The NFL notebook …
CHARLOTTE — Carolina Panthers cornerback Darius Butler was back at practice Wednesday after missing last week’s game to be with his 3-month-old daughter Milan, who underwent successful open heart surgery.
The baby was found to have heart complications last week after a routine checkup and was quickly admitted to the emergency room. Butler immediately left the team and returned home to Hollywood, Fla., upon hearing the news.
She had surgery the following day.
Butler says “it was the scariest few days of my life.”
He says his daughter will remain in the intensive care unit at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for at least two more weeks, but is expected to make a full recovery. Butler said he planned to return home Wednesday night to be with his family.
RYAN GETS REST
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith likes to call quarterback Matt Ryan “one tough Irishman.”
Ryan sidesteps the praise, saying he’s “just another football player.”
But the quarterback is still playing at high level despite absorbing more hits through seven games this year than he did in each September and October of his first three seasons.
Thankfully, he and the Falcons are coming off a bye week and the season’s first winning streak.
“Quarterbacks get a lot of notoriety,” Ryan said Wednesday. “People’s eyes are always on you, and they kind of see those things a little more so than other positions, but that’s par for the course in our locker room. We’ve got a lot of guys who, week in and week out, grind through a lot of different things and show up on the field. So I’m just trying to do like everybody else.”
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for October.
In five games last month, Allen had eight sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 24 tackles, according to statistics compiled by the team. Allen is the first Vikings player to receive the honor since free safety Darren Sharper in November 2005. He also won the award in October 2007 while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
He had 121/2 sacks through eight games.
• ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton ruled out a tax increase as a way to help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, blowing a $350 million hole in the team’s plan to build a $1.1 billion home in the suburbs north of the Twin Cities.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills starting defensive tackle Kyle Williams will have a better idea next week on the status of his injured left foot, and when — or if — he’ll be able to return to play this season.