Former UM player in NFL wants kids to catch knowledge

Spiderman has his spidey sense. Batman has the Batmobile. Superman's able to leap off tall buildings in a single bound.

TanaMan has . . . a college degree!

TanaMan is the masked-and-caped superhero alter ego of former University of Miami and current Washington Redskins football player Santana Moss.

Parrish gets his chance

The Buffalo Bills need to find more open receivers. Roscoe Parrish's exceptional quickness should allow him to get open.

Conclusion: The Bills need to find Parrish.

Parrish, the Bills' second-year smurf receiver, should get more of a chance to show what he can do to help the Buffalo pass offense over the next several weeks.

D.J. on a roll

Former De La Salle High School graduate D.J. Williams always stood out on the football field for the Spartans. Now, he's just trying to keep up with his linebacker mates on the Denver Broncos.

That's no small task when you consider Williams is a member of a linebacking corps that includes Al Wilson and Ian Gold and is regarded as one of the best in the league.

"D.J.'s playing well," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said in a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "He's, obviously, been playing well since he's been here. He's got a lot of athletic ability and he just seems to get more comfortable every time he's out there."


'Skins' Portis can't disguise his talent

Clinton Portis, a guy who has been known to wear all manner of disguises, now only disguises his true feelings on certain subjects.

Did his mom punch out an Eagles fan last year? Yes. No. Maybe so.

Is Portis unhappy with his role in the Washington Redskins' offense? Possibly.

He is one of the NFL's best running backs, a guy renowned as much for his toughness as his breakaway speed. But he showed his elusiveness in a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters the other day, while looking ahead to Sunday's game.

Redskins' Moss practices, upgraded to probable for Sunday's game

Moss missed last week's game with a strained left hamstring. He returned to practice Wednesday and has gradually increased his workload.

"Every day this week, I went up the ladder and did more running," Moss said. "It showed me what I pretty much thought it was going to show me _ it's getting back up to strength on a daily basis. That doesn't mean you're fully healed. It just means you're on the right pace."

Coach Joe Gibbs said he won't decide whether Moss plays until the pregame workout Sunday.

Browns' Winslow says he has much to prove

CLEVELAND - Kellen Winslow leads the league in receptions by a tight end and ranks third among all receivers.

He has played every game for the Browns and has fought through constant pain in his knee.

He has talked big and backed it up.

One would think Winslow has answered pretty much any question that lingered about his ability to play coming off nearly two missed seasons.

Reggie Wayne no longer overlooked - Colts have another top receiver

Reggie Wayne might be a Pro Bowl receiver in any other offense. At Indianapolis, however, he has long been the overlooked man.

With a record-setting quarterback and another record-setting receiver drawing the primary focus of defenses, Wayne has crafted his skills and his temperament to fit the Colts needs. Rather than whine or lobby, he's learned how to get open, produce big numbers and score.

If others notice Marvin Harrison before they notice him, it doesn't bother Wayne.

"I'm the silent assassin," he said. "Really, I don't need all that because I learned from one of the best in Marvin."

This week, Portis is all business

From a "Napoleon Dynamite" spinoff character named Dolamite Jenkins, a dumb blonde named Ditzy Kim and furious fictional defensive coordinator named Coach Janky Spanky, Clinton Portis has entertained teammates, local media and fans on a weekly basis in Washington with his creative identities.

This week, however, the fun and games inside the "Clinton's Characters" sitcom will be put on pause as Portis' costume will consist of just shoulder pads, a No. 26 jersey and a Redskins helmet.

"I'm not going to be a character this week," Portis told Philadelphia reporters this week. "Right now as a team we just want to find a way to come back home victorious."

Practicing is as far as Moss gets

Sunday could have been the day for rookie Sinorice Moss. Amani Toomer's season-ending knee injury could have helped the second-round pick gain a bigger role in the Giants' passing attack.

