NFL News and Notes Week 13

NFL News and Notes Week 13

NFL Week 12 notes
Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Monday night, Nov. 26

Miami (0-10) at Pittsburgh (7-3).

Miami is the fifth team since 1990 to start a season 0-10 and the league's only winless team. The Steelers lead the AFC in rushing (147.5) and Willie Parker leads the conference with 925 yards (4.0 per carry).

STARS

Passing


- Kurt Warner, Cardinals, completed 34 of 48 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice early and fumbled in the end zone in overtime as San Francisco beat Arizona 37-31.

- Drew Brees, Saints, was 24-of-36 for 260 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score as New Orleans routed Carolina 31-6.

- Carson Palmer, Bengals, threw for 283 yards and three TDs in Cincinnati's 35-6 win over Tennessee.

- David Garrard, Jaguars, was 23-of-37 for 296 yards and a touchdown to lead Jacksonville to a 36-14 victory over Buffalo.

Rushing

- Frank Gore, 49ers, looking like the powerhouse player of last year, ran for 116 yards on 21 carries and caught 11 passes for 98 yards in San Francisco's 37-31 overtime win.

- Justin Fargas, Raiders, rushed for 139 yards and a TD as Oakland edged Kansas City 20-17.

- Jamal Lewis, Browns, had 134 yards rushing and a score in Cleveland's 27-17 win over Houston.

- Kolby Smith, Chiefs, had 150 yards rushing and two TDs in place of an injured Larry Johnson and the retired Priest Holmes in a 20-17 loss to Oakland.

Receiving

- Chad Johnson, Bengals, had a career-high 12 receptions for 103 yards and three TDs to help Cincinnati rout Tennessee 35-6.

- Kellen Winslow, Browns, caught 10 passes for 107 yards and a score in Cleveland's 27-17 win over Houston.

- Antonio Gates, Chargers, had 105 yards and two TDs on six catches in San Diego's 32-14 victory over Baltimore.

- Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, had nine catches for 156 yards and two TDs, but Arizona lost to San Francisco 37-31 in overtime.

Special Teams

- Devin Hester, Bears, returned a punt 75 yards for a TD and a kickoff 88 yards for a score in Chicago's 37-34 overtime victory over Denver. It was the ninth time he ran a kick all the way back, breaking Gale Sayers' club record, and his sixth career punt return for a TD.

- Josh Wilson, Seahawks, returned a first-quarter kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown in Seattle's 24-19 win at St. Louis.

- Josh Scobee, Jaguars, tied a team record with five field goals in Jacksonville's 36-14 win over Buffalo.

- Robbie Gould, Bears, kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime to give Chicago a 37-34 win over Denver. He had three field goals overall.

Defense


- Darren Sharper, Dwight Smith and Chad Greenway, Vikings, picked off passes by Eli Manning and returned them for touchdowns in leading Minnesota to a 41-17 victory over the New York Giants.

- Tully Banta-Cain, 49ers, recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to give San Francisco a wild 37-31 overtime victory over Arizona.

- Ronde Barber, Buccaneers, became Tampa Bay's career interceptions leader with his 32nd in a 19-13 win.

- Patrick Kerney, Seahawks, had three sacks and an interception in Seattle's 24-19 win at St. Louis.

MILESTONES

San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson became the 23rd player in NFL history rush for 10,000 yards, reaching the milestone on a 36-yard run in the Chargers' 32-14 win over Baltimore. ... Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 25 and 27 yards to move past Hall of Famer Jim Brown on Cleveland's career scoring list with 759 points. ... Chad Johnson eclipsed Carl Pickens' Cincinnati Bengals mark with his 531st career reception. ... Jacksonville's David Garrard set a team record for consecutive passes without an interception (209).

STREAKS

Oakland's 20-17 victory at Kansas City ended the Raiders' 17-game skid against AFC West teams. They had dropped nine in a row to Kansas City, and six straight overall. Oakland hadn't won a game in its division since a 25-24 squeaker over Denver on Nov. 28, 2004, the longest ongoing streak of divisional futility in the NFL. ... Kolby Smith's 10-yard scoring run in the first quarter of Kansas City's loss to Oakland snapped a string of 36 consecutive touchdowns rushing by Larry Johnson, an NFL record for most consecutive TDs rushing by the same player on the same team. In addition, it was the first TD on the ground by anyone but Priest Holmes and Johnson for the Chiefs in 45 games. ... Cincinnati's Shayne Graham missed from 26 yards, ending his club-record streak of 21 straight field goals.

STATS

Carolina managed just 195 yards of offense in losing its fourth straight and dropping to 0-5 at home with a 31-6 loss to New Orleans. DeShaun Foster rushed nine times for minus-5 yards and lost a fumble. ... Cincinnati converted 14 of its 18 third-down chances in a 35-6 rout of Tennessee.

