Archive: September 2006

Long-Term Outlook for Kearse Promising After Surgery

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse underwent knee surgery Thursday to have the injuries that ended his season repaired. Surgeon John Uribe repaired cartilage damage and placed Kearse's left leg in a cast because of a broken tibia. Uribe determined that the ligament damage in Kearse's knee did not...

By Mark Maske | September 29, 2006; 8:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

League Does Not Seem to Believe that Owens Violated Drug Policy

IRVING, Tex.--NFL officials don't seem to believe at this point that any violations of the league's drug policy have occurred in the case of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens. The policy prohibits the abuse of prescription medication, but the league's view at this point appears to be that...

By Mark Maske | September 29, 2006; 8:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles Shorthanded, Especially in Secondary, on Practice Field Today

Safety Brian Dawkins missed the Philadelphia Eagles' practice today because of a concussion, adding to their injury woes in the secondary. The Eagles also were without two cornerbacks, Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood. Hood has been playing with a heel injury in place of Sheppard, who has a sprained...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 11:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owners to Consider More Overseas Games

The NFL is considering a proposal to play two games overseas annually. The team owners are to consider the proposal at a meeting scheduled for next month in New Orleans. League officials considered a proposal to play a game in London this season, but scrapped the idea. Last season,...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 10:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Wayne Rejoins Colts

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne rejoined the Indianapolis Colts, as expected, today. He's scheduled to play Sunday against the New York Jets. Wayne left the team last Sunday after learning that his older brother Rashad had been killed in an auto accident....

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 10:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Patriots Perhaps Looking for Veteran Backup QB

The New England Patriots seem intent upon adding a veteran quarterback behind Tom Brady. They worked out Vinny Testaverde this week after auditioning Tommy Maddox and Todd Bouman previously. After Doug Flutie's offseason retirement, the Patriots were left with youngster Matt Cassel backing up Brady....

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 10:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

T. Green Says He'll Miss At Least Two More Games

Injured Chiefs quarterback Trent Green spoke to reporters today in Kansas City and said he will miss at least two more games. Green suffered a concussion during the Chiefs' season-opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was taken from the field on a stretcher and hasn't played since. Green...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 10:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Case Now Classified as Accidental Overdose

IRVING, Tex.--The Dallas police department announced today that it was classifying Tuesday's incident involving Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens as an accidental overdose instead of an attempted suicide. David Kunkle, the police chief, made the announcement at a late-afternoon news conference. He said he supported the initial report filed...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 7:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Decision About Owens's Playing Status Not Likely Until Saturday, Parcells Says

IRVING, Tex.--Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells said today it's possible that wide receiver Terrell Owens will play Sunday at Tennessee. Parcells said that Owens participated fully in today's practice but a decision about his playing status probably wouldn't be made until Saturday....

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 4 Picks

Local Teams Jaguars at Redskins At least for now, it's still possible to view the Redskins as a good team that simply started out playing badly for two games. Pick: Redskins Chargers at Ravens The Chargers have to fly cross-country at the end of a tumultuous week in which...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Practicing

IRVING, Tex.--Wide receiver Terrell Owens was on the practice field with the Dallas Cowboys here this afternoon, a day after denying an account in a Dallas police report that he tried to commit suicide Tuesday by overdosing on prescription pain medication. Owens caught passes from quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Buccaneers, League Discussing Wallace Hit on Simms

Tampa Bay Buccaneers officials are talking to members of the league office about the hit they believe caused quarterback Chris Simms's injury during last Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers. Buccaneers officials believe that Simms most likely was hurt on a fourth-quarter hit by Panthers defensive end Al Wallace....

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Next Question: Will Owens Practice Today?

IRVING, Tex.--The next issue in the Terrell Owens saga will be whether the wide receiver is able to participate in the Dallas Cowboys' practice today. Owens said Wednesday he thinks he can practice today and play Sunday at Tennessee. That vow came as he denied an account in a...

By Mark Maske | September 28, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chargers' Kiel Won't Play This Weekend Following Arrest

Safety Terrence Kiel is not accompanying the San Diego Chargers to Baltimore for their game Sunday against the Ravens following his arrest this week on felony drug charges. The Chargers plan to pay Kiel but have told him to stay home. Kiel was arrested Tuesday on two counts of...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 11:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Wayne Scheduled to Rejoin Colts Thursday

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne is scheduled to rejoin the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday and might play this weekend. Wayne left the team Sunday after learning that his older brother Rashad had been killed in an auto accident in Louisiana....

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 10:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Vikings Sign Henson to Practice Squad

The Minnesota Vikings signed quarterback Drew Henson, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys before the season, to their practice squad. Henson joins Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger as the Vikings' healthy quarterbacks. Rookie Tarvaris Jackson is sidelined after undergoing knee surgery....

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 10:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks Not Relenting Even Though Alexander Wants to Play

The Seattle Seahawks plan to keep tailback Shaun Alexander sidelined for Sunday night's game at Chicago even after public comments by Alexander that his ailing foot might have healed sufficiently for him to play. Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren announced Monday that Alexander, the reigning league most valuable player, would...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 10:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Thurman's Suspension Extended

The NFL today extended the suspension of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman for the remainder of the season. Thurman, already serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy, was arrested early Monday on a drunk-driving charge. Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis sharply criticized Thurman and...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 10:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Says He's Not Depressed and Didn't Attempt Suicide

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens denied an account in a police report that he tried to commit suicide Tuesday by overdosing on pain medication. "There was no suicide attempt," Owens said at an afternoon news conference at the Cowboys' training facility. Owens rejoined the Cowboys after being released...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 4:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Parcells Says He Doesn't Have Owens Details

Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells said at an afternoon news conference that he didn't know the details of the Terrell Owens incident. "I'm really not sure I know all of it right now, and that's the truth," Parcells said. "I saw some reports and stuff this morning just right...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 3:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Released from Hospital, Publicist Denies He Attempted Suicide

Terrell Owens's publicist denies that the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver attempted to commit suicide Tuesday. The publicist, Kim Etheredge, told Dallas-area newspapers that Owens had a negative reaction to painkilling medication and supplements that he took. A police report obtained by several news organizations said that Owens attempted to...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 1:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Reportedly Attempted Suicide

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide Tuesday night, according to a report by a Dallas television station. WFAA-TV reported that a Dallas police report it had obtained said that Owens was depressed and took prescription pain pills. Earlier reports by another Dallas TV station and newspapers had...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 9:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Reportedly Hospitalized

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens was hospitalized Tuesday night after suffering an allergic reaction to pain medication he was taking, according to reports by a Dallas-area television station and newspapers. Owens reportedly was taken by a fire rescue squad to the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center...

By Mark Maske | September 27, 2006; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cardinals to Play at University of Phoenix Stadium

The Arizona Cardinals' new home in Glendale, Ariz., will be called the University of Phoenix Stadium. The name was unveiled today as part of a 20-year, $154.5 million naming-rights deal....

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 7:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

League, Union Officials Seem to Believe that Buccaneers Acted Properly

League and NFL Players Association officials seem to believe that, based on what they've heard at this point, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed proper safety and medical procedures Sunday when dealing with quarterback Chris Simms's injury. Simms underwent emergency surgery to have his spleen removed following the Buccaneers' loss...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 7:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Green Announces Warner, Not Leinart, Is His Starter This Week

Arizona Cardinals Coach Dennis Green announced today that he's sticking with Kurt Warner as the team's starting quarterback. Warner has fumbled eight times in three games this season. He threw three interceptions and lost a costly fumble in the closing minutes of last weekend's two-point loss at home to...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 4:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 4 Rankings

No, the Saints aren't the best team in the NFL. But they are greatly improved. They're exciting and, for this week at least, they deserve the top spot in the rankings after Monday night's emotional and decisive triumph in the reopening of the Superdome. The Colts and Bengals gave...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (14)

Numbers

There are seven unbeaten teams and seven winless teams three weeks into the season. Through three weeks, road teams have a record of 25-21, including 10-4 this past weekend....