But Moss has to be content with practicing on consecutive days. He isn't going to play against the Bears despite being in the team portion of drills both Wednesday and yesterday, which he hadn't been able to do in more than a month.

"There's definitely an urge to get out there now, but I don't want any more setbacks. You can't rush it," said Moss, who has been sidelined by a strained quadriceps for all but one game.

Vilma working to fit in

HEMPSTEAD - There are expectations for any inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. But that doesn't mean there's a mold.

So while Jonathan Vilma specifically studied game film of the Patriots' Tedy Bruschi in the offseason as the Jets prepared to import New England's scheme, he is not Bruschi's carbon copy.

"He's different than a lot of those guys because - not that the other guys are slow - but Jon has very good speed and he's extremely rangy," Jets coach Eric Mangini said yesterday.

R. Lewis game-time decision for Sunday against Titans

Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is considered a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, coach Brian Billick said today.

Lewis bruised his back Sunday and has missed every practice this week. Lewis said he expected to start earlier in the week, but he doesn't seem to have gotten his mobility back yet.

"Everything's [structurally] fine, but it's stiff," Billick said of Lewis' back. "It hurts."

Seahawks' Jennings stunned at death of former teammate

SEATTLE - The distress spread one ring at a time. Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings' cellphone kept jingling, five, 10, 15 times at least. Maybe more. He lost count as the shocking news smothered his mind Tuesday night.

Someone fired a bullet into his former teammate's head. Bryan Pata was dead. This time last year, the two were reveling in the Miami's victory over rival Virginia Tech. Jennings later left Miami with degrees in finance and business management and realized his pro football dream after the Seahawks chose him in the 2006 draft.

Pata, 22, had similar aspirations. Gunfire stopped him.

"I couldn't believe it," Jennings said. "After you start hearing about it from 15 different people, though, it really sets in that he was gone."

Former Hurricane Lewis reflects on Miami tragedy

BALTIMORE - Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said this week that he plans to reach out to current University of Miami football players in the wake of the shooting death of defensive tackle Bryan Pata.

Lewis, who played for the Hurricanes in 1993-95, called on other ex-players to take a bigger role in shaping the school’s football program.

Pata’s death Tuesday was just one in a series of negative, high-profile stories surrounding the national power. Three weeks ago, the team was involved in a bench-clearing brawl with Florida International that furthered perpetuated an outlaw image at the school.

Words can't measure Webster's eagerness to start

ENGLEWOOD - Through one rehabilitation, then a second post-surgery, Nate Webster tried to convince himself everything would be the same in his right knee and he again would be imposing physically on an NFL playing field.

But the Broncos linebacker admitted Thursday, with nearly two years in the trainer's room, it was easy for negativity to creep into his thoughts.

"Being taken away from the game you love is not a good feeling. And not being able to run around the house with your kids and get outside and play with them was another hurtful feeling," Webster said.


Davenport earning praise for his many roles

Running back Najeh Davenport's contributions to the offense continued to grow on Sunday against the Broncos when he added the role of third down back.

Davenport replaced Verron Haynes, who was placed on injured reserve, in the role. He caught five passes for 57 yards and carried the ball twice for 17 yards.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger singled him out for his performance after the game and wide receiver Hines Ward sung his praises on his weekly radio show.

Salmons finds his role for the Kings

Like Tony La Russa, Kings coach Eric Musselman can appreciate a good utility player.

Sacramento has found one early on this season in John Salmons. The Kings signed the 6-foot-6 Salmons to a free agent deal in July and he has made general manager Geoff Petrie look good through the first five games of the season.

Salmons' versatility has been a godsend to Musselman. The Kings are without center Brad Miller for at least the rest of November and point guard Mike Bibby is hurting with a wrist injury.

Where's Bubba been?

For most of this season, Green Bay Packers tight end Bubba Franks has been the disappearing Pro Bowler.

Franks remains the Packers' starter and has been on the field all season. But in the box score, he's been a mirage.

