NFL News and Notes

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Rams' Brown suspended four games
July 13th, 2007

St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - St. Louis Rams cornerback Fakhir Brown has been suspended without pay for the team's first four games of the 2007 campaign for violating the NFL Substance Abuse Policy.

Brown's suspension begins on Friday, August 31, and he is eligible to return to the active roster on October 1 following the team's September 30 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Grambling alum signed with the Rams as a free agent in 2006, and posted three interceptions and six passes defensed in 14 games. He started his career in San Diego in 1999 and played two seasons with the Chargers prior to a four- year stint with the Saints.

Brown is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

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Bengals' Pollack to miss '07 season
July 13th, 2007

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Cincinnati Bengals linebacker David Pollack will sit out the 2007 season while continuing to recover from surgery to repair his fractured neck.

Pollack suffered the injury in a September 17 game against Cleveland when he made a hit on running back Reuben Droughns.

Pollack suffered no paralysis from the injury and was able to resume normal activities outside of football, although he continued to wear a neck immobilization device. He underwent surgery January 3.

"David and the team agree that he is not physically ready to play this season," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in a statement. "He is working extremely hard and will continue focusing his efforts on rehabilitating with our medical staff."

In 14 games in 2005, including five starts, Pollack recorded 35 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. Cincinnati picked him with the 17th overall pick of the 2005 draft out of Georgia.

"I'm grateful for my recovery to this point, and I'm working every day to get my full strength back," said Pollack. "Any final decision on football is still down the road for me."

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Chiefs' Allen suspended
July 16th, 2007

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen was suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2007 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Allen's suspension will start September 1 and he will be eligible to return to Kansas City's active roster on September 17. Despite his suspension, Allen is allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games with the Chiefs.

The Idaho State product posted 77 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks last season.

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Dolphins release Culpepper
July 17th, 2007

Davie, FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins finally made it official on Tuesday and released quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

The move had long been expected following Miami's acquisition of quarterback Trent Green from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins unsuccessfully tried to trade Culpepper before issuing a one-sentence statement to formally announce his release.

Culpepper spent just one forgettable season in Miami after playing his first seven NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He tore ligaments in October of 2005 with the Vikings and underwent reconstructive surgery before being dealt to Miami prior to the 2006 campaign.

The Central Florida product appeared to make a quick recovery from a procedure that normally takes about a year of rehab and started the first four games of the 2006 season with Dolphins, but was clearly not 100 percent. Miami was just 1-3 with a struggling Culpepper behind center, then sat the former Pro Bowl star for the rest of the season.

In November, Culpepper underwent an arthroscopic procedure in an attempt to return late in the season before finally going on injured reserve in December.

Culpepper threw for just 929 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in his four starts, but his lack of mobility was a major issue as he was sacked 21 times in those contests.

In six years as a starter for the Vikings, Culpepper threw for more than 3,000 yards four times, including 4,717 with 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during the 2004 campaign -- his last full season.

Culpepper has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 21,091 yards with 137 touchdowns and 89 interceptions in 85 NFL games, 84 of which have been starts.

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Patriots ink Troy Brown
July 17th, 2007

Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - The New England Patriots signed veteran wide receiver Troy Brown on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 36-year-old wideout has spent his entire 14-year NFL career with New England. He was an eighth-round selection (198th overall) in the 1993 draft from Marshall, and has played in 191 games with the franchise, tied for fourth on the all-time list.

Brown is the club's all-time leading receiver with 557 receptions, and places second in team annals with 6,366 receiving yards. He has also compiled a franchise-high 246 punt returns for 2,570 yards and is tied with Irving Fryar for tops in punt return touchdowns with three.

A native of Blackville, South Carolina, Brown earned a Pro Bowl berth by posting career-highs in receptions (101) and receiving yards (1,199), with five TD catches and two punt return touchdowns in 2001 as New England bested St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI.

The versatile vet also performed heroically in 2004 as the Pats secondary was decimated by injury, finishing second on the team with three interceptions and adding 17 tackles as the Pats took home their third title in four seasons in Super Bowl XXXIX. Last season, Brown played in all 16 regular-season games, catching 43 balls for 384 yards and four scores.

In addition, the Pats also inked 2007 sixth-round picks Justin Rogers and Justise Hairston. Rogers, a 23-year-old linebacker, was picked 180th overall out of Southern Methodist University. Hairston, 24, was taken with the 208th pick as a running back from Central Connecticut State University.