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 1:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Vikings Rookie QB Has Knee Surgery

Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is to be sidelined about a month after suffering a knee injury in practice last week and undergoing surgery to repair meniscus damage. The Vikings are left with two healthy quarterbacks, Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger. They were making plans to possibly add...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 1:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Smoot May Have Been Benched as Disciplinary Matter

Cornerback Fred Smoot may have been benched for the Minnesota Vikings' opening defensive series of Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears as a disciplinary measure. Coach Brad Childress did not give a reason for Smoot's absence from the Vikings' lineup at the outset of the game, saying during his...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Amid Celebration of Superdome Reopening, Still No Promises About Saints' Future in New Orleans

The New Orleans Saints have Reggie Bush. They're 3-0. They reopened the Superdome in grand style Monday night with a lopsided victory over the Atlanta Falcons, and they've sold out their entire home schedule. Still, their long-term future remains unclear. NFL officials continue to take a wait-and-see approach about...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (5)

Chargers Extend Kicker's Contract

The San Diego Chargers signed kicker Nate Kaeding to a five-year, $12.2 million contract extension that includes about $3.5 million in guaranteed money. The third-year kicker connected on 21 of 24 field goal attempts last season and is 6 for 6 this season....

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Some Superdome Thoughts

It was impossible to watch the Superdome's reopening Monday night without having Hurricane Katrina-related scenes on your mind. I had two personal experiences pop into my head particularly vividly. The first was from early last September. I had gone to Oakland to cover the Saints' preseason game there right...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Titans Sticking With K. Collins... For Now

The Tennessee Titans are winless and are headed nowhere, but Coach Jeff Fisher indicated Monday that he's sticking with Kerry Collins as his starting quarterback. There had been speculation that Fisher might switch to rookie Vince Young this week, but Young likely will continue his apprenticeship with small doses...

By Mark Maske | September 26, 2006; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cardinals Reportedly Switching to Leinart

The Arizona Cardinals plan to switch to rookie Matt Leinart as their starting quarterback this week, ESPN reported tonight. Kurt Warner threw three interceptions in Sunday's two-point loss at home to the St. Louis Rams. He also lost a fumbled snap at the Rams 18-yard line with less than...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 9:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morris Takes Over at RB for Seahawks as Curse of Super Bowl Loser Possibly Lives

Maurice Morris takes over as the Seattle Seahawks' starting tailback for Sunday night's game at Chicago, with reigning league most valuable player Shaun Alexander sidelined for at least a couple weeks because of a broken bone in his foot. A bone scan taken today showed a small crack in...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 9:17 PM ET | Comments (3)

M. Lewis Critical of Arrested Linebacker

Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis was highly critical today of his linebacker, Odell Thurman, who was arrested early this morning on a drunk driving charge while serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. "I am not pleased," Lewis said, according to the Associated...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 9:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Broken Bone in Foot Sidelines S. Alexander

Seattle Seahawks tailback Shaun Alexander will be sidelined for a few weeks because of a broken bone in his left foot, Coach Mike Holmgren announced today. The reigning league most valuable player missed practice time last week because of soreness in his foot. Alexander played Sunday against the New...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 6:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Colts WR Wayne With Family In Louisiana Following Death of Brother

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne left the Indianapolis Colts after Sunday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars to return to his home state of Louisiana following the death of his older brother, Rashad, in an auto accident. Rashad Wayne was killed Sunday when the delivery truck he was driving crashed into...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 4:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

T. Green Out At Least Another Week

Injured quarterback Trent Green might visit his Kansas City Chiefs teammates this week but has been ruled out of playing in Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. He suffered a concussion during the Chiefs' season-opening game....

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Niners Rookie TE Davis Has Broken Right Leg

Rookie tight end Vernon Davis suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg during the San Francisco 49ers' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Davis is expected to be sidelined about a month. The University of Maryland product hurt himself while chasing Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson on...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 3:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bengals LB Thurman Arrested

Suspended Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman was arrested on a drunk driving charge early today. Thurman's blood alcohol level reportedly was measured at 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Thurman is serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 2:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Shockey's Criticism of Coughlin Sounds Familiar

New York Giants players simply don't like their coach, Tom Coughlin. That was evident again Sunday when tight end Jeremy Shockey criticized Coughlin following the Giants' loss at Seattle. Shockey said the Giants got "outplayed and outcoached," then instructed reporters to "write that down." Shockey's comments echoed the criticism...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (3)

Gruden Says Simms's Career Is Not in Jeopardy

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden visited quarterback Chris Simms at a Tampa-area hospital this morning. Gruden said later at a news conference that Simms's prognosis is promising after the quarterback underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured spleen following Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers. Gruden said that Simms's...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 2:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Champs Not Panicking About 1-2 Beginning

PITTSBURGH--The reigning Super Bowl champions have a record of 1-2 after Sunday's loss here to the Cincinnati Bengals. They're two games behind the unbeaten Bengals and Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. But the Pittsburgh Steelers weren't panicking in the aftermath of the 28-20 defeat to the Bengals. Even...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

C. Johnson Keeps Lip Zipped as Bengals Show Offensive Versatility

PITTSBURGH--Perhaps it's setting the bar low when an NFL player earns praise from his teammates--and from himself--simply for acting like an adult rather than a spoiled child. But the Cincinnati Bengals will take their progress where they can get it when it comes to wide receiver Chad Johnson. Bengals...

By Mark Maske | September 25, 2006; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (3)

Hargrove Meets With Rams Officials

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove reportedly met with St. Louis Rams officials late Friday night and Saturday after missing two days of practices and team meetings in what was termed an unexcused absence. Hargrove didn't play today but was scheduled to rejoin his teammates on Monday....

By Mark Maske | September 24, 2006; 1:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Exhibition Game in China Set

The NFL has completed plans to have the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots face one another in an exhibition game next year in China as a precursor to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a source said. The league planned to announce the scheduling of the game later today....

By Mark Maske | September 24, 2006; 1:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Groin Injury Sidelines Vinatieri

Kicker Adam Vinatieri missed the first game of his 11-year NFL career because of a groin injury. The Indianapolis Colts used Martin Gramatica to replace Vinatieri....

By Mark Maske | September 24, 2006; 12:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Branch Added to Seahawks' Roster

The Seattle Seahawks added wide receiver Deion Branch to their 53-man roster Saturday. The Seahawks had gotten a two-week roster exemption after obtaining Branch in a trade with the New England Patriots, and they'd opted against adding him to the roster for their first game after the trade....

By Mark Maske | September 24, 2006; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hargrove Still Absent From Rams, Won't Play Sunday

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove was absent from the St. Louis Rams for a second straight day, and Coach Scott Linehan told reporters that Hargrove will be fined and won't play on Sunday at Arizona. Linehan indicated he'd spoken to Hargrove around 4 p.m. Thursday and told Hargrove to meet...

By Mark Maske | September 22, 2006; 2:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

S. Smith Practices Again, Appears Ready to Play for Panthers

It appears that wide receiver Steve Smith is prepared to return to the Carolina Panthers' lineup on Sunday at Tampa. He practiced for a second day in a row today, although Coach John Fox indicated that Smith's availability will be a game-time decision. Smith has missed the Panthers' first...

By Mark Maske | September 22, 2006; 1:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Marinelli, Martz In Test of Wills With M. Williams

The Detroit Lions' first-year coach, Rod Marinelli, and his offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, are having a test of wills with second-year wide receiver Mike Williams, a first-round draft selection last year. Williams has been inactive for each of the Lions' first two games this season after being fined for...

By Mark Maske | September 22, 2006; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (3)

Niners Finish Another Extension

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their second contract extension in two days, signing offensive tackle and guard Adam Snyder to a four-year deal running through the 2011 season. The contract is worth $10.5 million, including a $4 million signing bonus. The deal came a day after the team...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 11:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dayne Likely to Start at RB For Texans Against Redskins

Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak told reporters today that he's leaning toward starting Ron Dayne at tailback Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Rookie Wali Lundy started the Texans' first two games but totaled only 57 rushing yards. Lundy inherited the starting job when the club placed Domanick Davis on...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bucs Get Presidential Visit

President Bush attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice today. He spent about a half-hour at the team's training facility and gave a fundraising speech at nearby Raymond James Stadium....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Calf Injury Hindering Jets' Coles

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles sat out full team drills during the New York Jets' practice for a second day in a row. Coles is suffering from a calf injury and is listed as questionable on the team's official injury report. Jets Coach Eric Mangini--like his mentor, New England Patriots...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hargrove Absent From Rams

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove missed the St. Louis Rams' practice and team meetings today. Hargrove's absence was termed unexcused but a club security official told the Associated Press that the player was home tending to a personal matter....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Stiff Back Causes Burress to Miss Practice