In the last two weeks, Franks has been held without a catch. It's not that Franks hasn't had opportunities — he dropped two passes in Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills. In eight games this season, Franks has just 12 catches for 123 yards and no touchdowns.

Eric Winston Update

WINSTON'S WORK: Kubiak said he's been impressed with rookie Eric Winston's work ethic this season.

He hasn't played much so far while adjusting to the NFL, but could be pushed into service because of injuries.

"It's game day every day for Eric out here," Kubiak said. "He takes every snap of offense and he takes scout team. He plays left, he plays right. He's going through about three seasons, so it's going to be very beneficial for him."

Rookie left tackle Charles Spencer was the starter before breaking his leg in Week 2 and Ephraim Salaam has filled in since. But Salaam is struggling with minor nagging injuries.

"Before this year is out he's going to play a lot of football at some point," Kubiak said of Winston. "Ephraim is basically, barely could walk during the week, and is playing for us. If he's playing well and can hold up he's going to play, but there's going to be a point where Eric is going to go out there and get a lot of snaps."


R. Lewis, Reed sit out practice

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed did not practice yesterday at the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills and are questionable for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Lewis injured his back and Reed bruised his leg when the two collided on a fumble return that was eventually overturned during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 26-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Wayne inspired by brother, Colts' brotherhood

Speed, agility, focus, hands. These are some of the qualities scouts use to measure a wide receiver's talent. Now add in another factor: heart.

Heart -- as in passion, character, guts. It's what Tony Dungy looks for when adding a player to his increasingly successful squad. And heart is what led the Colts to re-sign Reggie Wayne this past offseason, giving the six-year veteran the third-largest deal among wide receivers in the league.

Wayne could have gone elsewhere to earn his fortune. He could have gone to another franchise with far less weapons, making him the sole go-to-guy. Instead, the 2001 first-round pick remained where he was -- in Indianapolis, with his Colts family, in his home away from home.

Eagles' McDougle says Miami player was `a good kid'

PHILADELPHIA - Jerome McDougle said it was just a coincidence.

It was a strange and horrible coincidence that Bryan Pata, the University of Miami player shot in the head and killed outside his apartment complex Tuesday night, played defensive lineman and wore No. 95 for the Hurricanes' storied football program.

McDougle also wore No. 95 when he played at Miami, and he wears it today with the Eagles. That, of course, is not the entire coincidence. McDougle was also a recent victim of gunfire, although he was fortunate that the bullet that entered his stomach did not cost him anything more than a football season.

Redskins rookie was friend of slain Hurricanes player - LB McIntosh played with Pata at Miami, recalls him as leader

ASHBURN -- Early yesterday morning, Rocky McIntosh was awakened by his dogs. They needed to go outside.

McIntosh, a rookie linebacker for the Washington Redskins, dutifully climbed out of bed and let the dogs out. On his way back to bed, around 12:30 a.m., he checked his cell phone and saw he had several text messages.

When he read them, he was shocked.

Tough Portis takes after his mother - The back is part of a fighting family.

Clinton Portis has shown unusual toughness this season, playing through a series of injuries while trying to hold the Washington Redskins' ground game together.

In short, Portis has shown the toughness of his mother, Rhonnel Hearn.

On New Year's Day when the Redskins defeated the Eagles, 31-20 in the regular-season finale at Lincoln Financial Field, Portis' mother was in a group of Washington fans that was hit by a thrown beer.

Moss continues to rehab

Week 3 of the Santana Moss Hamstring Watch began yesterday, and nothing has changed. The Washington Redskins receiver remains out of practice and is questionable for Sunday's game in Philadelphia.
Moss was injured in the second half of the Redskins' game at Indianapolis on Oct. 22 and has yet to go through a full workout. Coach Joe Gibbs said Moss did some running work during practice yesterday.

Before practice, Moss said: "I don't think it would be very smart to go out there and run wild. Rehabbing it, I feel fine, but I have to get to the point where I feel fine when I'm doing something. That's the next step."