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Raiders safety Cooper suspended
July 20, 2007

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -Oakland safety Jarrod Cooper was suspended on Friday for the Raiders' first four regular season games for violating the NFL's policy on steroids.
   
Cooper, a valuable special teams player for the Raiders, will be allowed to participate in training camp and preseason games. But he won't be able to be on the team's active roster until Oct. 1, the day after the teams' fourth game of the season against Miami.

Cooper is the second Raiders player to be suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Running back Dominic Rhodes was also suspended for four games.

Also Friday, the Raiders signed safety Eric Frampton to a contract, making him the team's fifth draft pick to ink a deal. Frampton, Oakland's second pick in the fifth round of April's draft, was an all-Pac-10 player last season at Washington State.

``It feels good for everything to be solidified and for me to be able to focus on what I need to do,'' Frampton said. ``This is a start. It's definitely a milestone accomplished along the way.''

Oakland previously signed third-round offensive lineman Marion Henderson, fourth-round cornerback John Bowie, fifth-round defensive end Jay Richardson, and sixth-round fullback Oren O'Neal. Six remain unsigned, including No. 1 overall selection quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

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Colts' Glenn retires
July 24th, 2007

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn announced his retirement Tuesday.

Glenn, a 10-year veteran and the Colts' starting left offensive tackle since 1998, started 154 regular season games for Indy and missed just six contests during his career.

"It was really difficult," Glenn said. "There are obviously a lot of emotions and relationships tied to the decision. I had to make sure that I weighed all my options and understood how serious the decision was."

The 31-year-old Glenn was the second-longest tenured player on the team and appeared in the last three Pro Bowls. Indianapolis originally selected Glenn with the 19th overall pick in the 1997 draft.

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'Disappointed' for Odell
ENQUIRER.COM

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - The Bengals announced this morning that Odell Thurman's application for reinstatement was denied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Thurman can apply again for reinstatement after the the 2007 season.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who pulled into camp at 12:30 p.m. today, had little to say about Thurman. Lewis had left the door open for a Thurman return.

"I am disappointed for Odell," is all Lewis would say on Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan declined to comment about Thurman and referred to reporters to Lewis.

The NFL said early this afternoon it would have no further statement on the commissioner's decision.

Thurman was suspended for one year following a DUI arrest on Sept. 25, which was his third violation of the league's substance abuse policy, but Thursday's announcement comes as a suprise.

People in Thurman's camp were optimistic he would be reinstated.

A phone message left for Safarrah Lawson, Thurman's Atlanta-based representative, was not immediately returned this morning.

“He has done everything he was supposed to,” Lawson, told The Enquirer last week.

Thurman did have a minor scrape with the law in June in his hometown of Monticello, Ga., and it is unclear whether the incident played into Goodell's decision to deny Thurman's application.

Two Monticello men filed a pre-warrant hearing application following an alleged altercation at a house party overnight June 2 and 3.

They alleged in the complaint that Thurman had committed acts of criminal trespass, aggravated assault and pointing a gun in the early morning hours Sunday at a house party in Monticello.

But the two men who made the complaint against Thurman withdrew it late the day before a magistrate in Jasper County, Ga., was scheduled to hear it.

No criminal charges were ever filed, but the NFL's security arm paid close attention to the incident.

League security officials called to acquire all documents on the case, said Angie Nelson, deputy clerk for Jasper County Magistrate Court.

"They were going to send someone but didn't because it was cancelled," she said.

Thurman's third violation of the NFL substance abuse policy mandated the one-year suspension.

The linebacker completed a four-month alcohol rehabilitation stay in April in South Carolina and a subsequent one-month out-patient program.

Lewis had been in contact with Thurman through his rehab. Lewis, linebackers coach Ricky Hunley and assistant strength and conditioning coach Ray Oliver all visited Thurman in South Carolina.

Thurman started 15 games and played in all 16 as a rookie at middle linebacker in 2005, leading the defense with 148 tackles.

The Bengals drafted Ahmad Brooks in the supplemental draft a year ago, and after an up-and-down rookie season, Brooks had an impressive offseason and staked claim to the starting job in the middle.

Thurman, who still has three years remaining on his rookie contract, could have a future as an outside linebacker if he is reinstated after the season.

In other news today, the Bengals announced they've signed their final four draft picks. Each player signed a four-year contract and reported to camp. They are: quarterback Jeff Rowe, defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, offensive lineman Dan Santucci, safety Chinedum Ndukwe.

The team's top three picks - cornerback Leon Hall, running back Kenny Irons and saftety Marvin White - remain unsigned.

