49ers activate LB Kwon Alexander from injured reserve

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2019, file photo, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) looks on during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, in Glendale, Ariz. Alexander has returned to practice for the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, for the first time since tearing his pectoral muscle midway through the season. The Niners opened up the three-week practice window for Alexander to be activated from injured reserve in the playoffs. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers activated linebacker Kwon Alexander from injured reserve Friday to make him eligible for the team’s playoff opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

Alexander initially got injured on Oct. 31 when he tore his pectoral muscle in a win at Arizona. He was placed on injured reserve and wasn’t expected back this soon.

Alexander managed to heal more quickly than anticipated and returned to practice last week and was cleared by doctors to play Saturday against the Vikings.

Alexander is a key part of San Francisco’s defense with his speed in coverage and the energy he brings to the unit. He had 34 tackles, four passes defensed, one interception, one forced fumble and a half-sack in eight games this season.

Pass rusher Dee Ford and safety Jaquiski Tartt are also slated to the 49ers’ starting defense.

The 49ers placed defensive lineman Kentavius Street on injured reserve with a knee injury to make room on the 53-man roster.

Chiefs’ Jones, Kelce listed as questionable

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs could be missing defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce when the AFC West champs face Houston in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs Sunday.

Jones was listed on the injury report Thursday after coach Andy Reid said he had “tweaked his calf” at practice the previous day. Jones did not practice at all on Friday and Reid declined to say whether there was a chance he’ll play Sunday.

Jones also didn’t play when the Chiefs lost to the Texans in Week 6 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kelce has been limited all week with a knee injury that Reid characterized as “a bruise.” He also is questionable.

The only player ruled out for Kansas City is cornerback Morris Claiborne, who did not practice all week. The reason is somewhat of a mystery because he was listed with both not-injury-related and shoulder injury designations.

Eagles’ McCown played with hamstring tear

PHILADELPHIA — Josh McCown tore his left hamstring before halftime Sunday. The Eagles didn’t have any more quarterbacks active in their playoff loss to Seattle, so McCown kept playing.

That was what Carson Wentz’s 40-year-old backup told the ThomaHawk podcast this week, hosted by Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins. A source close to the situation confirmed an ESPN report Friday that said McCown faces surgery, and will need about six months to recover. He will be unable to straighten his left leg for about six weeks.

McCown entered the Eagles’ 17-9 loss late in the first quarter, after Wentz suffered a concussion on the team’s second offensive series, Wentz slammed to the ground by Jadeveon Clowney. The Eagles had chosen to not activate third QB Nate Sudfeld. Wide receiver Greg Ward was a quarterback in college at Houston and could have taken emergency snaps.

McCown completed 18 of 24 passes for 174 yards and ran five times for 23 yards against the Seahawks, but he also was sacked six times. He hadn’t taken the field since Oct. 13, and he was running a game plan set up for Wentz, who is more than 13 years younger.

“I’m going to head back over to Lincoln Financial (Field) and see if I can find my hamstring somewhere. … It’s still over there, I think, or halfway down my leg at this point,” McCown said.

McCown said Sunday he hadn’t made any decisions about his future.

Bills hire new coach for defensive line

The Buffalo Bills hired former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Eric Washington to become their defensive line coach.

Washington has 12 years of NFL coaching experience. His future with the Panthers was uncertain under newly hired coach Matt Rhule.

Washington succeeds Bill Teerlinck, who left Buffalo this week to become Virginia Tech’s defensive line coach.

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