PLAYOFF BOUND


New England clinched its fifth straight AFC East title before even stepping on the field Sunday. The Patriots won the division with second-place Buffalo's 36-14 loss to Jacksonville.

SWINGS

Seattle won its third straight by rallying for 17 unanswered second-half points against St. Louis after falling behind 19-7. ... Tampa Bay had 177 yards total offense to Washington's 96 in the first two quarters, but wound up being outgained 412-192 in a 19-13 win. The Buccaneers held on despite being outgained 316-16 and not making a first down in the second half.

SNATCHED

Minnesota returned three interceptions by Eli Manning for touchdowns in a 41-17 win. Darren Sharper scored on a 20-yard return, Dwight Smith rumbled 93 yards and Chad Greenway followed from 37 yards just a few plays later as the Vikings set a team single-game record. The NFL record for interceptions returns for touchdowns is four, set by Seattle against Kansas City on Nov. 4, 1984.

SLOPPY

Washington had six turnovers, including four fumbles recovered by Tampa Bay's defense to set up a touchdown and three field goals in the first half of the Buccaneers' 19-13 win. ... Rams backup quarterback Gus Frerotte fumbled the snap on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1 with 27 seconds left Sunday, allowing the Seahawks to hold on for a 24-19 victory over St. Louis. ... Kurt Warner was hit by Ronald Fields and fumbled in Arizona's end zone, and Tully Banta-Cain recovered for a touchdown and a wild 37-31 overtime victory that ended the 49ers' eight-game losing streak.

SIDELINED

St. Louis' Marc Bulger left with a concussion after he was hit by several Seattle players in the first quarter, and threw a pass that was intercepted by defensive end Patrick Kerney. Coach Scott Linehan said Bulger was initially hurt on the Rams' first possession on a blindside sack by Leroy Hill. ... Tampa Bay played most of the day without quarterback Jeff Garcia, who hurt his back on the first play and remained on the sideline until Washington pulled within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Garcia's injury was described as a lower back bruise. ... Chicago running back Cedric Benson hurt his left ankle at the end of a 21-yard run early in the second quarter against Denver and had to leave the field on a cart.

SPEAKING

''I did not, in my worst moment, ever think I would be standing here talking about history repeating itself, but it did.'' - New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, after Minnesota returned three interceptions for touchdowns, one shy of the NFL record. The Vikings set an NFL mark in their last game at Giants Stadium in 2005 by returning an interception, kickoff and punt for touchdowns in the same game.

---

''I feel like the President.'' - Cleveland's Kellen Winslow Jr., sporting multiple bruises and a nasty knot swelling on his forehead after catching 10 passes for 107 yards and a TD in a 27-17 win over Houston.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Redskins' Taylor shot at Florida home
November 26, 2007

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot at his Florida home, according to a statement released Monday by the team.

The brief statement from the Redskins said Taylor was undergoing treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida and that the Miami-Dade Police Department was investigating.

Taylor, 24, is in his fourth season with the Redskins. He leads the team with five interceptions but has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

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Bucs QB Garcia day-to-day with back injury
November 26th, 2007

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden listed quarterback Jeff Garcia as day-to-day with a back injury suffered in Sunday's 19-13 win over the Washington Redskins.

Garcia was hurt during the first play of the game after being tackled by Washington defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin. He left the game after three plays and didn't return until the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

"I don't want to speculate at this point," said Gruden at his Monday press conference. "He might be ready to go Wednesday, he might not be. And he might be ready to go against the Saints, and he might not be, and we'll deal with that on a day-to-day basis. We're going to evaluate it day to day, so that's the best I can do right now. We'll see where he is tomorrow and the following day."

Garcia has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season.

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Bills name Edwards starter
November 26th, 2007

Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron named Trent Edwards the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

Edwards lost his job after suffering a wrist injury in late October against the New York Jets. J.P. Losman got the call and helped engineer wins against both Cincinnati and Miami, but the team has since suffered lopsided defeats at the hands of New England and Jacksonville.

In Sunday's 36-14 loss to the Jaguars, Losman was 27-of-40 for 211 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Edwards, a rookie out of Stanford, has completed 66.1 percent of his passes this season for 790 yards with one TD to five picks.

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Opening Line Report
VegasInsider.com

Sometimes the most important players don’t factor into the line when they are out.

Everybody knows the value of skill-position players, but how about a run-stuffing defensive tackle who also has five sacks? Since Tennessee defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has been out with a sore right hamstring, the Titans have dropped three in a row.
   