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Saints' safety Steve Gleason on injured reserve, out for the season after knee surgery
July 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Special teams standout and reserve safety Steve Gleason, whose blocked punt led to a touchdown in the New Orleans Saints' home opener in the Superdome last year, is out for the 2007 season.

Gleason, 30, was put on injured reserve, team spokesman Greg Bensel said Thursday. The Saints are holding training camp in Jackson, Miss.

Gleason had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in June, after the team's minicamp. The procedure creates holes in bones around the knee joint to stimulate the growth of cartilage. Generally, the knee can't bear weight for several weeks.

He would have missed about half of training camp or more if he tried to come back from the injury.

Gleason has played 83 games in six seasons with the Saints, making 98 special teams tackles and blocking four punts.

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WR McCardell signs one-year deal with Texans
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

After weeks of negotiations in which he flirted with numerous teams, veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell agreed to a contract with the Texans on Thursday.

McCardell, 37, is a 16-year veteran who grew up in Houston. He'll compete for a starting job with Kevin Walter opposite Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson.

McCardell, who attended Waltrip High School and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will sign a one-year contract Friday morning for $860,000, including $820,000 in base salary. He'll be on the practice field Friday when the Texans start two-a-day practices.

``I considered several offers, but playing for the Texans just feels right,'' McCardell said. ``It's just a good fit. I know my family's really going to enjoy me playing here.''

McCardell is one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history with 861 catches for 11,117 yards. He caught 36 passes for 437 yards at San Diego last season. The Chargers finished with a league-best 14-2 record before losing to New England in the divisional round of the playoffs.

``I've been fortunate to be around winners ever since I came into the league,'' he said. ``I think the Texans are building something good, and I want to be part of it.
``I spoke with coach (Gary) Kubiak three times during this process, and he sold me on what they're doing during our first conversation.''

A 12-round pick by Washington in 1991, McCardell spent his rookie season on injured reserve but was awarded a Super Bowl ring by his teammates. After he was waived, he signed with Cleveland, where he played four seasons.

In 1995, the Oilers tried to sign McCardell, but he elected to sign with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars. He had the best seasons of his career with the Jaguars.

McCardell signed with Tampa Bay, where he won another Super Bowl ring. In 2003, his last season with the Buccaneers, he had 1,174 yards  his last 1,000-yard season.

During three years with the Chargers, his best season was in 2005 when he caught 70 passes for 917 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

``I'll bring a lot of experience and leadership to the team,'' McCardell said. ``I've been on winning teams, so I understand what it takes to win.

``I'm a professional who takes a lot of pride in his work ethic. I like to work with young receivers. I'm excited to get started.''

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Bucs release Rice after failed physical
July 26th, 2007

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Simeon Rice on Thursday after the veteran defensive end failed a physical.

After beginning his career in Arizona, Rice played six seasons with Tampa Bay, recording 69.5 sacks, the third most in team history. In his first five years with the Bucs, he had at least 11 sacks each season.

Rice battled a shoulder injury last season and it limited him to eight games and just two sacks before he was placed on injured reserve.

In 11 overall seasons with the Cardinals and Buccaneers, Rice has racked up 584 tackles, 121 sacks and 37 forced fumbles.

Rice was originally selected third overall out of Illinois in the 1996 draft by the Cardinals.

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Jaguars sign Couch
July 29th, 2007

Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent quarterback Tim Couch on Sunday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Couch was the first overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 draft out of the University of Kentucky. He played five seasons (1999-2003) in Cleveland, starting 59 of 62 games, throwing for 11,131 yards with 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.

After his release from the Browns, Couch was signed by Green Bay in June, 2004, but released prior to the regular season. The 29-year-old has been out of football since then due to a serious rotator cuff injury.

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Bears trade for veteran DT Walker
July 29th, 2007

Lake Forest, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears acquired veteran defensive tackle Darwin Walker from the Buffalo Bills Sunday in exchange for an undisclosed pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In 2006 Walker started 15 of 16 regular season games for the Philadelphia Eagles at right defensive tackle and tied for second on the team with six sacks. He also added 56 tackles last season and his first career interception.

For his career Walker has compiled 264 tackles with 27 1/2 sacks and 71 quarterback hurries in 88 career games with Philadelphia and Arizona.

Walker was originally acquired by the Bills in March of this year in a trade that sent linebacker Takeo Spikes and quarterback Kelly Holcomb to the City of Brotherly Love.

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Bucs release Rice after failed physical
July 26th, 2007

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Simeon Rice on Thursday after the veteran defensive end failed a physical.

