Moss likely out tomorrow

As if making his first NFL start without record-setting running back Clinton Portis wasn't enough of a burden for Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, he also won't have Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss to throw to tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Moss didn't practice for a second straight day because of a strained left hamstring and said he won't play, although coach Joe Gibbs opted to hold out hope for a miraculous recovery by kickoff. Moss, who was hurt on Oct. 22 at Indianapolis, missed the Dallas game on Nov. 5 -- his first absence in two seasons with Washington.

Davenport puts 255 pounds to good use as Steelers' return man

In a league where size and speed have increased with regularity, not many teams have resorted to using a 255-pound kick-returner. Such, though, is the case with the Steelers' Najeh Davenport, an unlikely return man who has produced surprisingly good results.

Even Bill Cowher, a former special-teams standout as an NFL player, questions the sanity of those who try to tackle him.

"I know if I was on kickoff-coverage team, to see him catch that ball on a dead run and coming at me, even if I wasn't blocked, I'm sure it's not a real inviting sight," Cowher said.


Bears may challenge Hester to dual (role) - Rookie specialist also would run back kickoffs, writes Don Pierson

Devin Hester is having a ball. Now if he just had the ball more often. The Bears are thinking about letting him return kickoffs for Sunday's encore at the Meadowlands.

"We'll try to get his hands on the ball as much as possible," coach Lovie Smith said. "That will basically be with the return game."

Except for two kickoff returns this season, Hester has been limited to punt returns. But by taking that short field-goal attempt against the Giants back 108 yards, he apparently passed a test. He's ready for extended duty. After all, a missed field goal looks like a kickoff.

After a Tumultuous Start, Winslow's Finally Reached Stardom

In the spring of 2004, the NFL was ready to label Kellen Winslow its next big star. One year, two games, and two major injuries later, the pendulum had swung so far in the other direction that Winslow was about to be labeled the league's next big bust. Now, in the third year of his career, Winslow is finally getting the chance to show what kind of player he is: the best tight end in the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns had big plans for Winslow when they traded first- and second-round picks to select him with the sixth pick of the 2004 draft. The league had big plans for him, too. Before he ever stepped on the field, Winslow was already appearing in NFL commercials, and his jersey was one of the most profitable items in the NFL's lucrative merchandising department. Winslow seemed preordained to follow his father, also a tight end named Kellen, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Injury roundup: Ravens' Ray Lewis ruled out for Atlanta game

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens officially ruled out linebacker Ray Lewis for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons with a swollen back.

Lewis underwent a minor surgical procedure to have a pocket of blood drained from his back earlier this week.

The seven-time All-Pro will miss his second consecutive game. He severely bruised his back when he collided with teammate Ed Reed's knee in a Nov. 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Team officials are hopeful that the surgery will allow Lewis to play next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"The other guys have to step up," Ravens coach Brian Billick said on Friday. "You don't have that comfort zone of always leaning on Ray. They have to make sure they pick up that leadership role as well."

The Ravens (7-2) are preparing versatile outside linebacker/defensive end Jarret Johnson to start at inside linebacker with former practice squad member Dennis Haley filling in on obvious passing downs. Starting inside linebacker Bart Scott will move over to play Lewis' spot, with Johnson occupying Scott's normal position.


Red Sox re-sign Cora - Veteran infielder inks two-year deal to remain in Boston

BOSTON -- The Red Sox won't have to worry about replacing dependable and versatile infield reserve Alex Cora. Instead, the club officially announced Friday that it has re-signed the left-handed-hitting veteran to a two-year contract.

In actuality, general manager Theo Epstein struck the deal with Cora's representatives roughly 10 days ago. With Cora in Boston, he held court Friday afternoon in the Red Sox's clubhouse to discuss his decision to stay.

Cora said after the season that the chances of him coming back were 50-50. The one reason Cora might have considered departing the Red Sox would have been to pursue an everyday job.


The Gospel According to Ray Lewis, God's Linebacker

Check out Sports Illustrated's Feature on Ray Lewis from the November 13, 2006 magazine. Click on the pictures to enlarge the article to read. Enjoy!

th_Cover th_2 th_3 th_4 th_5 th_6th_7 th_8 th_9 th_10


November 17, 2006 -- This year, William Joseph, the Giants' 2003 first-round pick, has been very quiet - on and off the field.

