New England wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster runs after making a catch against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

FOXBOROUGH, Mass — After playing a limited role in last Sunday’s season opener, Patriots wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said Friday he is not bothered by his lack of playing time.

“No, I’m not frustrated at all. I’ve been in this league way too long,” Smith-Schuster told reporters. “When the time is called, the opportunity is called for me, I’ll be ready.”

Smith-Schuster played 54% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps against the Eagles, fewer than sixth-round rookie Kayshon Boutte. Another sixth-round rookie, Demario Douglas, replaced Smith-Schuster in the slot during the team’s final drive to try to win the game. Douglas (40) and backup tight end Mike Gesicki (36) finished with more receiving yards than Smith-Schuster, who totaled 33 yards on four catches.

Smith-Schuster also addressed reports that his surgically repaired knee has limited his burst and run-after-catch ability, one of the reasons the Patriots signed him to a three-year, $25.5 million deal in free agency. The Boston Herald reported earlier this week it has affected Smith-Schuster’s performance and factored into his slow slide down the depth chart.

Smith-Schuster denied Friday that the knee is less than fully healthy.

“Yeah, 100%. I think it’s 100%. I’ve been working on it every day,” he said. “It’s nice to be here and find a nice routine, get in with the trainer every single day to go out there and perform.”


According to sources, Smith-Schuster is not currently seen as one of the team’s five most effective pass-catchers. His playing time could be in further jeopardy if DeVante Parker makes his season debut Sunday night against Miami after sitting out last weekend with a knee injury. Parker has participated in the team’s last six practices after out-performing all of the receivers during training camp.

• A handful of key Patriots players are questionable for Sunday Night Football against the Dolphins.

Jonathan Jones (ankle) didn’t practice on Friday and was given the questionable designation, as were three starters on the offensive line – Trent Brown (concussion), Cole Strange (knee) and Mike Onwenu (ankle). Also questionable is Sidy Sow, who remains in the concussion protocol.

Boutte and David Andrews – both limited with hamstring injuries during the week – were removed from the injury report.

VIKINGS: Minnesota running back Alexander Mattison received more than 60 “disgustingly disrespectful messages” through social media that included racial slurs and encouraged suicide, the fifth-year player said in the aftermath of the team’s most recent loss.

Mattison, who is Black, revealed on an Instagram Story post that he was taunted through direct messages and in the comments sections on the social media platform for his performance in Minnesota’s 34-28 defeat Thursday at Philadelphia, where Mattison had one of the Vikings’ four fumbles. He urged the 60-plus users to “really reflect” on their words and how they could truly affect a person.


“Under my helmet, I am a human, a father, a son,” Mattison wrote. “This is sick.”

PANTHERS: Carolina placed starting cornerback Jaycee Horn on injured reserve with a hamstring injury on Friday, meaning he will miss at least four games.

Horn is a promising cornerback who was selected eighth overall in the 2021 draft but has struggled to stay on the field. Entering the season he had missed 18 of a possible 34 games due to injuries. C.J. Henderson is expected to start on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints with Troy Hill expected to see additional playing time.

PACKERS: Running back Aaron Jones, wide receiver Christian Watson, offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and linebacker Quay Walker all were listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report ahead of Sunday’s game at Atlanta.

Jones and Watson are dealing with hamstring injuries. Walker is in concussion protocol. The Packers have been monitoring Bakhtiari’s workload due to his knee issues after he played 11 games last season and only one game in 2021.

TITANS: Three-time All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed a third straight practice, making him questionable for Tennessee’s’ home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday with an injured ankle.


“I feel good,” Hopkins said Friday. “It’s a process. I’m getting ready and getting my body prepared for whatever is next.”

Hopkins, who caught seven passes for 65 yards in his Tennessee debut, suffered the injury late in the Titans’ 16-15 loss at New Orleans last week.

RAVENS: Baltimore ruled out four key players – cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot), center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and safety Marcus Williams (pectoral) – for their game Sunday at Cincinnati.

Tight end Mark Andrews (quad), who did not play last weekend, was a full participant in practice Friday and is listed as questionable to face the Bengals.

GIANTS: Starting left tackle Andrew Thomas practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona.

Thomas sustained a hamstring injury in Sunday night’s season-opening 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.


JETS: New York kicker Greg Zuerlein has a groin injury that could keep him out of the game Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach Robert Saleh said Friday that Zuerlein was hurt late in practice Thursday. Zuerlein didn’t participate in the team’s final full session before traveling to Dallas and was listed as questionable on the Jets’ injury report. Saleh said “we’re 50-50” on Zuerlein’s chances to play.

SEAHAWKS: Seattle right tackle Abraham Lucas will have a procedure on his sore knee that landed him on injured reserve earlier this week, and the team will be without both starting offensive tackles on Sunday against Detroit. Left tackle Charles Cross was ruled out with a sprained big toe on his right foot. Carroll said Cross was making progress but would not make the trip.

Both Cross and Lucas were injured in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.