After beginning his career in Arizona, Rice played six seasons with Tampa Bay, recording 69.5 sacks, the third most in team history. In his first five years with the Bucs, he had at least 11 sacks each season.

Rice battled a shoulder injury last season and it limited him to eight games and just two sacks before he was placed on injured reserve.

In 11 overall seasons with the Cardinals and Buccaneers, Rice has racked up 584 tackles, 121 sacks and 37 forced fumbles.

Rice was originally selected third overall out of Illinois in the 1996 draft by the Cardinals.

Giants consider signing DE Simeon Rice with Strahan holding out
July 29, 2007

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -With Michael Strahan holding out and considering retirement, the New York Giants plan to give recently released defensive end Simeon Rice a physical on Wednesday.

Strahan, 35, stunned the Giants on Friday when he failed to show up for training camp at the University at Albany. His agent said that Strahan was considering retirement after 14 NFL seasons.

Rice will arrive in New York on Tuesday and be examined the next day, Giants spokesman Peter John-Baptiste said after the team finished its second practice on Sunday.

Rice, whose 121 career sacks rank second to Strahan (132 1/2) among active players, was released by Tampa Bay last week after the Buccaneers signed first-round draft pick Gaines Adams.

Rice had failed a physical earlier in the day after reporting to camp. The 33-year-old started the first eight games of last season before being sidelined with a shoulder injury.

After being released, Rice was confident his injury would heal and that he would play this season.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin has been playing telephone tag with Strahan since Friday.

``I have nothing to report on those lines,'' Coughlin said Sunday.

Strahan has been critical of Rice in recent years, claiming that he gets sacks but doesn't play the run well.

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Ravens' Cody may miss season
July 31st, 2007

Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dan Cody may miss the entire 2007 season with a right knee injury.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Cody had arthroscopic surgery on his knee two weeks ago and will sit out four weeks before doctors reassess the injury.

If the knee does not show significant improvement, Cody said he would need microfracture surgery and would miss the entire season.

A second-round pick in 2005, Cody has struggled with injuries for most of his pro career. The former Oklahoma star missed his rookie season after spraining the ACL is his right knee during training camp. In 2006, he tore the PCL in his left knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 26.

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Patriots Lose Chad Scott for the Season
Monday, July 30th, 2007

Many observers believe the only thing that can stop the New England Patriots from claiming a fourth Super Bowl crown this decade is a series of injuries. The doomsday scenario moved a little closer to fruition on Monday when the Super Bowl favorites announced that defensive back Chad Scott will miss the entire season because of a left knee injury suffered on the first day of training camp.

While in coverage during a team drill on Friday, Scott leaped into the air while attempting to deflect a pass and landed awkwardly on his left leg. Scott, 32, was placed on the reserve/injured list. The news came just hours after coach Bill Belichick continued to describe Scott's injury as day-to-day.

Meanwhile, the Patriots continue contract talks with cornerback Asante Samuel, who is holding out for a multi-year deal after rejecting a one-year, $7.79-million offer.

Last season, Scott played in 14 regular-season games with nine starts. He made 44 tackles and had two interceptions. He signed with the Patriots before the 2005 season, which was cut short by a shoulder injury that October. He was drafted in the first round, 24th overall, by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Steelers.

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Culpepper signs with Raiders
July 31, 2007

Associated Press

NAPA, Calif. -- Free agent quarterback Daunte Culpepper signed a one-year contract with Oakland on Tuesday, giving the Raiders a backup plan for top draft pick JaMarcus Russell.

Culpepper, 30, worked out in the afternoon before a gathering of Raiders scouts and coaches in a private workout. Oakland coach Lane Kiffin announced the signing shortly after the team completed practice.

"We had to see him run around, scramble and do different things because his arm didn't go away," Kiffin said. "We weren't really worried about that. We had to make sure everything else was good."

Culpepper began 2006 as Miami's starter but had trouble with his mobility and was sacked 21 times in the first four games. The Dolphins shut him down so he could continue rehabbing and eventually placed him on injured reserve. When they acquired Trent Green in a trade with Kansas City this offseason, Culpepper became expendable.

"When I became a free agent I created and ranked eight criteria that I used to evaluate potential teams that were interested in my services," Culpepper said. "Based on my criteria, the Oakland Raiders are the best fit."

The Dolphins tried unsuccessfully to trade Culpepper a year after acquiring him from Minnesota. When Miami failed to find a team willing to trade for Culpepper, the former Pro Bowl quarterback was released on July 17. Culpepper met with Tampa Bay two days later but did not receive a contract offer from the Bucs.

