Texans running back Arian Foster sidelined by groin injury; Ravens deny tipping off Colts in ‘Deflategate’ _lowres

Associated Press photo by BOB LEVEY -- There hasn't been much reaction to Texans' running back Arian Foster saying he's a nonbeliever. But will it prompt other players who are not religious or not Christian to share their viewpoints? And does this signal that professional football, with its postgame prayers, team Bible studies and proselytizing Christian coaches may be moving away from its Christian roots and sensibilities?

HOUSTON — Texans star running back Arian Foster has a groin injury, coach Bill O’Brien said Wednesday.

The second-year head coach said Foster is still being evaluated but that he would miss an unspecified amount of time.

Foster was second in the NFL in yards rushing per game (95.8) and sixth in total yards rushing (1,246) in 2014.

“I feel bad for him personally,” O’Brien said. “I think he came into this offseason and he really worked extremely hard. Came back here and ran the conditioning test really, really well. Came back and he was practicing well. But as a football team, it’s next man up.”

The next man up is most likely Alfred Blue, who spelled Foster in 2014 and rushed for 528 yards and two touchdowns.

Last year’s experience is valuable for Blue, a second-year back from LSU.

“I would say it helps a lot,” he said. “Just getting in there last year, get your feet wet. Started a couple of games. That definitely helps, knowing I’ve been through it already.”

O’Brien is also impressed with third-year back Jonathan Grimes.

The Texans worked out free-agent running backs Pierre Thomas, Ben Malena and Joe McKnight on Wednesday.

Ravens

CLUB DENIES TIPPING OFF COLTS IN ‘DEFLATEGATE’: The Baltimore Ravens deny they tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about underinflated footballs before the AFC championship game.

Court papers released Tuesday in New England quarterback Tom Brady’s lawsuit against the NFL over his four-game suspension show that the Ravens contacted the Colts about deflated footballs used in Baltimore’s playoff loss to the Patriots the previous week. But the Ravens said Wednesday that was not true.

The court filings included a section in which Colts equipment manager Sean Sullivan said Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg called Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano about K-balls, which are used in the kicking game only. Sullivan said the Ravens were given new footballs instead of the ones properly prepared.

Seahawks

CHANCELLOR’S HOLDOUT DRAGS ON: In Renton, Washington, Kam Chancellor’s holdout from Seattle Seahawks’ training camp extended to a sixth day.

The second-team All-Pro strong safety was absent again from camp Wednesday as he continues to seek a new contract from the team.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he has not had any communication with Chancellor in a few days.

In addition to the $30,000 a day the team can fine him for his holdout, the Seahawks can now seek a percentage of Chancellor’s prorated signing bonus. His daily fines have reached $180,000 with an additional $150,000 kicking in for his sixth day missed.

Lions

LB LEVY GETS EXTENSION: In Novi, Michigan, the Lions agreed to a four-year contract extension with linebacker DeAndre Levy.

Team President Tom Lewand confirmed the agreement before Detroit’s practice Wednesday night. General Manager Martin Mayhew said the previous day that the Lions were negotiating with the 28-year-old Levy, whose contract was up at the end of this season.

Levy had a career-high 151 tackles (117 solo) last season and is entering his seventh season with Detroit.

Securing Levy’s services for the next few years is an important move for the Lions, who were unable to sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to an extension last year.

Around the league

The Seahawks activated All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas from the physically unable to perform list, raising hopes he’ll be ready for the regular-season opener. ... Injuries have sidelined five Cleveland running backs in the first week of training camp, preventing the team from working on its rushing game and forcing the Browns to use two defensive players at fullback during practices. One of the injured backs is rookie Duke Johnson, a third-round pick from Miami expected to have a huge impact on Cleveland’s offense. The father of Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been denied bond after being charged with two counts of attempted murder in a shooting at a bar in Rock Hill, South Carolina.