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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 1:00 am

Notebook

Titans' tight end Walker on IR with ankle injury

Associated Press

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker will have surgery on his right ankle in the next few days, and Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said it's undetermined if the veteran might be able to return this season.

The Titans placed Walker on injured reserve Monday and signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off Houston's practice squad.

“Disappointing because he puts a lot into it,” Vrabel said of Walker. “He plays hard, been a productive player for us and somebody that I was excited to coach and be with. But hopefully, we'll see where he's at after surgery and re-evaluate his potential return.”

Walker was hurt with 3:33 left in the Titans' 27-20 loss in Miami when Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald tackled him at the end of a 15-yard reception.

No tight end has had more catches than Walker's 356 receptions between 2013 and 2017.

Walker, 34, signed an extension through 2020 in training camp. He was the Pro Bowl MVP in January and had been quarterback Marcus Mariota's favorite target the past three seasons.

The rest of the Titans' tight end group includes Jonnu Smith, a third-round pick out of Florida International in 2017, eight-year veteran Luke Stocker who has started 58 of his 84 career games, and Anthony Firkser.

Surreal Steelers

It wasn't a win. It wasn't a loss. It was ... weird.

Seventy minutes of flags, fumbles and the occasional fight. Forgive the Pittsburgh Steelers if they're not quite sure what to make of their 21-all tie against Cleveland.

A full day removed, they still couldn't quite put a finger on how to feel after a 14-point fourth-quarter lead morphed into the franchise's first tie in 16 years.

“Very surreal,” guard David DeCastro said. “I don't think it's really settled in yet. It feels like a wash ... It's a very foreign feeling in terms of football. Really hard game all around, kind of hard to describe.”

The Steelers outgained the Browns by 150 yards and received a breakout performance by running back James Conner, who had 192 combined yards. They sacked Tyrod Taylor seven times – including four times by outside linebacker TJ Watt. They were also called for a dozen penalties and couldn't hold on to the ball.

Ben Roethlisberger threw three picks and fumbled twice.

“It is upsetting when you come up with results like Sunday against a team you should potentially beat,” left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said.

Mixon's time to shine

When the Cincinnati Bengals raised the curtain on their new offense, Joe Mixon was front and center.

The second-year running back was the focus of Cincinnati's redesigned offense in a 34-23 victory at Indianapolis.

“He made some explosive plays and he is so talented, he can do it all,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. “I thought he played really well.”

Mixon carried 17 times for 95 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. Mixon also caught five passes for 54 yards.

“They did a great job executing blocks,” Mixon said of the offensive line.

Tight end Tyler Eifert, a former Bishop Dwenger and Notre Dame player, had three catches for 44 yards. Eifert played in the first two games last season before a back injury required surgery.

“This is as good as I've felt in a long time,” Eifert said.