Wide receiver Plaxico Burress sat out the New York Giants' practice today because he had back stiffness. But the Giants expect him to practice Friday and play Sunday in Seattle....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deliberations Between League, Union On Drug-Testing Program Are Ongoing

Conversations between the league and the NFL Players Association about possible changes to the sport's steroid-testing program will continue. A league spokesman said that no agreements were reached during today's meeting between Commissioner Roger Goodell and Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the union. But the dialogue between the...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

New Injury For Colts

The Indianapolis Colts already had a lengthy list of injuries this week, and they incurred a new one today when offensive tackle Ryan Diem hurt his hamstring during practice. The severity of Diem's injury wasn't immediately clear....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gruden, K. Johnson Getting Together

When the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers play on Sunday in Tampa, it will be the first game involving Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden and Panthers wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson since Gruden de-activated Johnson for the final six games of the 2003 season for insubordination. The two coexisted peacefully...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 4:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Pace Does Some Practicing

Left tackle Orlando Pace participated in portions of the St. Louis Rams' practice today. Pace suffered a concussion during last weekend's loss at San Francisco and was scheduled to undergo follow-up tests later today. The Rams upgraded his playing status for this weekend from doubtful to questionable on their...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Panthers Seem Likely to Have S. Smith on Sunday

Wide receiver Steve Smith likely will return to the Carolina Panthers' lineup on Sunday at Tampa. Smith participated in the Panthers' practice today. He hadn't practiced the previous two weeks and missed the Panthers' first two games of the season because of an injured hamstring muscle. The Panthers and...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 4:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

No Major Announcements From Goodell-Upshaw Meeting

Officials said there were no major developments to announce following today's meeting between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Players Association chief Gene Upshaw. Goodell and Upshaw met to discuss a variety of issues, including possible changes to the league's steroid-testing program. Goodell said in recent weeks that he had...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (2)

Week 3 Picks

Local Teams Redskins at Texans There's still a chance that the Redskins are a good team temporarily playing badly. The Texans are a bad team. Pick: Redskins Ravens at Browns The Ravens are for real. Pick: Ravens Lock of the Week Titans at Dolphins Jeff Fisher says that Billy...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Colts Beat Up

The Indianapolis Colts are beat up this week as they prepare to host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Colts listed 21 players as questionable Wednesday on their official injury report. Defensive end Dwight Freeney has a strained gluteus muscle and didn't practice Wednesday. The Colts brought in Martin...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Alexander Has Sore Foot But Is Likely to Play Against Giants

Tailback Shaun Alexander sat out the Seattle Seahawks' practice Wednesday because of a sore foot, but the reigning league most valuable player is likely to be in the lineup Sunday against the New York Giants at Qwest Field....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Polamalu Hurting, and It Shows

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is playing with an ailing shoulder. The injury affected Polamalu during Monday night's loss at Jacksonville. He didn't play with his usual abandon, and the Steelers changed their defensive play-calling a bit to try to protect Polamalu. It's a situation that's worth monitoring. The...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Giants Return to Scene of Noise Bowl

The New York Giants play Sunday in Seattle, the site of the memorable game last season when they lost in overtime after committing 11 false-start penalties amid the din of the Qwest Field crowd. The Giants also watched their kicker, Jay Feely, miss three potential game-winning field goals. Feely's...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (4)

Patriots, Raiders Look at Maddox

The New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders auditioned former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox in recent days. Maddox worked out for the Patriots on Tuesday and for the Raiders on Wednesday, but wasn't immediately signed by either team. The Raiders' quarterback situation is particularly dire, with Aaron Brooks sidelined...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (2)

Lewis Making Sure Bengals Players Remember Steelers' Taunts

The Cincinnati Bengals play in Pittsburgh on Sunday, the first meeting between the AFC North rivals since the Steelers won a first-round playoff game in Cincinnati last season and left Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer with a severe knee injury. These teams appear to be among the best in football,...

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (5)

Niners Extend Contract of CB Spencer

The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback Shawntae Spencer to a five-year contract extension worth about $17.5 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. The deal runs through the 2012 season. His contract previously was to expire following the 2007 season....

By Mark Maske | September 21, 2006; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Titans Too Busy Blaming Others For QB Woes To Acknowledge Their Mistakes

Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher assailed traded quarterback Billy Volek today, saying during his news conference that Volek "threw this organization under the bus, along with a number of his teammates." Fisher was angry that Volek, after being traded Tuesday to the San Diego Chargers, told reporters he couldn't...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 10:24 PM ET | Comments (1)

Crennel Tells Winslow To Stop Airing Complaints Publicly

Cleveland Browns Coach Romeo Crennel met with tight end Kellen Winslow after Winslow criticized the club's offensive play-calling Monday. Crennel told reporters today that he's in charge and if Winslow has any problems, he should seek to have them addressed internally. Winslow declined to speak to reporters today. On...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 10:07 PM ET | Comments (3)

Parcells Says It's Possible Owens Won't Miss Any Games

Coach Bill Parcells told reporters today he's not ruling out the possibility that wide receiver Terrell Owens will be in the Dallas Cowboys' lineup the next time they play a game. Owens underwent surgery Monday for a broken finger he suffered during Sunday night's triumph over the Washington Redskins....

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 9:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Westbrook Sits Out Eagles' Practice

Philadelphia Eagles tailback Brian Westbrook sat out practice today because of a sore knee. Westbrook missed two days of practices last week because of a swollen knee but played last weekend against the New York Giants. He had 68 rushing yards and 56 receiving yards but had a key...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 2:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

S. Smith Doesn't Practice But Inches Closer To Return

Wide receiver Steve Smith didn't participate in the Carolina Panthers' practice today but did some agility drills and some light running on the side. Coach John Fox told reporters that Smith's status is day to day and the Panthers listed him as questionable on their official injury report for...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 2:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Falcons Sign 46-Year-Old Kicker Andersen

The Atlanta Falcons signed 46-year-old kicker Morten Andersen on Tuesday. Andersen, the second-leading scorer in NFL history, previously kicked for the Falcons between 1995 and 2000. He also kicked for the Falcons' next opponent, the New Orleans Saints, between 1982 and '94. He last kicked in the league with...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 9:36 AM ET | Comments (6)

Saints Sell Out Entire Season At Superdome

The New Orleans Saints have sold out the entire season at the Superdome, a first in franchise history. Saints owner Tom Benson made the announcement Tuesday as the team and city prepare to reopen the Superdome with a game Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons. Benson called on local...

By Mark Maske | September 20, 2006; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cowboys Sign LB James to Contract Extension

The Dallas Cowboys signed inside linebacker Bradie James today to a five-year, $20 million contract extension that includes an $8 million signing bonus. The deal was negotiated by Cowboys executive Stephen Jones and James's agent, Jimmy Sexton, and keeps James, the team's leading tackler last season, from being an...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 9:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Dolphins Lose Guard Anderson

Miami Dolphins guard Bennie Anderson underwent season-ending surgery today for a torn triceps tendon. Kendyl Jacox probably will become the Dolphins' new starter at right guard. Anderson will become the third Dolphins' right guard placed on the injured reserve list, following Seth McKinney and Joe Toledo....

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 9:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Browns Place CB McCutcheon on IR

The Cleveland Browns placed cornerback Daylon McCutcheon on the injured reserve list today because of a knee injury, ending his season....

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 8:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Roethlisberger Was Sick, Rusty Monday Night

Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher said today that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a temperature of 100.4 degrees Monday, not the 104 degrees that was reported initially. According to Cowher, Roethlisberger was suffering from a cold and his fever and other symptoms were not related to the emergency appendectomy that...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 8:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 3 Rankings

The Colts stay planted at the top. The Steelers drop only to fifth after their loss Monday night in Jacksonville. It was Ben Roethlisberger's season debut, after all. The Ravens look like they're for real and jump into the top 10. The winless Panthers get a little bit of...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (14)

Titans, Chargers Agree to Volek Trade

The Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers have agreed to a trade that sends quarterback Billy Volek to San Diego for a draft pick. Volek began training camp as the Titans' starter but was dropped to third-string, behind Kerry Collins and rookie Vince Young, after Tennessee signed Collins shortly...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 1:10 PM ET | Comments (4)

Goodell, Upshaw To Meet Thursday

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Players Association chief Gene Upshaw are scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including possible changes to the league's steroid-testing program. Goodell has said it's possible that the program will be strengthened, perhaps by testing players more frequently or adding...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

Parcells Overheats

How crazy are NFL coaches in general, and the Dallas Cowboys' Bill Parcells in particular? Parcells became ill on the sideline during Sunday night's win over the Washington Redskins because he was wearing a lined rain suit on a steamy evening. Why didn't Parcells shed some layers of clothing...