Before Haynesworth went out, the Titans had held six opponents to 14 points or less. But in their last three games, the Titans are allowing an average of 32.3 points per contest.

Maybe bookmakers are wising up because some opened Tennessee as low as minus 3 ½ hosting Houston.

Haynesworth may return this week, which could make 3½ a bargain.

“If ever they’re going to show up it would be here,” Las Vegas Sports Consultants senior oddsmaker Mike Seba said of the Titans. LVSC sent out Titans minus 4 ½ to their many Nevada hotel clients.

The big matchup in the AFC South Division isn’t Houston-Tennessee. It’s Jacksonville-Indianapolis. The Colts opened seven-point favorites.

“I think six is the right number,” Seba said, “maybe 6½ at the most. I would take a seven all day long. Jacksonville is playing well and has revenge.

“Indy is not the Indy we know. The Colts have injuries and when they win, they win close games. They’re not blowing teams out. I think the value is with Jacksonville.”

The oddsmakers at LVSC sent out a line of ‘pick’ on the New York Giants-Chicago Bears. Bookmakers opened the Giants anywhere from minus one to 2½. The line was still fluctuating at those numbers on Monday.

“I can understand the Giants being the favorite,” Seba said. “The Giants are the better team. You have to figure the Giants aren’t as bad as they looked (against the Vikings). The Bears don’t have (Cedric) Benson either.”

Seba made Dallas a seven-point home favorite for Thursday’s home game versus Green Bay. The line was either 6 ½ or seven on Monday depending on the sportsbook.

“We (the house) try to stay a little high on Dallas,” he said. “You can’t take anything away from Green Bay. It’s (Tony) Romo and his receivers. Dallas also is at home and has faced tougher competition. The Packers haven’t faced a strong passing team like this.”

Brett Favre also has never won in eight tries at Dallas. The Packers, though, are 5-0 straight-up and against the spread away from Lambeau Field this season. They have a seven-game road winning streak and have won 14 of their last 15 games overall.

Carolina is a favorite for probably the last time this season. The Panthers opened either minus 2½ or three hosting San Francisco.

“It’s interesting that Carolina is minus three against any team considering it hasn’t won a home game yet,” Seba said.

The Panthers have dropped seven consecutive home contests, including all five this season. The 49ers, however, are 1-8 against teams not named Arizona this year.

If any good has come out of the Panthers’ season, it’s the crystal clear realization that David Carr is not a threat to become their starting quarterback of the future. Carr has succeeded in turning Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster into non-entities. Smith only came into the season as probably the top receiving threat in the NFC.

New England opened a whooping 20-point road favorite against Baltimore. This is nothing new for the Patriots. They closed as high as 25-point favorites against Philadelphia Sunday night.

The Patriots never came close to covering that big of a number. But they may get there against the Ravens.

“The Ravens can’t compete anymore,” Seba said. “The Patriots can really name their score here.”

Not helping matters for the Ravens is Patriots coach Bill Belichick showing no restraint in running up a score. He may do it here against Brian Billick, who isn’t the most beloved coach in the league, plus the Patriots may be in a sour mood after nearly being upset on national television Sunday night.

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Cedric Benson out for season

Badly injured ankle gives opportunity to driven Peterson

Slumped over on crutches outside the Bears' locker room Sunday with his left ankle encased in a walking boot, running back Cedric Benson wore the look of a man who already knew his fate.

The worst-case scenario was confirmed today when Lovie Smith said Benson will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season. Smith wouldn't elaborate.

Benson's left ankle was twisted down awkwardly when he was tackled by Denver safety Hamza Abdullah. It was the second-longest run of the season for Benson, whose struggles have been issue 1-A behind quarterback Rex Grossman's ups and downs.

Adrian Peterson's long-awaited chance to be the man appears to have arrived. Peterson grabbed the opportunity and ran with it, bulling his way in on a four-yard touchdown run that was more a testament to human will and determination than running skill. Peterson stayed upright in a crowd of Broncos defenders, led by 350-pound tackle Sam Adams, and moved forward in a mass of linemen across the goal line.

''If you see four yards, you should get six,'' Peterson said. ''Once they give me the four, I try to fall forward for another two.''

He'll be celebrated for it today by the same people who chastised play-caller Ron Turner for taking Benson out last week in Seattle to give Peterson a shot. It's a fickle business. There had been cries for Peterson to get a chance for weeks. When he did, he was accused of ruining Benson's momentum.

''That's just how it goes,'' Peterson said. ''I know all the stuff, so it's just a matter of me going out and doing it.''

Benson finished with 47 yards on eight carries, which leaves him with 674 on 196 for the season, a 3.4-yard average. Peterson gained only 45 yards on 17 carries but also had a team-high five catches for 41 yards. He's going to run hard, and the Bears should lose a little predictability with Peterson no longer needing to come in as a blocker and receiver in passing situations.