On the field, after starting a career-high 10 games last season, the defensive tackle had been nearly invisible until starting last Sunday against the Bears. He only did so because nearly every other defensive lineman was draped in bandages.

Off the field, Joseph has been as silent as a Charlie Chaplin film. In fact, when he conducted an interview with The Post yesterday, it was believed to be his first of the year.

Davenport fills role nicely for Steelers

Najeh Davenport didn't welcome a change of scenery as much as he did a change of culture.

That may seem odd, considering the running back went from one franchise with a storied history and fanatical fans -- Green Bay -- to another when he signed with the Steelers.

But after coach Bill Cowher told the fifth-year pro to simply play, the 247-pound Davenport felt considerably lighter. And if starting running back Willie Parker is on his way to a big year, Davenport is on his way to a somewhat redeeming one.



Rookie cornerback Kelly Jennings sat out the end of practice after the first-round draft choice injured his left knee. The injury was not considered serious, and Jennings was not added to the injury report.

With starter Kelly Herndon sitting out a second consecutive day to rest a sore hamstring, Jimmy Williams worked at left cornerback with the No. 1 defense.


Winston set for first NFL start

HOUSTON - The first time Houston Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston started in college it was at tight end. So his first NFL start will likely be quite a bit different.

Winston is set to start at right tackle in place of Zach Wiegert, who is out for the season with a knee injury. The rookie played tight end throughout high school and in his first year at Miami, but soon outgrew the position and was moved to tackle the next season.

The 6-foot-7, 310-pound player was chosen in the third round of the draft and has appeared in five games this season. Winston and coaches agree that he's improved a lot since arriving in Houston.

"I've grown by leaps and bounds," Winston said. "It's amazing. Looking back on four games ago and then the start of the season and the start of training camp, I think I've come a long way and I think I've really progressed well. I've really put myself in a good position to go out there and play well."

Sinorice Moss close to returning to Giants lineup

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Sinorice Moss spoke with a sense of excitement and anticipation on Thursday for the first time in more than a month.

That nagging leg injury that has limited him to one game this season is finally feeling better and there is an outside chance the New York Giants' second-round draft pick will be catching passes on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Moss' television will no longer be subject to weekly abuse on Sundays from an angry football player wishing he were on the field.

FBN Browns Winslow

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Jim Brown slowly worked his way around Cleveland's locker room in Atlanta last Sunday, shaking hands and congratulating players on a rare road win for the Browns.

``Good game,'' the Hall of Fame running back told the son of a fellow Hall of Famer.

Brown also marveled at a fourth-quarter catch by Kellen Winslow, who took both the reception and praise in stride.

Healthy Sapp feels rejuvenated after injury-shortened season

ALAMEDA, Calif. - The struggles from his first season in Oakland when he was forced to play out of position are far behind Warren Sapp. So is the rotator cuff injury that cut short last season.

The loquacious defensive tackle that spent much of his career terrorizing opposing offenses is back at it again, trash-talking opponents and sacking quarterbacks.

"He's getting back to the old Warren Sapp that we all know," coach Art Shell said.

Damione Lewis Update

On defensive tackle Damione Lewis: He's a guy that we picked up in free agency (from St. Louis). He came out (of college) very highly touted. Things haven't gone just like I think he had planned. He's come here and gotten a breath of fresh air. Coming in for us, he's been playing our third tackle. He's a quick guy with good pass rush skills. It's a dimension that we've needed, and we feel like he's filled that for us.


Vinny tests his arm - Testaverde happy to be back on field

FOXBOROUGH -- Tom Brady liked what he saw after spotting newly signed quarterback Vinny Testaverde for the first time at Gillette Stadium this week.

"He's a very impressive guy, in great shape," Brady said. "I hope I look like that when I'm 43. I'll probably be in a wheelchair."

Testaverde, who turned 43 Monday , participated in his first practice with the Patriots yesterday. He donned jersey No. 14, long associated with former quarterback Steve Grogan.

R. Lewis has surgery for back injury - Procedure does not immediately rule LB out for Falcons game

Ray Lewis underwent surgery to have blood in his back drained Wednesday, but the procedure doesn't immediately rule him out of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Lewis, who severely bruised his back on Nov. 5, is expected to remain questionable on Thursday's report. There is still some hope that Lewis could recover over the next couple of days to play, although that's probably optimistic.