By Mark Maske | September 19, 2006; 12:02 AM ET | Comments (5)

Colts Waiting for MRI Results for Freeney, Vinatieri, Stokley

The Indianapolis Colts today were awaiting the results of MRI exams performed on defensive end Dwight Freeney, kicker Adam Vinatieri and wide receiver Brandon Stokley. Freeney hurt a leg muscle Sunday. Vinatieri suffered a groin injury and Stokley reinjured a previously sprained ankle....

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Seahawks Ready to Add Branch to Lineup, Must Replace Injured Womack at Guard

The Seattle Seahawks plan to add wide receiver Deion Branch to their roster this week and play him this weekend against the New York Giants. The Seahawks got a two-week roster exemption for Branch after obtaining him in a trade with the New England Patriots last week and didn't...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Titans Closer to Trading Volek As Collins Remains Starter

The Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers continued discussing a trade today that would send Titans quarterback Billy Volek to San Diego, an NFL source said. The Chargers are looking for an experienced backup for starter Philip Rivers. That job currently belongs to rookie Charlie Whitehurst. The Chargers are...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Walter Takes Over as Raiders' QB After Injury to Brooks

The Oakland Raiders are to be without starting quarterback Aaron Brooks for two to four weeks because of a strained pectoral muscle. Andrew Walter takes over as the starter. Marques Tuiasosopo is the backup and it's possible the club could re-sign Jeff George after signing and then releasing him...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Torn ACL Ends E. James's Season

Erasmus James, the Minnesota Vikings' second-year defensive end, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Sunday's victory over the Carolina Panthers. The injury ends the season for the former first-round draft pick....

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Texans Must Reshuffle O-Line for Redskins Game

The Houston Texans' offensive line has allowed quarterback David Carr to be sacked nine times in two games, and now it will be shorthanded for this weekend's meeting with the Washington Redskins. Rookie left tackle Charles Spencer had his season ended by a broken leg suffered during Sunday's lopsided...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Bengals Place Pollack on IR

The Cincinnati Bengals placed linebacker David Pollack on the injured reserve list today, ending his season, because of the neck injury he suffered during Sunday's triumph over the Cleveland Browns. Pollack was taken off the field on a stretcher with his head immobilized after suffering the injury. But Coach...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles Lose Kearse But Have DE Depth to Compensate

The Philadelphia Eagles, as they'd feared, lost defensive end Jevon Kearse for the rest of the season because of the injury to his left knee he suffered during Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. Kearse, according to the Eagles, suffered severe sprains of the medial collateral, lateral collateral...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

T.O. Has Surgery For Broken Finger

Wide receiver Terrell Owens underwent surgery this evening for the broken ring finger on his right hand that he suffered during the Dallas Cowboys' triumph Sunday night over the Washington Redskins. He had a metal plate and three screws inserted during the procedure. Owens is to be sidelined two...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Blocking Concerns for Giants

PHILADELPHIA--The New York Giants got an uplifting comeback win Sunday in Philadelphia, but they were left with some issues on their offensive line to work out. Quarterback Eli Manning was sacked eight times, and the tailback Tiki Barber found little running room. Barber was limited to 17 rushing yards...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Even In Defeat, Eagles Show Something

PHILADELPHIA--The Philadelphia Eagles suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to the New York Giants here Sunday, yes. But they also demonstrated that they are not to be overlooked when talking about the playoff contenders in the NFC East. For all the bad things that happened while the Eagles were squandering a...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles Awaiting Results of MRI Exam On Kearse's Knee

PHILADELPHIA--The Philadelphia Eagles probably will be without defensive end Jevon Kearse for a while, perhaps the remainder of the season. Kearse left Lincoln Financial Field on crutches after injuring his left knee during the Eagles' overtime loss to the New York Giants. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Signs of Greatness By E. Manning

PHILADELPHIA--Two games into his third pro season, Eli Manning has arrived as an honest-to-goodness NFL star. The youngest member of quarterbacking's first family has been closely scrutinized by NFL observers, of course, since the buildup to the draft when his refusal to play for the San Diego Chargers helped...

By Mark Maske | September 18, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Panthers Without S. Smith

The Carolina Panthers played a second straight game without wide receiver Steve Smith. He remained sidelined by a sore hamstring muscle after failing to practice for a second week in a row....

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks Don't Activate Branch

The Seattle Seahawks decided against activating newly acquired wide receiver Deion Branch. The Seahawks were granted a two-week roster exemption after obtaining Branch last Monday in a trade with the New England Patriots, and didn't add him to the roster this weekend. He should be ready to play after...

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 2:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sims, Dockett Fined for Week 1 Hits

Detroit Lions rookie linebacker Ernie Sims was fined $7,500 for a Week 1 hit on Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Sims drove his helmet into Hasselbeck after the quarterback slid to protect himself at the end of a run. Ray Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president of football operations,...

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 2:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Raiders Have Porter Inactive Again

The Oakland Raiders had wide receiver Jerry Porter on their inactive list for a second game in a row. Porter was accused of laughing on the sideline when quarterback Aaron Brooks was sacked during the Raiders' season-opening loss last Monday night, and denied the report by saying it couldn't...

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 2:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

No Abraham for Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are playing without defensive end John Abraham because of a groin injury....

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Spikes Out of Bills' Lineup

The Buffalo Bills are playing without linebacker Takeo Spikes because of a pulled hamstring muscle....

By Mark Maske | September 17, 2006; 2:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Westbrook Doesn't Practice But Is Expected to Play Sunday

Tailback Brian Westbrook missed the Philadelphia Eagles' practice today because of a swollen knee but is expected to play Sunday against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Westbrook also missed most of Thursday's practice....

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chargers, Chiefs In Running For Volek

The San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs apparently are the front-runners to trade for Tennessee Titans quarterback Billy Volek. The Chargers have a rookie, Charlie Whitehurst, backing up third-year pro Philip Rivers, who's in his first season as a starter. The Chiefs need quarterback help after starter Trent...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Bills Don't Know If Spikes Will Be Available

The Buffalo Bills are saying it will be a game-time decision whether they'll have linebacker Takeo Spikes in the lineup this weekend. Spikes didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a slight hamstring pull....

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Too-Familiar Refrain for Panthers: S. Smith Doesn't Practice

A second straight week has gone by without Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith practicing. Smith's ailing hamstring kept him out of the Panthers' practice again today, seemingly diminishing the chances even further that he'll play this weekend....

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Volek Trade Nearing?

Tennessee Titans quarterback Billy Volek hinted Thursday that he might be traded soon. Asked by reporters if there were any developments on the trade front, Volek said that there were but he planned to keep them confidential. The Titans' opponent Sunday, the San Diego Chargers, is among the teams...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (2)

Jaguars Defense Short-Handed on Practice Field

Three defensive starters for the Jacksonville Jaguars--tackle Marcus Stroud, end Paul Spicer and linebacker Mike Peterson--sat out Thursday's practice with nagging injuries. It was unclear if any were in any serious jeopardy of missing Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jaguars already will be without end Reggie...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Packers Might Rush K. Robinson Into Action

Wide receiver Koren Robinson signed with the Green Bay Packers just this week, but it's possible that he'll be in uniform for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. Robinson was to the be the Minnesota Vikings' No. 1 receiver this season but was released by the club in...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

RBs Nicked Up

Running backs already are getting nicked up early in the NFL season. Carnell (Cadillac) Williams sat out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice Thursday because of back spasms. Williams also was plagued by back problems during training camp and during last weekend's season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens, when he...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Strained Calf Muscle Sidelines Raiders' Gallery

As if the outlook wasn't bleak enough for the Oakland Raiders already, they've lost left tackle Robert Gallery for two to three weeks because of a strained calf muscle. Gallery got hurt during practice Wednesday. It's another setback for the player selected second overall in the 2004 NFL draft....

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jaguars CB Williams Facing Possible Discipline By League

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Williams is subject to being disciplined under the league's personal conduct policy after entering a no contest plea to a drunk-driving charge. Williams was sentenced to six months probation and 50 hours of community service. He was arrested 13 days ago and, according to the...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 9:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chiefs Accepting Roaf's Retirement Decision As Final

The Kansas City Chiefs finally are accepting the fact that left tackle Willie Roaf isn't coming back to play this season. Chiefs President Carl Peterson had a long talk with Roaf this week and plans to place him on the reserve-retired list. When Roaf abruptly retired before training camp,...