The touchdown run is what teammates have come to expect from the 2002 sixth-round pick, who has bided his time mostly on special teams.

''We have a lot of faith in him,'' center Olin Kreutz said. ''He's a strong guy. He comes in there and he comes to work. He is a hell of a team player.''

What the Bears do roster-wise, assuming the worst fears are confirmed today, is unclear. Corey Dillon had interest in joining the Bears in September, but that is no longer the case. Garrett Wolfe had a 25-yard run in garbage time at the end of the first half and will slide into the No. 2 role.

One back who looked good was Denver's Andre Hall, who was with the Bears for a month in 2006 training camp. Hall lost out to P.J. Pope, who is stuck on the practice-squad injured reserve.

''Whenever we've called on [Peterson], whether it was injury or whatever, he's always stepped up to the plate,'' Smith said. ''We feel very comfortable with him, as we do Garrett also. Garrett gives you a different dimension, so we feel good about both guys.''

suntimes.com

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Peterson should be ready to return against Detroit

That was the word in the Vikings' euphoric locker room Sunday after their 41-17 victory over the New York Giants. The rookie tailback should return to the lineup Sunday against Detroit, three weeks after tearing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Internally, the team considered Peterson healthy enough to play against the Giants but decided to give him one more week to recover. He continued his rehabilitation Sunday morning at Giants Stadium -- in front of national media members who believed he was testing out the knee for possible spot duty -- and will participate in most of practice Wednesday at Winter Park.

Coach Brad Childress said Peterson will play against the Lions "providing he's able to make it through a week of practice."

Childress added: "He's just got to continue to progress and make it through a full week of practice and our game plan."

Peterson admitted he lobbied to play Sunday but said, "It didn't work." Nevertheless, he is growing more comfortable with a custom-fit brace and is confident he is on target in his rehabilitation.

"Once I get a full week of practice under my belt," he said, "I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to play. We're just going to take it one day at a time. Each day I've been improving, so [I'll] try to keep it up."

Run defense stiffens

New York running back Reuben Droughns, starting because of injuries to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, rushed for 25 yards on the Giants' first series, including a 1-yard touchdown. However, for the rest of the game, Droughns managed only 21 yards on the ground.

"We came out kind of tight on the first drive and they scored," Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams said. "After that, we basically told everybody to calm down. I told the guys, 'Just go out there and have some fun.' That's what we did."

The Giants finished with 75 rushing yards, the ninth time this season the Vikings have limited an opponent to fewer than 100 yards on the ground.

Getting defensive

By definition, the Tampa-2 defensive scheme the Vikings run calls for pressure to be applied by the front four and not much blitzing. But first-year defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has put his own twist on things in three of the past four games by calling for frequent blitzes and plenty of disguises to confuse quarterbacks.

It worked well Sunday against an overwhelmed Eli Manning. He was sacked three times and also threw four interceptions and several errant passes in large part because of the Vikings' pressure.

Safety Darren Sharper, who has expressed frustration about not being in a playmaking role as much as he would like this season, said he was moved around "a lot more" on Sunday. Sharper finished with a interception return for a touchdown.

Linebackers Ben Leber and E.J. Henderson also frequently showed blitz, and Leber admitted that part of the disguise left Manning and the Giants confused as to what position each linebacker was playing. This caused New York center Shaun O'Hara to be turned the wrong way on some occasions.

"He's learning us as we're learning him," Sharper said of Frazier's scheme. "He's seeing the things that we do well, and each and every week he's getting better as far as putting us in position to make plays. And the thing about it is, if you do something and you're successful, the coach is more likely to call it again."

Better on third down

After going 1-for-15 on third-down conversions in the past two games, the Vikings were 5-for-13 (38 percent) on third down Sunday. That was their third-best percentage of the season behind games against Detroit (8-for-18, 44 percent) and San Diego (6-for-13, 46.2 percent).

"It's continued emphasis on it," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "We have to continue to emphasize it, we have to get better at that area. ... Obviously, we're always trying to design the play to put the guys in the best position to be open, but sometimes those guys have to make a play and they were able to do some of that today."

The Vikings also helped themselves by staying in manageable situations on third down. The worst position the Vikings had on that down was third-and-10, and that came on the second-to-last play of the game.

They also got lucky at times. On a third-and-3 from the Vikings 40-yard line, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled as he was being sacked by Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. The ball proceeded to go 14 yards and was picked up by receiver Bobby Wade for a first down at the 50.