With Lewis sidelined from practice, the Ravens have been using Jarret Johnson at inside linebacker.

If Lewis can't play Sunday, the Ravens hope Wednesday's procedure will allow him to play next week.

Coach Brian Billick addressed Lewis' condition in Monday's news conference, saying, "They've got to break that pool of blood that's moving around his back ... in whatever way they can. As I understand it, once that's released, he should be fine."


Fame game: Hall eyes piece of Hester

Devin Hester appreciates the honors. Well, sort of.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame called the Bears on Wednesday to ask for a Hester "artifact" from his record-tying 108-yard return of a missed New York Giants field goal.
The Hall received the orange jersey Nathan Vasher wore when he performed the feat last year, but Hester isn't sure he would like his uniform enshrined next to his teammate's.

"The jersey from Sunday?" asked Hester, whose feat and feet earned him the distinction of being NFC special teams player of the week. "I'd hate to give that one up. Could they just take any of my jerseys?"


Damione Lewis comments on Butch Davis to UNC

Defensive tackle Damione Lewis gave the University of North Carolina a big thumbs-up for hiring coach Butch Davis. "He's going to demand a lot from them," said Lewis, who played for Davis at the University of Miami. "He's going to really work them and take their work ethic to a whole new level. He's a great guy to play for. If you do what he asks, he'll take care of you."


Morgan expects to play next season

Linebacker Dan Morgan reiterated Wednesday that he expects to return next season."I feel great; I'm ready to come back next year and get it rolling," he said before entering Bank of America Stadium to lift weights. "I've been sitting and watching the games, I feel totally fine and I'm ready to go."

Morgan was put on the injured reserve list and is out for the season after suffering a concussion in the season opener.

Morgan said he no longer has headaches or other symptoms from the concussion. He's scheduled to meet again in February with a doctor who specializes in the treatment of concussions.

"I definitely feel like I could be out there and making our defense even better, but it's easy saying that in the stands," he said. "The doctors wanted to make sure there were no problems next year, that's why they sat me the rest of this year. Nothing's guaranteed, but it's given me a great shot to come back next year and be real healthy."


Winning is something unfamiliar to Lang

ENGLEWOOD - Kenard Lang hoped there would be days like these.

After four seasons in Cleveland, when the team never finished better than 9-7 and played in only one postseason game, along with five seasons in Washington, when the team played in only two postseason games, Lang said he likes the view from his spot with the 7-2 Broncos.

"Everything really started to kick in when we started winning," Lang said. "We got to 3-1, to 4-1, now we're 7-2. That's the thing I'm most proud about, we're winning. That's the thing that makes me happy.

Bears' Hester amazing

LAKE FOREST -- Since making his 108-yard touchdown return with a missed field goal, Bears rookie Devin Hester has been fielding more phone calls than practice punts.

Old coaches have called with congratulations. Deion Sanders -- his mentor -- and family members have called warning him to maintain focus amid all the accolades. And then there are the other calls.

"A lot of times old friends that I had crushes on in high school are starting to call me now," Hester said. "It's crazy."

Hester leads NFC weekly honors

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Chicago's Devin Hester, who tied an NFL record with a 108-yard return, was selected the NFC's special teams player of the week.


Redskins RB Portis to miss rest of season

ASHBURN, Va., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Clinton Portis, who suffered a broken hand last week, has been placed on injured reserve, ending the Washington Redskins running back's season.

Portis broke a bone in his hand early in Washington's loss at Philadelphia last Sunday.

Doctors surgically placed three screws in the fourth metacarpal of Portis's right hand and said he would miss 3-4 weeks. However, by placing the running back on injured reserve, barring him from returning this season, the Redskins allow Portis to sooner undergo shoulder surgery that had been planned for the offseason, the team said Wednesday.

Ladell Betts is expected to take Portis's spot in the starting lineup.

In eight games this season, Portis, 25, had 523 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. In four previous NFL seasons, Portis never totaled less than 1,315 rushing yards.

Washington signed tight end Brian Kozlowski to take Portis's spot on the roster.

Davenport has Parker’s back

There was no doubt about who would be the Steelers' starting running back this season. And now it's also clear who is his backup.