By Mark Maske | September 15, 2006; 9:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Prosecutors Want To Test Foley Blood Sample for Steroids

Prosecutors are seeking a blood sample from San Diego Chargers linebacker Steve Foley, who reportedly was shot three times in the leg by an off-duty police officer 11 days ago, to test it for the presence of steroids, according to an affidavit for a search warrant. According to prosecutors,...

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 6:56 PM ET | Comments (2)

S. Smith Remains On Shelf

Wide receiver Steve Smith's hamstring woes kept him out of the Carolina Panthers' practice again today, seemingly diminishing the chances that he will play this weekend. He sat out last weekend's season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons and hasn't practiced this week....

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 4:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

League Regards Vikings' Communications-System Failure As "Non-Issue"

The NFL is not investigating a failure of the Minnesota Vikings' communications system during their triumph Monday night over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, a league spokesman said today. The league considers the episode a technical mishap and a closed matter, the spokesman said. "It's a non-issue," said...

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 4:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 2 Picks

Local Teams Redskins at Cowboys (Sunday night) Gregg Williams's defense should find a way to disrupt Drew Bledsoe and force him into mistakes, and that's the key to beating the Cowboys. Both teams need this one, but the Cowboys might not solve their problems until they make a QB...

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Polamalu, Like Roethlisberger, Eases Concerns By Practicing

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't the only prominent Pittsburgh Steelers player who eased concerns about his playing status this week by practicing Wednesday. Safety Troy Polamalu, who hurt his shoulder during last Thursday night's season-opening triumph over the Miami Dolphins, participated in the practice and appears set to play Monday...

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cowher Thought Geathers's Hit on Green Not "Ill-Intended"

League officials aren't the only ones who thought the hit by the Cincinnati Bengals' Robert Geathers last Sunday that left Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green hospitalized for two days with a concussion was clean. A neutral observer, Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher, said earlier this week that he...

By Mark Maske | September 14, 2006; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Brady Says Branch Situation Was Distraction to Him

Quarterback Tom Brady said he allowed the uncertainty about wide receiver Deion Branch's status to affect him leading up to a mediocre performance in last Sunday's closer-than-expected win over the Buffalo Bills to open the season. "Last week I spent a lot of energy thinking about it," Brady said...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 9:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Falcons' Abraham Sits Out Practice With Groin Injury

Defensive end John Abraham sat out the Atlanta Falcons' practice today because of a groin injury and it's unclear if he'll play this weekend. He had two sacks against the Carolina Panthers last weekend in his Falcons debut....

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 8:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dolphins Keeping Rogers In Mind

The Miami Dolphins didn't sign Charles Rogers after the wide receiver worked out for them Tuesday--at least not immediately. "When we bring guys in [for workouts], we're evaluating not only for right now but also for the future and how we can help make our team better if on...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 8:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Texans, Packers Trade Reserve RBs

The Houston Texans, still looking for help at tailback after passing over Reggie Bush in the NFL draft, swapped backup runners with the Green Bay Packers today. The Texans sent Vernand Morency to the Packers for Samkon Gado....

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 8:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Fine Seems Likely for Lions Rookie LB Sims

Detroit Lions rookie linebacker Ernie Sims probably should expect to be fined for his hit on Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in Sims's first NFL game last Sunday. Ray Anderson, the league's senior vice president of football operations, said in a written statement released today that the play was...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 8:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bledsoe Still Cowboys' QB, At Least For Now

Coach Bill Parcells is resisting the temptation to make a quick quarterback switch after Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions in the Dallas Cowboys' opening loss at Jacksonville. The clamoring for backup Tony Romo has begun, as expected, among the team's fans. But Parcells says he's sticking with Bledsoe for...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 4:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

S. Smith Still Hurting

Wide receiver Steve Smith sat out the Carolina Panthers' practice today, still sidelined by the ailing hamstring that kept him out of last weekend's season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers will be without linebacker Dan Morgan this week because of the concussion he suffered in the Falcons...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 3:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Branch Needs One More Week to Get Ready to Play

Coach Mike Holmgren told a Seattle radio station that the Seahawks' newly acquired wide receiver, Deion Branch, probably won't play this weekend against the Arizona Cardinals. Holmgren told KIRO that Branch, obtained Monday in a trade with the New England Patriots and signed Tuesday to a new six-year, $39...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 3:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bills Place T. Vincent on IR

The Buffalo Bills placed safety Troy Vincent on the injured reserve list today, ending his season. Vincent aggravated a hamstring injury during last weekend's loss to the New England Patriots. Rookie Ko Simpson probably moves into the starting lineup to replace Vincent. Linebacker Takeo Spikes missed the Bills' practice...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 3:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Roaf in K.C. But Staying Retired

Retired Chiefs left tackle Willie Roaf is spending a few days in the Kansas City area and is scheduled to conduct a news conference Thursday. But Roaf apparently has no plans to return to the NFL. Chiefs officials have left open the possibility of Roaf returning to the team...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Panthers Take Look at Henson

Quarterback Drew Henson, cut by the Dallas Cowboys during training camp, worked out Tuesday for the Carolina Panthers but wasn't signed....

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Broncos Keeping Same RB Rotation

The Denver Broncos are staying with the same tailback rotation they used during last weekend's opening loss at St. Louis. Tatum Bell is to get the start, then split time with rookie Mike Bell....

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 12:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jags Moving DT Meier to End

The Jacksonville Jaguars are moving Rob Meier from defensive tackle to defensive end to replace Reggie Hayward, who was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a ruptured Achilles' tendon during a season-opening triumph over the Dallas Cowboys, in the starting lineup. Meier had been backing up starting...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Titans Sticking With K. Collins at QB

The Tennessee Titans are sticking with Kerry Collins as their starting quarterback this week. The Titans hurried Collins into the lineup, ahead of former starter Billy Volek and rookie Vince Young, after signing him shortly before the season. He struggled during last weekend's loss to the New York Jets...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

WR Moves: Lions Sign Hakim, Vikings Negotiating With Q. Morgan, Dolphins Look at C. Rogers

The Detroit Lions signed veteran wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim on Tuesday. Hakim spent three seasons with the Lions between 2002 and 2004. He also is reuniting with his former coach in St. Louis, first-year Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz. There could be more wide receiver moves about to happen...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Signs Pointing Toward Roethlisberger Return

Signs are pointing toward quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers' lineup Monday night in Jacksonville. The Steelers released rookie quarterback Omar Jacobs off their practice squad Tuesday, an indication that they probably believe Roethlisberger will be available this week along with the two other quarterbacks on the...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Porter-Shell Relationship No Laughing Matter

Wide receiver Jerry Porter's relationship with the Oakland Raiders continues to deteriorate. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Porter reacted to the seventh sack of Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks during Monday night's loss to the San Diego Chargers by laughing and pumping his fist on the sideline. Porter denied...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 9:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

T. Green Out of Hospital

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was released from a hospital Tuesday, two days after suffering a severe concussion during a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs plan to withhold Green from this weekend's game at Denver, and it likely will be several weeks before he plays. The...

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 9:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Branch Signs New Contract, Set to Practice Today

Wide receiver Deion Branch signed his six-year, $39 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday. The deal includes about $13 million in bonuses. The Seahawks traded a first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots on Monday for Branch, who had been holding out in a contract dispute....

By Mark Maske | September 13, 2006; 9:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 2 Rankings

Things get a little bit topsy-turvy after a crazy opening weekend. The Colts keep the top spot but the Steelers move up to second as they possibly prepare to welcome back Ben Roethlisberger. Three would-be NFC East heavyweights plummet. The Raiders and Packers perhaps should have a one-game playoff...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jags Place DE Hayward on IR

The Jacksonville Jaguars placed defensive end Reggie Hayward on the injured reserve list today after he suffered a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury Sunday. The Jaguars signed rookie defensive tackle Montavious Stanley off the St. Louis Rams' practice squad to fill their roster vacancy....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles To Be Without CB Sheppard

The Philadelphia Eagles likely will be without cornerback Lito Sheppard for at least a few weeks after he suffered a sprained ankle during Sunday's victory over the Houston Texans. Rod Hood moves into the starting lineup opposite Sheldon Brown....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Gardner To Chiefs

Wide receiver Rod Gardner, the former first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins most recently with the Green Bay Packers, agreed to a contract Monday with the Kansas City Chiefs....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

K. Robinson To Packers

Wide receiver Koren Robinson agreed to a contract with the Green Bay Packers on Monday. He was released by the Minnesota Vikings last month after being charged with drunk driving and felony fleeing from police during training camp....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rams Center Done For Season

St. Louis Rams center Andy McCollum is to miss the remainder of the season after suffering torn knee ligaments during Sunday's season-opening win over the Denver Broncos. The 13-year veteran had made 156 straight starts. Backup Larry Turner finished the game and could become the starter. It's also possible...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jurevicius Out 4-6 Weeks

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius is to be sidelined four to six weeks because of broken ribs....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks, Branch Completing New Contract

Wide receiver Deion Branch and his agent, Jason Chayut, are in Seattle today to complete a six-year, $39 million contract with the Seahawks. The deal includes about $13 million in bonus money. The Seahawks traded a first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots on Monday to obtain Branch....