On the run

Jackson had an interesting series on the Vikings' first possession of the third quarter. On third-and-4 from the Minnesota 29, Jackson scrambled up the middle and took on safety Gibril Wilson at the end of a 19-yard gain. This came after Jackson suffered a concussion on a similar running play this month against San Diego.

Five plays later, Jackson was about to be sacked by Giants defensive end Michael Strahan when he made a nice escape and went 11 yards for another first down. Jackson wasn't done.

On second-and-7 from the Giants 24, Jackson handed the ball to Chester Taylor. The veteran running back went right, bounced off Strahan and cut back left with Jackson leading the way. The quarterback attempted a half-hearted block as Taylor ran 3 yards.

Robbins makes noise

Former Vikings nose tackle Fred Robbins, who signed with the Giants in 2004, had an active day. He finished with a game-high eight solo tackles, along with 1½ sacks and two other hurries of Jackson.

"I don't care about statistics other than the win," said Robbins, the Vikings' second-round draft choice in 2000.

Injury report and inactives

The Vikings lost two players during the game:

• Safety Tank Williams injured his knee during a first-quarter kick return and did not return. He will undergo an MRI exam today.

• Receiver Troy Williamson suffered a head injury while returning a third-quarter kickoff and missed the rest of the game. Childress did not term the injury a concussion but said Williamson "didn't quite clear up."

Before the game, the Vikings deactivated Peterson and cornerback Antoine Winfield (strained hamstring) for health reasons. Their other inactive players were safety Mike Doss, tight end Garrett Mills, offensive lineman Chase Johnson, receiver Aundrae Allison and defensive end Jayme Mitchell. Kelly Holcomb was the third quarterback.

Etc.

• What is it about the Vikings defense and Giants Stadium? It didn't count in the statistics but when the Vikings beat the New York Jets 37-20 in a preseason game on Aug. 17, both Sharper (40 yards) and linebacker Chad Greenway (16 yards) returned interceptions for TDs.

• Jackson's 60-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the first quarter was the quarterback's third scoring toss of 60 yards this season. The team record of four is held by Fran Tarkenton (1962) and Tommy Kramer (1986). Those three touchdown passes are Jackson's only touchdown passes this season.

• The Giants' 24-point defeat was their worst since a 31-7 loss Dec. 5, 2004 in Washington and their biggest loss at home since a 50-21 setback on Sept. 19, 1999 against the Redskins.

• Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey on his team's performance: "We're a good team, but if we play like that, we're not going to win against a high school team."

startribune.com

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Dolphins activate Ricky Williams
November 26th, 2007

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins have activated running back Ricky Williams and the former NFL rushing champion is expected to play Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Williams returned to practice this past week, just a few days after he was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell following an 18-month suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The Dolphins made room on the active roster by waiving running back Samkon Gado.

Williams is expected to see some action Monday, and could start, because Jesse Chatman was limited in practice with an ankle injury. Chatman took over as the team's starting running back when Ronnie Brown went down in October with a torn ACL.

Williams last played for the Dolphins during the 2005 season, rushing for 743 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games after sitting out a four-game suspension for violating the drug policy. He sat out the 2004 campaign after announcing his retirement in July, but came back after the Dolphins demanded he return bonus money for breach of contract.

The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas spent his first three NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints and joined the Dolphins for the 2002 campaign. He led the league with 1,853 yards in his first year with Miami and added 1,372 yards the following season.

In April 2006, Williams was suspended for his fourth violation of the league's anti-drug policy.

Unable to play in the NFL in 2006, Williams inked a one-year deal with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. With the Argos, he rushed for 623 yards on 124 carries and caught 24 passes for 193 yards. He also missed two months of the season due to a broken arm.

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Jags place tight ends Wrighster, Estandia on IR
November 26th, 2007

Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - The Jacksonville Jaguars placed tight ends George Wrighster and Greg Estandia on injured reserve on Monday after the pair suffered injuries in Sunday's 36-14 triumph over Buffalo.

Wrighster hurt his knee, while Estandia injured his shoulder.

In 11 games, including six starts, Wrighster had 17 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. In his career, he has amassed 815 yards on 92 catches with nine touchdowns.

Estandia played in 10 games, catching nine passes for 136 yards.

In a related roster move, the team re-signed tight end Richard Angulo to a contract on Monday. Angulo previously signed with Jacksonville on May 21 and appeared in all four preseason games, collecting 24 yards on two receptions.

Additionally, Jacksonville claimed linebacker Leon Joe off waivers from Buffalo.

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Ahman Green expected to play in Week 13   
       
Texans coach Gary Kubiak expects Ahman Green (knee) to play in Week 13.
Kubiak conceded that Green's knee has not obviously improved despite him sitting out the last two weeks, so it seems unlikely that even if Green starts, he'll make it through the game. Kubiak also will keep Ron Dayne involved heavily. The Texans have a difficult matchup against Tennessee.

