become "one of the premier corners in the league," Harbaugh said. "I'm biased. I'd say he's the best."
Lewis, in his 17th year, is the Ravens' leading tackler this year, with 57 stops. He had lost 15 pounds during the off-season to make himself more effective in pass coverage.
Lewis is 37, and many already are speculating that he has reached the end of the road.
"You know I'm not going to make any comment on that," Harbaugh said.
"That's for Ray to speak on. I admire Ray Lewis. I've said that many times. I think everybody in this room does. Everybody who knows him feels that way. I look forward to seeing what he says about that."
Suggs -- an outside linebacker who was the league's defensive MVP a year ago -- tore an Achilles while working out in April, but reports said he was hoping to return by the end of this month.
The latest injuries could not come at a worse time. The Ravens visit the Texans on Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray suffered ligament damage in his left foot against Baltimore, according to ESPNDallas.com, and likely won't play Sunday at Carolina. The able Felix Jones would start in his place.
YOU CAN HEAR BELICHICK ROLLING HIS EYES
Six days before his New York Jets play at New England, head coach Rex Ryan was predictably brash: "I want them to know -- and they know -- I think we're going to beat them ... I recognized they're a great football team, and (Bill) Belichick's a great coach. I've never once said he wasn't, OK? But we're not going to back down or concede anything."
The AFC East rivals are both 3-3.
NOT SO DANDY ANDY
After consecutive losses in which last-play field goals by the opposition did them in, the Philadelphia Eagles have a week off to come to grips with their disappointing 3-3 start.
"We go back and we evaluate and tear things apart during this bye week, and look at how we get ourselves better ... as players and coaches," head coach Andy Reid said Monday.
"You evaluate everything, and that's what we'll do from that standpoint. With 10 games left, we know that there are a lot of games left. Anything is possible in the National Football League, and I still believe that we have a good football team. We just have to get a couple of things together here."
Reid also backed defensive co-ordinator Juan Castillo, saying he'll continue to call plays on defence as of "right now."
In other words, nothing new in Philly. Move along.
MERRIMAN BACK WITH BILLS
The Buffalo Bills cut defensive end Shawne Merriman partway through training camp but re-signed him to the active roster Monday. The Bills also re-signed safety Delano Howell, and released both defensive tackle Jay Ross and centre David Snow.
The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, picked up running back Johnny White off waivers from the Bills to replace Brandon Saine. Green Bay placed Saine on injured reserve after the former Ohio State Buckeye seriously injured a knee Sunday in Houston.
LATEST FAR-FROM-FINAL BOUNTYGATE NEWS
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, whose season-long suspension was reinstated last week by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, expects to come off the "physically unable to perform" list Tuesday. And Vilma says he is physically able to play this week.
Vilma is re-appealing his suspension, and his lawyers filed a 29-page motion Monday in New Orleans to vacate the suspension.
Will the NFL let him play before Goodell rules on the appeal? Stay tuned.
Wide receiver Domenik Hixon, rapidly becoming an evermore important cog in the New York Giants offence, was asked if the team expects to continue flying under the radar. His reply: "For some reason, every time we do something, someone finds a way to say that we could have done it better." And he didn't mean just head coach Tom Coughlin.