Willie Parker earned the right to be the starter full-time with his performance early in the 2005 season when both Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley were rehabilitating injuries, and he cemented his status at the exact moment he blew past Seattle safety Michael Boulware on the way to that 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL.

But if the starting spot was not an issue, there was some question about which player would fill the role as Parker's complement, because Coach Bill Cowher always has believed that to run the football the way the Steelers want to run the football, one back is never enough.


Webster defines opportunity - Promoted linebacker making most of chance to contribute

On his first series back as a starter Sunday, Nate Webster's helmet flew off his head, exposing his braided hair to the autumn wind of Oakland.

Webster could smell the NFL again.

"Loved it, man, loved it," Webster said. "This is the real thing. I missed it."

Webster played in place of injured outside linebacker Ian Gold in the Broncos' 17-13 win. If Gold, who suffered a hamstring injury at Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, can't play Sunday night against San Diego at Invesco Field at Mile High, Webster likely will start again. Coach Mike Shanahan said Gold and defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, who didn't play against the Raiders because of a thigh injury, will be evaluated this week to monitor their availability for the AFC West showdown against the Chargers.

Pats sign 43-year-old Testaverde - Veteran QB comes out of retirement to join sixth team

FOXBOROUGH, Mass (AP) -- Vinny Testaverde, who came out of retirement last season to help out the New York Jets, was signed on Tuesday by New England.

The 43-year-old quarterback, the first overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 1987 draft, has played 19 NFL seasons and has 269 touchdown passes, eighth in NFL history, and is sixth with 45,252 yards passing.

He becomes the third quarterback on the Patriots roster, behind Tom Brady and second-year man Matt Cassel.


Sapp Goes Back to School

Earlier today, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp accompanied 5th grader Nicholas Chelemedos to his school, El Sobrante Christian School in El Sobrante, Calif., for the NFL's "Take A Player To School" event presented by the JC Penny Afterschool Program.

Out of 132,000 entries, Nick along with 34 other youngsters across the United States, had the opportunity to take a player to school. "I found out that I won two weeks ago and I was so excited. When my mom told me that I won I just stared at her with my jaw on the floor," said Nick.

Sapp arrived at the Chelemedos' house, bearing gifts and excited to begin the activities. Before heading off to school they talked, ate breakfast, and signed autographs.

Hester's joy mixes with thoughts of slain pal Pata

In the hours immediately after Devin Hester's historic 108-yard field-goal return for a touchdown Sunday night against the Giants, his mind raced even faster than his legs.

But between thoughts of NFL immortality and the possibility of playing in a Super Bowl near his hometown of Miami, Hester paused to remember a friend.

NFL U Week 10 Video Highlights

Check out Week 10 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Reggie Wayne, Kellen Winslow, Warren Sapp, and Devin Hester's 108 yard field goal return! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here!

Culture shock to his system (Guillermo Diaz)

NYMBURK, CZECH REPUBLIC — Guillermo Diaz, who grew up in Puerto Rico speaking only Spanish, never dreamed his life would take this kind of a twist.

But now that the Clippers' second-round draft pick is playing his rookie season of pro basketball in the Czech Republic, he has become so desperate for English-language programming that he recently installed a satellite dish that shows mostly soccer games from Britain.

"At least I can understand what they are saying," Diaz said. "Before that, all I had were Czech stations."

Gore best of 'Canes, but he's no L.T.

Edgerrin James turned into a star, as did Clinton Portis, as did Willis McGahee. Yet of all the great backs the 'Canes have provided, none has been more productive this season than ... San Francisco's Frank Gore.

Already this season, Gore has piled up 831 yards -- 247 more than James' 584, 252 more than McGahee's 579, and 318 more than Portis' 523.

Gore is now on pace to become the first 49ers running back since 2003 to post a 1,000-yard season. And even though he suffered a concussion during a victory against Detroit, San Francisco says Gore is probable for the Nov. 19 game against Seattle.

Gore ailing but is expected to play

Coach Mike Nolan said he expects Frank Gore will play Sunday against Seattle, although the standout running back could miss some practice as a precaution.

Gore is coming off a big game -- and a concussion.

``He said he felt a little lightheaded, but I think he'll be fine,'' Nolan said Monday.