D.J. Hackett to miss at least two games   
       
Coach Mike Holmgren confirmed Monday that D.J. Hackett re-injured the same ankle that cost him the first six games of the season Sunday. Hackett is expected to miss at least two weeks with the injury.

This is a big loss for an offense that's been so pass-reliant. Hackett was arguably emerging as the unit's best player. Nate Burleson will take over a split end, although he's proven unreliable in both fantasy and reality. Slot guy Bobby Engram should be the biggest beneficiary in terms of targets.

rotoworld.com

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Chiefs plan to sign kicker John Carney

Determined to solve their field-goal problem, the Chiefs turned to one of the NFL’s most prolific kickers for help.

They planned today to sign 43-year-old John Carney, who is third on the NFL’s all-time field-goal list. Carney began his NFL career with Tampa Bay in 1988 and has also kicked for the LA Rams, Chargers, Saints and, earlier this year, Jaguars.

Carney was one of three kickers the Chiefs worked out on Monday to replace Dave Rayner, whom they plan to release. The others were Billy Cundiff, who has kicked in previous seasons with the Cowboys and Saints and went to camp this year with the Falcons, and Nick Novak, who also worked out for the Chiefs in September when they signed Rayner.

Cundiff also remained in Kansas City on Monday night. The Chiefs had discussed signing Cundiff as well and using him to kick off but apparently hadn’t made a final decision.

Kickoffs and field-goal range are concerns teams have had with Carney, but not his accuracy from closer distances. He made nine of his 11 field-goal attempts this season with Jacksonville, where he was an injury replacement.

His longest successful kick was 41 yards. He made a 20-yarder in a game against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in October but missed a 48-yard try.

Rayner made 15 of 22 field-goal attempts this season after joining the Chiefs for the season’s second game. He missed four of his last six tries, including two in a three-point loss to Indianapolis two weeks ago and a 33-yarder in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to Oakland.

Coach Herm Edwards passed on having Rayner try a potential game-tying, 41-yard field goal in the final minutes.

www.kansascity.com

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Colts release Simeon Rice
November 27th, 2007

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The Indianapolis Colts released defensive end Simeon Rice on Tuesday.

Rice, claimed off waivers from Denver on November 12, was reunited with head coach Tony Dungy and expected to bolster a unit missing Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney. However, he played as a reserve for the Colts the last two weeks and registered just one sack.

The former third-overall pick in the 1996 draft, Rice had been dealing with a shoulder injury since last season, though the Broncos did not say that contributed to his release. Rice played six games with the Broncos, his first year with the team after six with Tampa Bay, where he previously played under Dungy.

Rice has recorded 12 tackles and two pass breakups in 2007. His 122 career sacks trail only New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan among active players.

Indianapolis also made another roster move Tuesday, signing running back Luke Lawton.

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Report: Ricky Williams out for season
November 27th, 2007

Palm Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams will reportedly miss the remainder of the season after suffering a chest injury during Monday's game against Pittsburgh.

Williams, playing his first NFL game since the conclusion of the 2005 season, had his right shoulder stepped on by Pittsburgh's Lawrence Timmons in the second quarter of the 3-0 loss at Heinz Field.

The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that Williams suffered a torn chest muscle that will require about four months to fully recover.

Williams carried the ball six times for 15 yards and fumbled once. He ran the ball once after the injury, then left the field and did not return for the second half.

Not only did Williams leave the game, but starting running back Jesse Chatman suffered a neck injury in the third quarter. Patrick Cobbs took over for the final few Miami possessions.

The Dolphins are already playing without star running back Ronnie Brown, who suffered a torn ACL in October.

Miami activated Williams after just a week of practice following his 18-month suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Williams hadn't played for the Dolphins since the 2005 season when he rushed for 743 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games after sitting out a four-game suspension for violating the drug policy. He sat out the 2004 campaign after announcing his retirement in July, but came back after the Dolphins demanded he return bonus money for breach of contract.

The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas spent his first three NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints and joined the Dolphins for the 2002 campaign. He led the league with 1,853 yards in his first year with Miami and added 1,372 yards the following season.

In April 2006, Williams was suspended for his fourth violation of the league's anti-drug policy.

Unable to play in the NFL in 2006, Williams inked a one-year deal with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. With the Argos, he rushed for 623 yards on 124 carries and caught 24 passes for 193 yards. He also missed two months of the season due to a broken arm.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Vikings' Evans gets 2-game suspension per NFL conduct policy
November 27, 2007

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Fred Evans received a two-game suspension Tuesday from the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy during a pair of offseason problems.