Hester just can’t hang on

Devin Hester is a threat to break a long run every time he catches a punt for the Bears.

But he has to catch it first.

In a game in which nothing went right for the Bears, it is unseemly to extract one play for special examination.

But Hester’s inability to corral a second-quarter punt gave the visiting Miami Dolphins the field position they needed to move in for their first touchdown en route to a 31-13 victory Sunday at Soldier Field.

Moss Returns To Practice With Caution

Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss returned to practice yesterday, although not in a full capacity, while quarterback Mark Brunell rested, although he is scheduled to start Sunday in Philadelphia. Moss missed last week's game and is nursing a hamstring injury, and said he will have to progress daily this week in order to play.

Moss is Washington's best deep threat and top all-around receiver, and no one surpassed 70 yards receiving in his absence against the Cowboys. No other wide receiver on the team has even 200 receiving yards this season, and Moss wants badly to return, but is taking a cautious approach. Wet conditions have prompted an even more conservative attitude during practice.

Lewis shows his gentler side

BALTIMORE - Ravens star Ray Lewis, the subject of a Sports Illustrated story this week detailing the complicated linebacker’s life and faith, spoke Wednesday about a series of issues.

“I think it’s just a lot of things that will help a lot of men that truly have struggles in life,” Lewis said, on why he did the magazine interview. “And maybe a lot of them won’t speak about it, but I think it will help and really enlighten a lot of people.”

In the story, Lewis revealed the emotional toll a fatherless childhood took on him and vividly recalled sobbing two years ago when his father, Ray Jackson, said he would meet Lewis. When Lewis arrived, Jackson said he was not coming.

Winslow gets a KO, Gates a W - Browns tight end grabs 11 passes and some respect

San Diego -- In the heavyweight bout between San Diego native Kellen Winslow Jr. and Chargers star Antonio Gates -- as Winslow dubbed the meeting midweek -- Winslow won in a knockout.

The Browns tight end caught a career-high 11 passes for 78 yards, compared to two passes for 22 yards for Gates. The 11 catches were tied for second most in a game in Browns history.

"He did what he said he was going to do," said Browns quarterback Charlie Frye. "He came home and had a great game."

Bills RB McGahee out indefinitely

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Running back Willis McGahee is out indefinitely with three broken ribs, leaving the Bills without their best offensive threat against the Indianapolis Colts this weekend.

Coach Dick Jauron on Wednesday ruled McGahee out, adding the player's injury is more severe than initially thought. Jauron said follow-up tests showed McGahee damaged three ribs in Buffalo's 24-10 win over Green Bay last weekend.

McGahee was originally diagnosed with one broken rib and later tests showed breaks in two others.

The Gospel According to Ray Lewis

In the next issue of Sports Illustrated, Ray Lewis is on the cover. Click on the link below to see pictures from the feature. Once the magazine hits the stands you will be able to find the article scanned here in its entiriety.

For now enjoy the pictures by clicking here.


Dr. Z's Sleeper All-Pros

Stop Gore, and you stop the 49ers. Very seldom do you see a top runner on a team that's always playing catch-up.

Andre Johnson: The big Texans receiver is having a breakout year.

It's surprising that the Colts' exceptionally gifted Wayne has never been to the Pro Bowl.

Click to check out their pictures.

Rollin' With Cardinals running back Edgerrin James via IM

The last time I hung out with Edgerrin James, he was the Prince of the Desert, the hottest thing to hit Arizona since ... well, you know what I mean.
After the former Indianapolis Colts halfback signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals last March, he became the symbol of the rampant optimism surrounding the long-suffering franchise.

Five months later, when I arrived to cover the team's first preseason game at its sparkling new stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, James was large and in charge: scoring a Plasma TV for the locker room, shepherding a switch to black cleats and winning side bets from teammates on the sidelines and in local pool halls.


Wayne taking game to next level

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Reggie Wayne might be a Pro Bowl receiver in any other offence. At Indianapolis, however, he has long been the overlooked man.