Gore rushed for 159 yards Sunday, including a 61-yard touchdown run that set the tone for the 49ers' 19-13 upset at Detroit. He rushed for only 11 yards in the second half, though, after suffering what Nolan called a mild concussion.

Gore, like the rest of the players, had the day off Monday and was unavailable for comment. A team spokesman said the running back went through a routine checkup as a precaution and that all indications are he will play Sunday against Seattle.


NFL U Week 10 Season Gallery Updated With More Pictures

Check out Week 10 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Devin Hester and more by clicking above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Redskins' Portis has surgery, out 3-4 weeks Running back has screws inserted after breaking bone in hand

ASHBURN, Va. - Redskins running back Clinton Portis is recovering from surgery on a broken bone in his right hand and is expected to be sidelined up to four weeks.

Portis had three screws inserts into the ring finger bone, which was broken late in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-3 loss to Philadelphia. He’ll wear a cast for a week to help control swelling, then some kind of splint during the rest of his rehabilitation.

Portis conceivably could be done for the year. He’s had four injuries in three months and isn’t due to return until mid-December. The Redskins are 3-and-6 -- and barring a turnaround -- will likely be well out of contention by then.


Miami Mafia busted

PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Gibbs loves players from the University of Miami.

One of his first moves upon returning to the Redskins in 2004 was trading franchise cornerback Champ Bailey for ex-Hurricanes running back Clinton Portis.

Seven weeks later, Gibbs chose Hurricanes safety Sean Taylor fifth overall in the draft.

The Redskins' renaissance began last season with the acquisition of former Hurricane Santana Moss from the Jets for disgruntled fellow receiver Laveranues Coles.

Magic man pulls a fast one - Rookie equals Vasher's record return

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One hundred eight yards and a cloud of dust!

Yes, the favorite play in the Bears' playbook is back.

Don't go telling Devin Hester that a football field is supposed to be 100 yards long.

The rookie did the same thing Sunday night to the New York Giants that teammate Nathan Vasher did to the San Francisco 49ers last Nov. 13—yes, a year ago this very day—when he returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown.

Gore starting to make tracks - RB racks up 159 yards

(11-13) 04:00 PST Detroit -- Frank Gore, who was battling the after-effects of a concussion, didn't speak to the media after the 49ers' 19-13 win over the Lions on Sunday. He let his play on the field speak for him, amassing a career-high 159 rushing yards and setting up his team for victory.

Gore and his offensive line dominated the first half, when he raced for 148 yards (a team record for a half) including a 61-yard touchdown on the opening drive. The 49ers controlled the first-half clock behind Gore for 21:19 compared with Detroit's 8:41 time of possession. If the 49ers had been anything but bumbling in the red zone, the game would have been over by halftime.

No longer Lang-uishing

Oakland - Ain't no notes column high enough. ...

First he was playing out of position. Then he wasn't playing at all. Then he was out of a job.

So much for Kenard Lang's 2005 season in Cleveland. These days, he's living large in Denver.

Lang was the one who came off the corner to force a fumble by Andrew Walter that sealed the Broncos' 17-13 victory over the Raiders. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The sack was his sixth, tying him with Elvis Dumervil for the team lead and putting him on pace for double digits for the first time in his 10-year NFL career.

Raptors claim no bitterness over Salmons

No hard feelings, John. The Toronto Raptors finally got to see John Salmons in person last night but there was no lingering bitterness over his decision to spurn the team and its huge contract offer.

''The good thing is, we're glad he was honest and told us,'' coach Sam Mitchell said. In July, Salmons reneged on an agreement to take a five-year contract worth $25 million US.

Winslow cuts through the chatter

Given the choice between memora ble Kellen Winslow Jr. video highlights and Winslow audio, a fair segment of the Browns congregation would keep eyes wide open and ears covered.

This Sunday was for them - a deliverance with no sermon.

The Browns took a ride up in the standings without Winslow elevating himself to the Pro Bowl or Canton or a bronzing on the lakefront some day. Five catches for 90 yards and a silent soundtrack. All in all, a good day.

Joseph ends up in a starting role

William Joseph has been considered by many to be a disappointment as a defensive tackle since being drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2003 draft.

Well, now he's getting a shot to prove himself at end -- at least temporarily.