Evans was arrested twice this summer while he was on Miami's roster, for marijuana possession in Texas and for fighting with police in Florida.

He will not be paid and is required to sit out this week and next, before he's eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, Dec. 10. Signed during training camp after being cut by the Dolphins in June, Evans has stayed out of trouble in Minnesota but made little impact with Pro Bowl players at both of the tackle spots in Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

Originally drafted in the seventh round by Miami in 2006, Evans has been active for eight of the Vikings' 11 games, recording five tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries.

Players have the day off and coaches and executives are typically unavailable for comment on Tuesdays. A Vikings spokesman didn't immediately return phone calls.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Jaguars sign Cooper, release Cordova, move Smith to IR
November 27, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -The Jacksonville Jaguars signed linebacker Marquis Cooper on Tuesday and released linebacker Jorge Cordova.

The Jaguars also moved rookie defensive end Brian Smith from the physically unable to perform list to injured reserve. Smith, a fourth-round pick from Missouri, injured his hip during his senior year and spent the first 12 weeks of the NFL season on the PUP list.

Cooper, a third-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2004, has played 27 career games for the Buccaneers and Seattle. He was released by Pittsburgh after the first two games of the season; he was inactive for both.

Cordova re-signed with the Jags three weeks ago and played two games on special teams.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Cards place cornerback Eric Green on IR
November 27th, 2007

Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) - The Arizona Cardinals announced Tuesday that they placed starting cornerback Eric Green on injured reserve, ending his season.

Green tore his groin during Sunday's 37-31 overtime loss to San Francisco when he tackled 49ers running back Frank Gore.

In 11 games this season, Green recorded 51 tackles.

To fill the void on the roster, Arizona re-signed defensive end Bo Schobel.

Additionally, the team released punter Mike Barr and tight end Tim Euhus.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Brown activated; Colvin out for year

Troy Brown’s career with the Patriots isn’t over yet. But Rosevelt Colvin’s season is.

The Pats this afternoon activated the 15-year veteran Brown from the physically unable to perform list, giving him a chance to win a fourth Super Bowl in what could be his final season.

To make room for the wide receiver, the Pats released rookie defensive lineman Kareem Brown, a fourth-round pick.

In addition, the Patriots placed linebacker Rosevelt Colvin on injured reserve. The team had said he suffered a foot injury during Sunday night’s game against the Eagles.

To replace Colvin, the Pats re-signed veteran linebacker Chad Brown.

The loss of Colvin is a blow to the linebacking corps, while activating Brown should provide an emotional boost to the team.

By returning now, Brown has a chance to add to his assortment of team records. He’s the franchise’s receptions leader for a game (16), season (101) and career (557). He’s second to Stanley Morgan on the Pats’ all-time yardage list (6,366) and first in postseason receptions (58) and yards (694).

A noted team player who began his career on special teams, made the Pro Bowl as a receiver and then bailed the Patriots out during their 2004 Super Bowl season by filling in as a defensive back, Brown always put the team ahead of his personal goals, making him a fan and organization favorite.

He’ll be pressed for playing time as the seventh receiver on a team that hasn’t been able to find offensive snaps for wideouts Kelley Washington and Chad Jackson, but if Brown has proven one thing during his long career, it’s this - never count him out.

Brown’s 21-day practice window since being activated from the PUP was set to expire at 4 today. The Pats either had to add him to the 53-man roster, place him on season-ending injured reserve or release him.

bostonherald.com

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Knee injury could sideline Bunkley

Eagles defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sunday night during the loss to New England. His status could be in question for this Sunday's home game against Seattle.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid also said that Brian Westbrook has a bruised knee.

"We'll see how [Bunkley] does over the next couple of days," Reid said at his news conference yesterday following the 31-28 loss at Gillette Stadium. "He has an MCL sprain, which caused his hamstring to spasm."

Reid said after the game Sunday that Bunkley had a hamstring injury. It appeared as if he may have suffered the injury on the Eagles' final competitive defensive play of the fourth quarter, when he had his legs cut from underneath him by guard Logan Mankins. Bunkley was in pursuit of running back Laurence Maroney and did not see Mankins coming from behind.

When the Eagles' defensive players lined up for the game-ending kneel-down a few minutes later, Bunkley was not on the field.

As for Westbrook, it would not be surprising if he missed some practice time as the Eagles prepare for a must-win game against the Seahawks.

"It's pretty sore right now," Reid said.

Reid said strong safety Quintin Mikell was making progress in his rehab from a sprained ligament in his right knee, which he suffered two games ago against Miami.

"Q's working very hard," Reid said. "It's very similar to what I mentioned about Donovan [McNabb]. Both those guys, the positions they play, you've got to be 100 percent or at least close to [it], to function out there."