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 1:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Branch Trade Leaves Patriots Lacking at WR

The New England Patriots' trade of Deion Branch to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday leaves quarterback Tom Brady with a far-from-imposing group of wide receivers at his disposal--Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel and Chad Jackson. Only Brown was with the team last season. Caldwell was signed as a...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Roethlisberger Lobbying Cowher to Allow Him to Play Monday Night

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't practice today but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did some throwing to receivers and is pressing Coach Bill Cowher to allow him to play in Monday night's game at Jacksonville. Roethlisberger sat out the Steelers' season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night in Pittsburgh after...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 1:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Childress Gives Rookie Coaches A Winning Record on Opening Weekend

The Minnesota Vikings' triumph over the Washington Redskins on Monday night at FedEx Field in Brad Childress's NFL head-coaching debut left rookie coaches league-wide with a 4-3 record on the opening weekend of games. Childress joined the Rams' Scott Linehan, the Jets' Eric Mangini and the Saints' Sean Payton...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Longwell Knew Hall's Kick Was Tough

When Minnesota Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell watched his Washington Redskins counterpart, John Hall, line up for a 48-yard field goal try to attempt to tie the game Monday night in the closing seconds, Longwell knew that Hall was facing no easy task. Longwell had drilled a 46-yard field goal...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Williamson Stumbles and Bumbles, Then Makes Play That Matters Most for Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings, after cutting would-be No. 1 receiver Koren Robinson in training camp, need second-year speedster Troy Williamson to be a major factor in their passing game this season. He had only 24 catches last season as a rookie after being taken with the seventh overall selection in...

By Mark Maske | September 12, 2006; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Win Was 100th Regular Season Triumph for Belichick

The New England Patriots' narrow victory Sunday over the Buffalo Bills was Bill Belichick's 100th regular season win as an NFL head coach. He's the 31st coach in league history to reach that milestone. He's 64-33 with the Patriots after going 36-44 with the Cleveland Browns....

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Paging the Bucs, Paging the Bucs

Someone please alert the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The season started. The Buccaneers were a playoff team last season but Sunday's lopsided defeat at home to the Baltimore Ravens was a shockingly inept performance. The Ravens are improved, yes, with Steve McNair at quarterback. But not that improved....

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 4:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bush Outshines Williams In Openers

Defensive end Mario Williams, the top overall selection in the NFL draft in April, made little impact for the Houston Texans in their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, with no sacks and three tackles. Tailback Reggie Bush, whom the Texans passed over in favor of Williams, had...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 3:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seats Already Getting Hot for Bledsoe, Plummer

The clamoring for the backup quarterback could begin early in the season in Dallas and Denver. The Cowboys' Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions in Sunday's loss at Jacksonville, negating a good performance by wide receiver Terrell Owens in his debut for his new team. Coach Bill Parcells spent the...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 3:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks Seem to Miss Hutchinson

The offseason blunder by the Seattle Seahawks' front office of allowing left guard Steve Hutchinson to depart for the Minnesota Vikings via free agency--the Seahawks tried to save a little money and salary cap space by using their transition-player tag on him instead of their franchise tag--looked glaring Sunday....

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Did the Titans Start K. Collins Too Soon?

Was it really a good decision for the Tennessee Titans to make Kerry Collins their starting quarterback so soon after signing him? Collins threw two interceptions in a 17-for-38 passing performance Sunday in a loss to the New York Jets. Billy Volek was the Tennessee starter for most of...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Panthers Get Another Season Off to a Bad Start

It's not panic time for the Carolina Panthers, who began a season in which they have Super Bowl hopes with a dud of a performance by losing at home Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers, after all, lost their opener to the New Orleans Saints at home last...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles Made Right WR Move

The Philadelphia Eagles made their followers anxious when they stood by idly, failing to address their need for a No. 1 receiver, while Javon Walker, Eric Moulds and Ashley Lelie were traded to other teams. But the Eagles got a better deal by waiting, obtaining former first-round draft selection...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 2:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

T. Green's Injury, Offensive Line Woes Leave Chiefs Searching for Answers

The only quarterback to throw every one of his team's passes last season was the Kansas City Chiefs' Trent Green. This season, Green didn't even make it through the Chiefs' opening game, being knocked out of Sunday's contest in Kansas City by a hit by the Cincinnati Bengals' Robert...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Branch Traded to Seahawks

The New England Patriots today traded wide receiver Deion Branch to the Seattle Seahawks for a first-round draft pick. Branch had been holding out and the NFL Players Association had filed a grievance and a special master case on his behalf, accusing the Patriots of acting improperly by failing...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 1:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Favre Came Back for This?

Quarterback Brett Favre eschewed retirement and returned to the Green Bay Packers this season in part because he simply loves to play, and in part because he thought he perhaps could go out on a better note than the miserable season he and the Packers endured last year. Favre...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Break-Even Day for Rookie Coaches

Rookie head coaches went 3-3 in Sunday's season-opening play. The Saints' Sean Payton, the Jets' Eric Mangini and the Rams' Scott Linehan were victorious. The Texans' Gary Kubiak, the Packers' Mike McCarthy and Lions' Rod Marinelli lost. One more rookie coach, the Vikings' Brad Childress, has his debut tonight....

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 1:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Defending NFC East Champs Face Quick Crisis

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--It's early-season crisis time for the New York Giants. They're 0-1 after Sunday night's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and are scheduled to play at Philadelphia next Sunday in an early NFC East confrontation. "It was one game," veteran defensive end Michael Strahan said late Sunday night....

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 7:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Some Reasons To Fret for Colts

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--The Indianapolis Colts got the win in their season opener Sunday night at Giants Stadium against the New York Giants. But there were a couple ominous signs for them: They couldn't run the ball effectively on offense, and they couldn't stop the run on defense. The Colts,...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 7:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Big Brother Wins But Little Brother Shines Too

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--In Manning Bowl I, Peyton got the victory but Eli demonstrated that he isn't far away from being one of the league's very best quarterbacks. The Indianapolis Colts, quarterbacked by older brother Peyton Manning, beat the New York Giants of younger brother Eli Manning, 26-21, here Sunday...

By Mark Maske | September 11, 2006; 7:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steelers Sign Davenport

The Pittsburgh Steelers, looking for a tough and reliable runner to get a few carries a game backing up Willie Parker, signed former Green Bay Packers tailback Najeh Davenport today. Davenport once was an effective backup to Ahman Green with the Packers but was released by Green Bay last...

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 4:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Colts Could Start Rookie Safety from Howard In Manning Bowl

Antoine Bethea, a rookie safety for the Indianapolis Colts out of Howard University, could be a starter in his first NFL game Sunday night against the New York Giants in Giants Stadium. The Colts' plan is to start Bethea, a sixth-round draft choice in April, at the safety spot...

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 2:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Marinelli Reportedly Will Suspend Lions Assistant From Opener

According to reports in several Detroit-area newspapers, Lions Coach Rod Marinelli plans to suspend defensive line coach Joe Cullen for Sunday's opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Cullen reportedly was arrested twice in recent weeks, once on suspicion of drunk driving and once because he inexplicably was driving nude. He...

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 2:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

S. Smith Misses Another Practice

Wide receiver Steve Smith sat out his third straight Carolina Panthers' practice today because of a sore hamstring, leaving his status in doubt for Sunday's opener against the Atlanta Falcons....