Joseph was a surprise starter at left end last night against the Bears in place of injured Pro Bowler Michael Strahan, who is out 2-4 weeks with a sprained foot. The Giants were also without starting right end Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor) and backup Justin Tuck (foot), who were injured against the Cowboys three weeks ago.

A little jab does trick with game on the line - Weary, Winston lead way for Gado on 4th-and-inches

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. - It's a simple play with a simple goal and a simple name: 12 jab.

After the Texans ran the ball to pick up a crucial first down on fourth-and-less-than-a-foot from their 41 with 1:40 left in the game Sunday, offensive tackle Zach Weigert took to calling it the "Fred Weary Special." It was special indeed after a 13-10 victory.

"As an offensive lineman, you want the game on your shoulders in a situation like that," said Weary, the Texans' right guard, who led the way on Samkon Gado's plunge. "It hasn't been that way for the offensive line for the past four years, so we're starting to get a little walk about us.


DETROIT - The draw play to Frank Gore began as a long-shot attempt to convert a third-and-16 play, but the 49ers running back turned it into a 61-yard touchdown Sunday.

The score was the first of the day in the 49ers' 19-13 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Gore burst through a hole opened by guard Larry Allen, who leveled defensive tackle Cory Redding. Gore emerged through safety Kenoy Kennedy's tackle and angled to the right while shaking off a couple of more defenders before breaking away for the 49ers' longest run of the season.

Redskins report: Portis could miss a month with broken hand

PHILADELPHIA - The Redskins won't have Clinton Portis for as much as a month after the star running back broke his right hand in Washington's 27-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Portis will have a couple of screws inserted in the knuckle of his right ring finger for "stability," perhaps as early as today. Director of sports medicine

Bubba Tyer indicated that it will take at least three weeks before the team's leading rusher can return, possibly longer. "He's got to be able to use his hand," Tyer said. "He's got to be able to secure the football."

Harris: Q&A with Najeh Davenport

In his first game with the Steelers, running back Najeh Devenport caught a 32-yard pass against San Diego for the longest catch of his five-year NFL career.

The next week, against Kansas City, Davenport rushed 12 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. His 48-yard run against the Chiefs tied a Heinz Field record for the Steelers' longest running play. Last Sunday, against Denver, Davenport set a new career-high with five catches for 57 yards. He also returned one kickoff for 23 yards, and is averaging 22.3 yards on four kickoff returns this season.

The versatile Davenport, who signed with the Steleers on Sept. 8, is developing into a change-of-pace back behind starter Willie Parker, a 6-1, 247-pounder with speed, who has the ability catch passes, run inside and contribute on special teams.

Toronto wasn't a fit for new King Salmons - The swingman was all set to join the Raptors but backed out of the deal.

As long as the Toronto Raptors were headed this way, John Salmons knew the question wasn't too far behind.

"I knew that one was coming," the Kings swingman says with a shrug and a smile. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about it."

It was, Salmons says, the hardest thing he ever went through, an admission that won't spark sympathy from the Raptors or -- for that matter -- the Phoenix Suns.


Injuries, New Scheme Painful for Portis

Somehow, a leg always is tucked awkwardly behind his back as the bodies fall to the ground. Inevitably, the helmet of a tackler cracks into his ankle. Without fail, someone at the bottom of the pile lands a few shots on his shoulder or knee.

It has been that kind of season for Washington Redskins tailback Clinton Portis. The durable and diminutive runner suffered a partially dislocated shoulder on the eighth play of the exhibition season and has not been healthy since. He has gutted his way through games, but been forced to sit out for considerable sequences each contest as the shoulder, knee and ankle injuries mount. The player most central to the fortunes of Washington's offense -- if not to the entire team -- has been cast in a more complementary role in 2006, suffering through an unproductive first half while the Redskins limped to a 3-5 record.

Sapp is linchpin of Raiders' defense

ALAMEDA, Calif. - The whispers started in 2003, on the East Coast. The player in question thought: Don't they know I'm a seven-time Pro Bowler?

The criticism grew louder the following year, this time emanating from the West Coast. The player thought: Don't they know that I'm playing out of position, that I'm taking one for the team?

It seems as if no one cared why Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp no longer was the dominant player he was for so long with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or that his resume is the envy of most of his peers. Produce or move on was the sentiment that ruled the day.