J.R. Reed did a more than respectable job filling in for Mikell against the Patriots.

philly.com

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Garcia in question, as is QB order

If the Bucs do need to use a backup against the Saints, it's uncertain which one.

TAMPA - Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia has a deep bruise in his lower back that is causing pain and could force him to miss Sunday's important NFC South showdown at New Orleans.

As a result, the Bucs will prepare another quarterback to play against the Saints.

It might not be Bruce Gradkowski.

Coach Jon Gruden said Monday that he will re-evaluate his order of backup quarterbacks and could turn to Luke McCown.

Gradkowski played poorly in Sunday's 19-13 win over the Washington Redskins, was loudly booed and eventually benched after going 9-of-19 for 100 yards.

"I expect more from him. He knows that. Our team knows that," Gruden said of Gradkowski on Monday.

"We're going to consider all the facts, we're going to take a look at the performance we see from Bruce Sunday, the status of Jeff's health and the fact that McCown is a promising young player that if you had time to give him repetitions, to get him ready to perform, maybe that's a different story. So we're going to think about all the facts, and hopefully before we go to bed (Monday), we'll have a pretty good direction as to where we're headed (today)."

If Garcia can't practice Wednesday, Gradkowski or McCown will get 100 percent of the repetitions, Gruden said. A final decision on Sunday's starter probably won't be made until later in the week.

Garcia was injured on the first play of the game when he scrambled and was hit between the ribs and his hip by Redskins defensive end Cornelius Griffin.

Garcia participated in two more plays before being replaced. X-rays revealed no fractures, and team doctors determined Garcia could play without risk of further damage. He returned for three series in the fourth quarter but failed to produce a first down.

Garcia was unavailable for comment Monday.

"I don't want to speculate at this point," Gruden said. "He might be ready to go Wednesday; he might not be. And he might be ready to go against the Saints, and he might not be, and we'll deal with that on a day-to-day basis. ... We'll see where he is (today) and the following day.

"There are a lot of guys who have had lower back injuries," Gruden said. "I don't like to compare this injury to the one Brad Johnson had in 2002 or the one that David Carr had, or the one that Tarvaris Jackson had in Minnesota. There have been a lot of guys with similar injuries. Everybody responds to them differently. The best I can do is say that he has a deep lower back bruise. He's a sore man right now, and his status is day to day."

McCown played briefly in relief of Garcia in the opener at Seattle, completing 1 of 4 passes for 9 yards.

Since then, McCown has been the inactive third quarterback, so his job in practice has been to run the opponent's offense.

When Gradkowski entered Sunday's game, the Redskins used a lot of eight-man fronts and blitzes to shut down the Bucs' running game, daring the second-year pro to beat them through the air. The best thing Gradkowski did might have been protecting the football.

"The No.1 thing you do as a backup quarterback coming into a game with three months of inactivity is not turn the ball over," Gruden said. "That's why we won the game. Washington turned it over repeatedly, we didn't, and we won the football game.

"There were some good signs, he managed the offense, he made some pretty good changes. We didn't protect very well, and there were some opportunities that maybe we could've had, but we didn't have an opportunity to look at."

Gradkowski said he isn't concerned that Gruden hasn't named a No.2 quarterback for Sunday's game.

"No, it doesn't bother me at all," Gradkowski said. "I'm going to prepare just like Jeff was the starter, just like I've been preparing and go into this game like, hey, there's probably more than likely a chance I'll be playing."

But that's a scenario Gruden hopes to avoid.

"We're concerned about (Garcia). I'll be honest," Gruden said. "I'm very concerned about Jeff, and I should be."

tampabay.com.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 13

Bills' Lynch, Kelsay may be out against Redskins
November 28th, 2007

Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron said after practice Wednesday that he is not optimistic that rookie running back Marshawn Lynch will return to action in Sunday's game at Washington. The Bills may also be without defensive end Chris Kelsay when they take on the Redskins.

Lynch, who worked out with trainers but did not practice Wednesday, has missed the last two games because of an ankle injury.

Lynch was hurt late in the fourth quarter of a November 11 game against Miami.

The 12th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Lynch has 751 yards on 196 carries with all six of Buffalo's rushing touchdowns in nine games. He has also caught 15 passes for 120 yards.

Lynch is not the only Bills running back battling injury, though, as backup Anthony Thomas also missed practice with a calf injury he suffered in Sunday's 36-14 loss to the Jaguars. Jauron said Wednesday that he is not "overly optimistic" about Thomas' chances for playing Sunday.

Kelsay suffered an ankle injury late against Jacksonville on Sunday, and was in a boot and on crutches on Wednesday.

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