The big hurt

At the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, the hurt ran deep for our NFL IR panel, none of whom had played since Week 1. Jack Thompson

A 16-GAME SCHEDULE IS GRUELING, but so is a long stay on the IR. That's one of many things we found out when we recently gathered four guys mending from season-ending injuries: Rams third-year wideout Donnie Avery (knee), Texans rookie running back Ben Tate (ankle and fibula), longtime Eagles center Jamaal Jackson (triceps) and Patriots veteran corner Leigh Bodden (shoulder).

Meeting just a few days after second-year Broncos receiver and IR mainstay Kenny McKinley is thought to have taken his own life, our panel had heavy hearts and plenty on their minds.