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 1:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Batch Gets Job Done But Roethlisberger Could Be Steelers' Week 2 Starter

PITTSBURGH--The Pittsburgh Steelers looked every bit like the reigning Super Bowl champions here Thursday night even with backup quarterback Charlie Batch filling in for recently luckless starter Ben Roethlisberger. Batch threw three touchdown passes as the Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins in the opening game of the NFL season....

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steelers Lacking Complementary Runner To Go With Parker

PITTSBURGH--Over the previous two seasons, part of the Pittsburgh Steelers' formula for success was having two tailbacks to split the workload. Two seasons ago, it was Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley. Last season, with Staley hurt, it was Willie Parker and Bettis. This season, Parker is firmly entrenched as...

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Saban, Not Officials, At Fault In Botched Replay Challenge

PITTSBURGH--Nick Saban blamed the officials. He should have blamed himself. The key play in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 28-17 triumph over the Miami Dolphins in the NFL's season-opening game Thursday night at Heinz Field came when the Steelers scored the go-ahead touchdown with just more than six minutes left on...

By Mark Maske | September 8, 2006; 7:05 AM ET | Comments (7)

Bucs Rookie Guard to Miss Opener

Rookie guard Davin Joseph will miss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' opener Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens because of a sprained right knee suffered in practice Wednesday. Jeb Terry is to replace Joseph in the Buccaneers' lineup. Coach Jon Gruden said today that Joseph's injury was not as serious as...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 8:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Steelers Boosters Eager for More

PITTSBURGH--The Pittsburgh Steelers got their long-sought "One For The Thumb" when they won the franchise's fifth Super Bowl title last season. A billboard along I-279 between the city's airport and downtown reads: "Now For The Other Hand."...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 8:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chiefs Non-Committal About Potential Return by Welbourn

Kansas City Chiefs officials are not saying whether they will allow veteran offensive tackle John Welbourn to return to the team once his suspension ends. Welbourn retired during the offseason but applied for reinstatement and was suspended by the league Wednesday, reportedly for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 7:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hearing in Branch Case Postponed

Arbitrator John Feerick today postponed a hearing, scheduled for Saturday, on holdout wide receiver Deion Branch's grievance against the New England Patriots. Feerick denied a motion by the league that the case should be dismissed because Feerick did not have jurisdiction over it. But he pushed back the hearing,...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 7:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Congressional Leader Urges NFL to Re-Examine Steroid Policy

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today urging the league to re-examine its steroid policy in the wake of recent reports about the use of human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 6:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bruschi Practices

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi participated in the New England Patriots' practice today. Bruschi resumed practicing just over a month after suffering a broken wrist in training camp, but it was not immediately clear whether he'll play this weekend. He was listed as questionable on the Patriots' official injury report....

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 2:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Branch, Patriots Playing Waiting Game

People familiar with the plans of holdout wide receiver Deion Branch say he does not intend to join the New England Patriots in the foreseeable future. The NFL Players Association last week filed a grievance against the Patriots on Branch's behalf, maintaining that the team acted improperly by refusing...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 2:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Commissioner Says Saints' Future Unclear

Commissioner Roger Goodell, like predecessor Paul Tagliabue, is taking the position that it's too soon to know what the long-term future of the New Orleans Saints will be as the team returns to its home city this season after being displaced last year by Hurricane Katrina. "I don't have...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 2:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

League Not Censoring NFL Network, Goodell Says

New commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that he does not see the league as a censor for the television channel that it owns, the NFL Network. "It's, one, a distribution outlet for the NFL," Goodell said when asked about the role of the league-owned network. "By putting [regular season]...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Goodell Not Ruling Out Expansion as Means to Get a Team to L.A.

Most of the NFL's 32 team owners seem to favor moving an existing franchise rather than expanding when the league is ready to put a club in Los Angeles. New commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday in East Rutherford, N.J., that he does not favor further expansion as a general...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 2:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Somber Day in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH--The game between the Steelers and Miami Dolphins tonight at Heinz Field to open the NFL season comes at the end of a somber day for Pittsburgh residents. The funeral for Bob O'Connor, the city's mayor who died Friday from cancer, took place this morning. O'Connor became the city's...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 1:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

St. Pierre Is Steelers' Backup QB Tonight

PITTSBURGH--The Pittsburgh Steelers' backup quarterback for tonight's NFL season opener against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field will be Brian St. Pierre. The defending Super Bowl champions promoted him from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Wednesday. The Steelers signed St. Pierre, who'd been released by the Baltimore...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 1:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Double Duty for R. Bush

The New Orleans Saints have prized rookie Reggie Bush scheduled to perform punt-returning duties in Sunday's opener at Cleveland. Bush is to split time at tailback with Deuce McAllister....

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Other Hamstring Now Bothering Panthers' Smith

It's unclear if the Carolina Panthers will have wide receiver Steve Smith in the lineup for Sunday's season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. Smith sat out Wednesday's practice because of a sore right hamstring after missing 2-1/2 weeks of training camp due to a sore left hamstring. The Panthers...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 1:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 1 Picks

Local Teams Vikings at Redskins (Monday night) The Redskins' preseason woes are quickly forgotten. Pick: Redskins Ravens at Buccaneers The Ravens are better, but they aren't ready to win on the road against a team coming off a playoff season. Pick: Buccaneers Lock of the Week Bills at Patriots...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (9)

Lions Assistant Reportedly Arrested Twice

Detroit Lions defensive line coach Joe Cullen reportedly was arrested twice in the past two weeks, once for suspected drunk driving and once for allegedly driving while nude. Cullen was ticketed on Aug. 24 for suspicion of indecent and obscene conduct, with no explanation given as to why he...

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Manning Overload

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--The Pittsburgh Steelers showed during last season's playoffs that even Peyton Manning can be rattled by a good pass rush. The Indianapolis Colts' usually unflappable quarterback emerged from his club's loss to the Steelers in an AFC semifinal talking about the blocking problems in front of him....

By Mark Maske | September 7, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (18)

Commissioner Says He'll Study Putting Radio Receivers In Players' Helmets to Negate Crowd-Noise Issues

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--Roger Goodell said today that one of the issues he's studying in his early days as NFL commissioner is whether the league should take steps to nullify the competitive advantage that some teams get from crowd noise in their home stadiums. In an afternoon meeting with reporters...

By Mark Maske | September 6, 2006; 3:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Goodell Says Gumbel Won't Be Fired From NFL Network Job

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said here today that he won't dismiss Bryant Gumbel as an announcer on the league-owned NFL Network. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue had said that Gumbel's status with the network would be up for discussion after the veteran broadcaster recently made highly critical...

By Mark Maske | September 6, 2006; 3:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

Week 1 Rankings

Ben Roethlisberger's absence from the Steelers' season-opening lineup knocks the defending Super Bowl champions out of the top spot. The NFC East has three of the top 10 teams, and the Bills look up at everyone else. 1. Colts 2. Broncos 3. Seahawks 4. Panthers 5. Steelers 6. Cowboys...

By Mark Maske | September 6, 2006; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Smoot Wonders About FedEx Reception Monday

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Fred Smoot wonders what kind of reception he'll get from the FedEx Field crowd Monday night. The chatty cornerback was a fan favorite when he played for the Washington Redskins. But he left the Redskins last year as a free agent to sign a six-year, $34 million...

By Mark Maske | September 6, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Goodell Scheduled to Attend Giants' Practice, Meet with Reporters This Afternoon

New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to attend the New York Giants' practice today at Giants Stadium. Goodell, who was elected last month and officially took over Friday for the now-retired Paul Tagliabue, is to make his first extended remarks as commissioner by speaking to reporters this afternoon....

By Mark Maske | September 6, 2006; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks Sign Ponder, Hoping for Many Happy Returns

The Seattle Seahawks signed wide receiver and kick returner Willie Ponder, who was released by the New York Giants over the weekend. Ponder led the league in kickoff returns in 2004 and ranked sixth last season....

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 9:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Saints Add LB Clark, Cut S Bellamy

The New Orleans Saints signed linebacker Danny Clark today and released safety Jay Bellamy. Clark was Oakland's leading tackler in each of the past two seasons but was released by the Raiders over the weekend....

