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Polamalu named semifinalist

The Associated Press

Safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis are first-year eligible players among the 25 semifinalists of the modern era for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also on the list, which will be cut to 15 on Jan. 2, are previous finalists John Lynch, Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Steve Hutchinson, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James and Alan Faneca.

Five former players will be elected to the class of 2020 on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. They will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine in August.

The hall also will induct 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches in a special centennial class in 2020.

There are 14 defensive players, 10 on offense, and one special-teamer, Steve Tasker, who also played wide receiver for Buffalo.

Four players make the semifinals for the first time: linebacker Carl Banks, running backs Fred Taylor and Ricky Watters, and defensive tackle Bryant Young. Every other semifinalist for 2020 has gotten this far before.

There are six defensive backs in the group: Polamalu, Lynch, Atwater, Ronde Barber, LeRoy Butler and Darren Woodson.

Five receivers make the list: Wayne, Bruce, Torry Holt, Hines Ward, and Tasker. There also are five linebackers: Willis, Banks, Clay Matthews, Sam Mills and Zach Thomas.

Hutchinson, Faneca and Boselli are the offensive linemen. Taylor, Watters and James are the running backs. Defensive linemen are Young, Richard Seymour and Simeon Rice.

Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have placed five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Cameron Wake on injured reserve after the 37-year-old veteran was hurt late in their win over the Jaguars.

The Titans announced a handful of moves Tuesday.

Wake signed a three-year contract in March. He had 2 1/2 sacks in the opening win over Cleveland, giving him 100 1/2 for his career. Wake played in nine games this season.

Baltimore Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens center Matt Skura has been placed on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury in a 45-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Skura was carted off the field in the first quarter Monday night. The injury was initially determined to be a knee sprain, but turned out to be more serious.

He was replaced by undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari, whose presence didn’t hinder a running attack that grinded out 285 yards.

Skura was placed on IR Tuesday. He started all 11 games this season for Baltimore and didn’t miss a start at center in 2018.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, the Duke graduate has played in 39 games with Baltimore, including 12 at right guard in 2017.

Mekari is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is back on the active roster after serving a one-game suspension for his involvement in the recent brawl with the Steelers.

Ogunjobi was disciplined by the NFL for shoving Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground in the Nov. 14 melee between the AFC North rivals, who meet again Sunday at Heinz Field.

In a surprise move, the Browns released defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence. He made two starts and appeared in all 11 games.

Ogunjobi was one of 33 players fined for the ugly scene between the teams, a skirmish triggered by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett pulling off Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him over the head with it.

Garrett was suspended indefinitely and Rudolph fined $50,000. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey is serving a two-game suspension for kicking and punching Garrett.

Ogunjobi’s appeal was upheld last week but an additional $10,527 fine was rescinded.

Atlanta Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has returned to practice for the first time since suffering a sprained foot.

Wide receiver Julio Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in Atlanta’s loss to Tampa Bay last week, did not participate in Tuesday’s practice.

Tight ends Austin Hooper (knee) and Luke Stocker (back) also did not practice.

Freeman has missed two games since suffering the injury in a win at New Orleans on Nov. 10. With backup running back Ito Smith on injured reserve, Atlanta’s running game has struggled without Freeman.

The Falcons play the Saints again on Thursday night.

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