With a record-setting quarterback and another record-setting receiver drawing the primary focus of defences, Wayne has crafted his skills and his temperament to fit the Colts needs. Rather than whine or lobby, he's learned how to get open, produce big numbers and score.

If others notice Marvin Harrison before they notice him, it doesn't bother Wayne.

"I'm the silent assassin," he said. "Really, I don't need all that because I learned from one of the best myself in Marvin."

McGahee, Reed Out For Sunday

Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - It was a dose of good news/bad news at One Bills Drive today. The bad news is that both Willis McGahee and Josh Reed are out for Sunday's game against the Colts. McGahee has a broken rib plus two cracked ribs. Reed was just released from the hospital yesterday after suffering a bruised kidney in last Sunday's game.


Packers: Franks moves to end of the block

GREEN BAY - What Bubba Franks is going through right now is essentially the grown- up, NFL version of your kid being demoted in the elementary school play.

Before, the Green Bay Packers' three-time Pro Bowl tight end had a key role. If the Packers' offense was "The Three Little Pigs," maybe he wasn't the big, bad wolf, but at least the second pig.

Browns' Winslow brings back glimpse of the past

(Sports Network) - Kellen Winslow Sr. was among the most revered players in San Diego Chargers history, not to mention one of the greatest tight ends the NFL has ever seen. His son appears to be quickly approaching that same legendary status.

Playing for the first time on the field where his father established his Hall of Fame credentials, Kellen Winslow II was the shining star for the Cleveland Browns in Sunday's 32-25 loss to the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The brash 23-year-old hauled in a career-high 11 Charlie Frye passes for 78 yards, backing up the considerable amount of self-promoting he did in the days leading up to his homecoming.

Chiefs sign CB Maxey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs claimed cornerback Marcus Maxey off waivers from Chicago on Tuesday.

Maxey entered the NFL as Kansas City's fifth-round selection in this year's draft. He will play under terms of the original three-year contract he signed with the Chiefs in July.


Week 9 Video Highlights Just Added!

Check out Week 9 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Reggie Wayne, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Ed Reed and more! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here!

NFL U Week 9 Season Gallery Updated!

Check out Week 9 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed and more by clicking above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Shockey gets TD, but miffed about one he didn't

He'd already had his postgame shower and was wearing a sharp pinstriped suit, but one detail gave away the brutal hits that Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey kept absorbing yesterday: He still had a rectangular red bruise on his forehead where the crown of his helmet had been. But it hardly mattered.

Shockey scored the Giants' winning touchdown in the fourth quarter anyway. He couldn't believe he had an earlier TD catch taken away. And he was his typical comical, irascible self after the shorthanded but favored Giants barely pulled out a 14-10 win against the visiting Houston Texans yesterday.

Moss Unsure If He'll Play Against Eagles

Receiver Santana Moss said his strained hamstring is healing but he is still unsure if he will be able to play this weekend in Philadelphia. Tackle Jon Jansen (calf), tight end Chris Cooley (shoulder) and tight end Christian Fauria (ankle) were among a handful of players receiving treatment yesterday at Redskins Park as well.

Moss, Washington's leading receiver by far, set a franchise record for receiving yards in 2005, and no other wide receiver on the team has even 200 yards this season. Coach Joe Gibbs said he is remaining optimistic about Moss being able to face the Eagles, but admits the injury could require another week of rest as some blood has gathered at the bottom of his left hamstring.

Shockey steps up, Texans go down - Giants tight end comes up big, hauls in 8 passes, including winning TD.

Jeremy Shockey knew he was expected to be a huge part of the game plan for the New York Giants on Sunday, and he was more than fine with that.

''Every week I want to be called upon,'' the 6-5, 251-pound tight end said. ''I don't care who's in or who's out … That's been my mind-set ever since I played football.''