The Raiders sent a member of their front office to Florida to work out Culpepper on Monday, then sent a private plane to fly the 6-foot-4, 265-pound quarterback to California for the Tuesday workout.

Culpepper said the Raiders "are giving me the opportunity to compete for the starting job," yet acknowledged that part of his role in Oakland will be helping Russell "get ready to take over for the future," he said.

"I also get an opportunity to show both the Raiders and the NFL community that I am healthy and back to form after battling injuries the last two seasons," Culpepper said. "Most importantly, I appreciated that there was mutual respect as we worked through the process of coming to contract terms."

Culpepper's signing comes three months after the Raiders traded away his former teammate in Minnesota, Randy Moss.

In eight NFL seasons, Culpepper has passed for 21,091 yards and 137 touchdowns with 89 interceptions. He has a career quarterback rating of 90.8.

Kiffin acknowledged that the Raiders wanted Culpepper partially due to the situation with Russell. The No. 1 pick has yet to sign a contract with Oakland and negotiations between the two sides slowed over the weekend.

Josh McCown, who was acquired in a draft day trade with Detroit, and Andrew Walter have split the reps in practice while Russell remains at his mother's home in Mobile, Ala.

"We think that he adds definite competition to a position right now where we basically only had two guys here with Andrew and Josh," Kiffin said. "They've done extremely well but we needed to protect ourselves and make sure we're in the best position to win and make sure we have the most competition at that spot.

Kiffin spoke with Russell by phone Tuesday morning to brief the rookie on the possibility of Culpepper signing.

"Its always important for your team to know things, just as we informed both our quarterbacks last night that this was going to happen today (and) make sure they heard it from us and understood the reasons we were doing it," Kiffin said.

Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp spoke briefly with Culpepper on Tuesday and welcomed the signing.

"I know he's an effective quarterback because I've chased him and hunted him over the years," Sapp said. "I know he's had a good little off time to get himself back healthy. If he's healthy, he's more than an effective quarterback. Somebody up top thinks he can help our ball club so let's see what we got."

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Sore knee may keep Parker out of Hall of Fame game
August 1, 2007

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) -Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker missed practice for the second day in a row Wednesday because of a sore knee and is not expected to play in the Hall of Fame exhibition game Sunday night.

Parker has some swelling in his left knee and the Steelers are going to be cautious with their top running back.

Parker was a Pro Bowl back last season while rushing for 1,494 yards, the third-highest total in team history. His 75-yard touchdown run was pivotal in the Steelers' 21-10 victory over Seattle in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

The Steelers' Hall of Fame game against New Orleans in Canton, Ohio, will begin the NFL's preseason schedule.

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Colts owner says former Pro Bowl tackle Simon will be released
Associated Press

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Colts owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday night that he expected to release former Pro Bowl tackle Corey Simon within the next few days, ending months of speculation concerning Simon's future with the Super Bowl champions.

Simon did not pass his physical over the weekend. He was expected to report to camp on time Sunday but was never seen at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.

Irsay on Wednesday tried to clarify Simon's status with the team.

"Hopefully, we'll have something worked out with that. I think he may pursue his opportunities somewhere other than here," Irsay said. "I think we may come to an agreement in the next few days and he may pursue other places to play. I think it's better to get it resolved in the next day or two."

Simon did not play last season and was eventually placed on the non-football illness/injury list with an undisclosed ailment. Since winning the Super Bowl, the Colts have been debating what to do with Simon.

"Free agency is really risky and when they came to me with the opportunity I was OK in going for it," Irsay said. "You know the risk is there and it simply didn't work out. But as an owner who pays the checks, winning the Super Bowl is a nice massaging balm cream to ease the pain."

Colts coach Tony Dungy said he had been in touch with Irsay concerning the move.

"I didn't know how far along we were but I knew that was the direction we were going," Dungy said.

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Browns' Tucker suspended four games for substance abuse
August 3rd, 2007

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Ryan Tucker will be suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season after violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The Browns' Web site reported the suspension on Friday.

Tucker, an 11-year veteran who has started at right tackle for Cleveland since 2002, will be eligible to practice and play in preseason games until the beginning of the regular season. At that point, Tucker will be placed on the reserve-suspended list, and will not be eligible to participate in any practices or games until after the team's fourth contest.

In Tucker's absence, the Browns will likely employ either Kevin Shaffer or Kelly Butler at right tackle. Should Shaffer step into the void, it would open the door for rookie first round pick Joe Thomas to start the season at right tackle.

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