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 9:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Saints Nearing Sold-Out Season

The New Orleans Saints have sold approximately 65,000 season tickets, leaving them just more than 3,000 shy of selling out their entire home schedule at the Superdome. Saints owner Tom Benson said during a news conference today at the team's training facility in Metairie, La., that the club's once-sluggish...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 9:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Smith Returns to Titans

The Tennessee Titans were facing a salary cap crunch in 2004 when they allowed defensive tackle Robaire Smith and defensive end Jevon Kearse to depart as free agents. Smith signed a six-year, $26.3 million contract with the Houston Texans. But now he's back in Tennessee, signing today with the...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 8:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Falcons Have Kicking Triple Threat

While some NFL teams carry a punter, a field goal kicker and a kickoff specialist, the Atlanta Falcons have one kicking dynamo--Michael Koenen--set to perform all three tasks this season. Koenen was the Falcons' punter and kickoff specialist last season as a rookie, and convinced Coach Jim Mora to...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 4:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seahawks' Jackson Practices for First Time Since Before Super Bowl

Wide receiver Darrell Jackson practiced Monday with the Seattle Seahawks. It was his first practice since undergoing knee surgery following the Super Bowl. It's possible that Jackson will have at least a limited role in the Seahawks' opening game....

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Suggs With Third Team in a Month

When tailback Lee Suggs signed with the Miami Dolphins on Monday, he joined his third team in a month. The Cleveland Browns traded Suggs to the New York Jets last month, but the deal was voided when Suggs failed the Jets' physical. Suggs returned to Cleveland but the Browns...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 3:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dayne Could Be a Factor for Texans

Ron Dayne landed in a good spot after being released by the Denver Broncos. The former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft choice was signed by the Houston Texans over the weekend. Dayne is reunited with first-year Texans coach Gary Kubiak, formerly his offensive coordinator in Denver. And he...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 3:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Dolphins Could Be Interested in C. Rogers

The Miami Dolphins have expressed some interest in wide receiver Charles Rogers, the second overall selection in the 2003 NFL draft who was released by the Lions over the weekend after three unproductive seasons in Detroit....

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 3:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

Vanderjagt's Struggles Worrying Parcells

The Dallas Cowboys don't know kicker Mike Vanderjagt's status for the opening of the regular season. Vanderjagt was plagued by a groin injury during the preseason and missed two short field goal attempts in overtime in the exhibition-season finale. That led Coach Bill Parcells to reluctantly keep a second...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Porter, Curry Vying to Replace Gabriel in Raiders' Lineup

It's unclear whether the Oakland Raiders, after trading Doug Gabriel to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick over the weekend, will promote Jerry Porter or Ronald Curry to be the starting wideout opposite Randy Moss. Either way, it appears the Raiders are ready to forgive and...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Conflicting Stories to be Told in Branch Arbitration

The Deion Branch arbitration case will hinge on whether an arbitrator believes the version of the story presented by Branch's agent, Jason Chayut, or that told by the New England Patriots. People familiar with the case say the Patriots will contend during the arbitration hearing that, when they granted...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 2:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bears Enter Season with T. Jones Ahead of Benson in RB Derby

The Chicago Bears enter the regular season with Thomas Jones as their starting tailback. Cedric Benson had seem poised at the outset of training camp to win the job, but he was plagued by a shoulder injury and Jones returned from a strained hamstring in time to get the...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 1:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Shanahan Not Naming Starting RB Yet

Denver Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan named undrafted rookie Mike Bell the team's starting tailback entering the preseason, but Shanahan is refusing to identify a starter at the position this week. It's likely that both Mike Bell and third-year pro Tatum Bell will play Sunday at St. Louis, no matter...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (6)

Colts Declaring Vinatieri Ready to Kick

The Indianapolis Colts are declaring kicker Adam Vinatieri ready to go for Sunday night's opener in Giants Stadium against the New York Giants. Vinatieri's status had been in doubt because of what the team called a sprained ligament and a chipped bone in his left foot suffered during conditioning...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Collins Appears Set to be Titans' Starter, But Fisher Isn't Saying Yet

It seems likely that Kerry Collins will be the Tennessee Titans' starting quarterback in Sunday's opener against the New York Jets. But Titans Coach Jeff Fisher isn't tipping his hand yet, refusing to say whether Collins or Billy Volek will be his starter. The club signed Collins last week...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Roethlisberger Seems Likely to Return for Steelers' Second or Third Game

It appears that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss one or two games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Sunday. Roethlisberger was released from the hospital Monday. Steelers Coach Bill Cowher has ruled the quarterback out of the NFL's season-opening game Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz...

By Mark Maske | September 5, 2006; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Union Files Grievance and Special Master Case on Branch's Behalf

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance today on behalf of New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch, alleging that the Patriots acted improperly by refusing to trade Branch to the New York Jets. The grievance says that the Patriots agreed to trade Branch if they received an offer...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 5:04 PM ET | Comments (5)

MRI Shows No Serious Damage to Leinart's Shoulder

Arizona Cardinals Coach Dennis Green told reporters today that the MRI exam of rookie quarterback Matt Leinart's injured right shoulder showed no serious damage. Leinart, who's slated to back up Kurt Warner, possibly could be available if needed at the outset of the regular season....

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 4:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Hill Joins League Office

The league on Thursday hired Ron Hill as its vice president of football operations. Hill, a longtime scout and executive for several teams, will work under Ray Anderson, the NFL's newly appointed senior VP of football operations. Hill began his NFL career as a scout with the Dallas Cowboys...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 3:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

MRI Today for Leinart

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Matt Leinart is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today to determine the extent of the injury to his right (non-throwing) shoulder that he sustained during Thursday night's preseason finale against the Denver Broncos. The injury occurred on a third-quarter sack and initially was called...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 2:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

S. Davis, Rams Agree to Deal

Tailback Stephen Davis agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the St. Louis Rams, an NFL source said. Davis had worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles and Rams in recent weeks. He becomes Steven Jackson's backup in St. Louis. The Carolina Panthers released Davis during the offseason....

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jets, Seahawks Reportedly In Running for Branch

Holdout wide receiver Deion Branch has received what he considers suitable contract offers from the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets, the Boston Globe reported today. Branch's team, the New England Patriots, gave Branch until 4 p.m. today to pursue a possible trade and discuss contract terms with other...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eagles Sign Punter to Extension

The Philadelphia Eagles signed punter Dirk Johnson to a five-year contract extension through the 2011 season. He was to have been an unrestricted free agent next spring. Johnson has punted well this preseason after coming back from two surgeries to repair a groin injury. He also is taking over...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bengals Sign RT Anderson to Extension Through 2011 Season

The Cincinnati Bengals signed right tackle Willie Anderson to a five-year, $32 million contract extension that runs through the 2011 season. He would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season....

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jets Trade Away One TE, Trade for Another

The New York Jets traded tight end Doug Jolley to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday for an undisclosed draft pick. Jolley was a disappointment in his one season with the Jets, with only 29 catches after being acquired in a trade with the Oakland Raiders. The Jets obtained...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Dolphins RB Morris Reportedly Suspended

According to several newspaper reports in South Florida, Miami Dolphins backup running back Sammy Morris will be suspended for the first four games of the season after testing positive for ephedrine last October. Morris's appeal of the suspension reportedly was denied after he contended that he took the over-the-counter...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Decision Day for Branch, Patriots?

The one-week window that the New England Patriots granted to wide receiver Deion Branch to explore trade possibilities expires at 4 p.m. today. Branch has been holding out because of dissatisfaction over his contract situation. He is entering the final season of his contract and is to have a...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (29)

Romo Gets One-Year Extension

The Dallas Cowboys signed backup quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday to a one-year contract extension running through the 2007 season. He would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus and a total of $1.9 million in salaries over...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

B. Johnson On Target as Vikings Ready for Redskins

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson was sharp Thursday in his final tune-up for the Sept. 11 regular season opener against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the Vikings' exhibition-season finale. The Vikings...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kicker Drama

The most accurate regular-season field goal kicker in NFL history and the best clutch kicker in league history changed teams via free agency in the offseason. But so far, neither is faring particularly well with his new club. Mike Vanderjagt, who has the highest career field goal accuracy ever...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 9:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Owens Plays

Terrell Owens finally played his first game in a Dallas Cowboys uniform Thursday night at Texas Stadium. The wide receiver, after being sidelined by a sore hamstring muscle, participated in the preseason finale and had one catch in the Cowboys' 10-10 tie with the Minnesota Vikings. The crowd gave...

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 9:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Goodell In Charge

Roger Goodell officially took over as NFL commissioner today at 6 a.m. He is to make his first extended comments as commissioner when he meets with reporters on Wednesday at Giants Stadium, where he's scheduled to attend a New York Giants' practice....

By Mark Maske | September 1, 2006; 9:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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