‘Friendly fire’ hit bothers Lewis

BALTIMORE - Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis sat at his locker inside M&T Bank Stadium after Sunday’s game and kept rubbing his back. He was clearly in pain as, ever so slowly, he pulled himself up by the locker’s clothing rod.

He gingerly walked off to the showers and emerged a few minutes later. He dressed himself, put on his best smile and told the media about the bizarre confluence of events that led to his injury in the Ravens’ 26-20 win over the Bengals.

The Ravens thought they had come up with a fumble recovery, one that would eventually be reversed, on the play. Safety Ed Reed and Lewis collided. Reed’s leg was bruised, as was Lewis’ spine.

Marcus Maxey Update

McGowan is the second member of the secondary to be lost for the season. The Bears had waived cornerback Marcus Maxey to make room for him, but they can't get him back as he was claimed by his former team, the Kansas City Chiefs.


Browns’ Winslow shines in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Kellen Winslow walked out of the visitor’s training room at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday with both knees wrapped and told reporters that he needed to sit down to answer questions.

‘‘I’m messed up,’’ the Cleveland Browns tight end said. ‘‘It was a very physical game, and they (the Chargers) are a tough team. I’m aching and bruised up. That’s football, though.’’

Winslow was public enemy number one among Chargers’ fans because of comments he made last week. Winslow, whose father Kellen Sr. was a Hall of Fame tight end for the Chargers, said that he’s the best tight end in the NFL. The comment was considered to be a show of disrespect for San Diego Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates, who played at Kent State University.

McGahee likely to sit on Sunday - Broken rib may keep him on bench against the Colts

(November 7, 2006) — ORCHARD PARK — Although the Buffalo Bills won't say anything official, it is very likely that running back Willis McGahee will miss Sunday's game at Indianapolis with a broken rib.

Coach Dick Jauron announced Monday that McGahee broke his ninth rib early in the first quarter of Buffalo's 24-10 victory over Green Bay. "My understanding is we'll just see where it goes," Jauron said. "It's painful, obviously, and they'll do some more tests today. He's scheduled for a scan today to examine it further."

Sox close to re-signing Cora - Infielder may get two-year contract

With the Red Sox' middle-infield situation up in the air for 2007, team sources indicate that they are closing in on a two-year deal with Alex Cora, which should protect the Sox in case of an injury or if their offseason pursuits fall short.

Both Alex Gonzalez and Mark Loretta remain free agents, though the Sox have indicated they're not closing the door on either player. The Indians and Mets have expressed interest in Loretta, and the Sox meanwhile are exploring the possibility of free agent Julio Lugo, who basically became a jack of all trades for the Dodgers after he was dealt from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles at the trade deadline.

Shockey’s Output Overrides Outbursts

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 5 — Jeremy Shockey is at his best when he is timid with his mouth and reckless with his body. It is exactly how the Giants prefer Shockey, their tight end — quiet off the field, making waves on it.

Early in the season, that formula was reversed. The biggest noise he made came in the visitors’ locker room in Seattle, where he told reporters that the Giants were “outplayed and outcoached” during a 42-30 loss to the Seahawks.

The Giants have won five games in a row since. And Shockey, whose mood seems to rise and fall with the number of big plays he makes, has scored four touchdowns in the last three weeks.

Leon Williams Update

Linebacker Leon Williams was carted off the field in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Williams also said that X-rays were negative.


Prisuta: Davenport believes Steelers will rebound

A 2-6 record at the season's midway point suggests it's maybe time for the Steelers to throw in the towel.

But coach Bill Cowher said he's "not concerned" about his players giving up or giving in following Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field.

"Nobody is going to let that happen," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

From running back Najeh Davenport's perspective, actions will speak louder than words, as the Steelers endeavor to keep it together.


SLOWLY, with deliberate defi ance, the angry attrition of the season strips layers from a football team, systematically picking off key elements like a sadistic sniper. A linebacker here. A defensive lineman there. A wide receiver. A cornerback. On and on.

The whirlpool starts to look like Coney Island on the Fourth of July. The trainer's table groans under the constant strain. No matter what shade of vestments you normally wear, the unofficial team colors of the NFL are black and blue, especially once November arrives.

"It's a tough game," Jeremy Shockey said yesterday. "Nothing new there."

Err-muffs: Hester eyes improvement

Devin Hester appeared to have happy feet trying to return punts Sunday. And the rookie speedster was anything but happy about his botched attempts to secure the football against the Dolphins.

With the Dolphins trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, Donnie Jones punted 47 yards to the Bears' 6-yard line. Hester muffed the catch, and the ball was recovered by Miami's Eddie Jackson. Three plays later, Joey Harrington hooked up with Marty Booker for a 5-yard touchdown pass and the Dolphins never trailed thereafter.

Winslow boasting ‘I am the best’ miffs Gates - Browns TE ‘hasn't played long enough,’ says angry Chargers tight end

SAN DIEGO - Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates doesn’t care much for Kellen Winslow’s boasting, which could make Sunday’s home game with the Cleveland Browns much more interesting.

On Wednesday, Winslow hyped his matchup with Gates as “a heavyweight match. It’s me versus Gates. I want to be the best tight end out there.”

Winslow, whose 40 catches lead all tight ends, mentioned that Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez is behind him on the receptions list, followed by Gates.

Can Eric Winston break the Texans left tackle jinx?

All the talk radio this week has been about David Carr's poor showing against the Titans. He's starting against the Giants despite Sage Rosenfels poised performance in relief.

Coaches either have revolving door quarterback philosophies or they don't, and Gary Kubiak seems to have a great deal of respect for how difficult it is to be consistent week to week at the that position. (Already talked about that, we'll see how that works out).

Though the quarterback position is the one that gets the most focus, I am particularly interested in what is happening on the offensive line. The 2006 Texans draft class has played a lot of minutes for the team, with the exception of Eric Winston, who has mostly come in during injury situations.

Broncos extend Webster's deal

The Broncos on Saturday extended the contract of another backup defensive player by working a deal with linebacker Nate Webster.

Webster, who signed a one-year contract in May, is now locked up through 2008. Webster s base salary this season was raised by about $900,000. Monday, Denver gave prospective restricted free agent defensive tackle Demetrin Veal a two-year extension.

"This is a very good development for Nate," said Webster's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. "Nate loves it in Denver and was very happy to see the team having this interest in him."

Webster hasn't played this season but the team considers him a viable injury replacement at all three linebacker spots.


Sapp takes job, loves it

Warren Sapp sounds like a man on his second honeymoon these days, adding up the good and the bad and realizing that he is more in love than ever before. He adores his job anew, gushes about his teammates and savors every play.

"There's nothing like defense, nothing, nothing,'' Sapp said last week, like a preacher leading a revival meeting. "I don't care what they say about offense. There's nothing like playing defense with 10 other guys who want it and love it, and go hit and stick and run around like wild men. It's a great thing. It's a great thing.''

Sapp's infatuation didn't refresh itself conveniently, just as the Raiders' season developed a pulse. He has felt that way most of the season, minus several moments of despair that crept in during the team's 0-5 start. He learned last year that not playing hurts even more than losing.

McIntosh on Special Assignment Until His Opportunity

Rocky McIntosh has spent a half-season on the bench before, only then nobody noticed. The Washington Redskins' rookie linebacker was a freshman at Miami in 2002 and did not begin playing regularly that season until the final four games. Once he grabbed that starting job, however, McIntosh never let go, starting in the national championship game that season. He is waiting patiently for his time to come again.

Thus far, McIntosh has not been given a chance to play, paying his dues on special teams while stuck behind struggling weak-side linebacker Warrick Holdman on the defensive depth chart. Learning assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams's complex scheme has been challenging for many veteran free agents, so for McIntosh to progress slowly was expected. For him to have not played on defense at all -- even in pass-rush or third-down situations -- has surprised some around the league, though.