Reserve Hite (25 points) makes push for a spot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. The Heat doesn't figure to look like this again -- and that has nothing to do with its uneven play and frenzied comeback in Friday night's 96-95 exhibition loss to the Grizzlies at FedExForum.

With Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade given the night off by coach Pat Riley, the game essentially turned into the final amateur hour before tonight's turn to a more measured approach in San Antonio.

While rotation regulars Udonis Haslem, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning were in the starting lineup, Riley also took extended looks at forward Wayne Simien, center Earl Barron and guards Robert Hite and Chris Quinn.


McDougle gradually working his way back

IF YOU GO by the stats, Jerome McDougle is the biggest draft-day boondoggle of the Andy Reid era.

In 2003, the Eagles traded up, sending their first-round pick, 30th overall, and a second-rounder (62nd overall) to the Chargers for the privilege of making McDougle the 15th player chosen. In nearly 3 seasons, McDougle has played in 23 of the team's 54 games, made 15 solo tackles, and managed two sacks. Even Freddie Mitchell had more of an impact than that, and Freddie cost only one draft choice.

But McDougle and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson think that the perception of McDougle is about to change, that the former Miami star is finally close to contributing significantly. Johnson said yesterday that McDougle played well Sunday in New Orleans and will see more snaps tomorrow at Tampa Bay. Johnson didn't say so, but the increased role might also have something to do with starter Darren Howard's groin problem; Howard is expected to play, but is listed as questionable and might not be 100 percent.

Rolle, Green pleased to combine their talent

When they were selected together on the first day of the 2005 draft, Antrel Rolle and Eric Green shared a goal of lining up across from one another in the Arizona Cardinals secondary.

They are not only manning the team’s cornerback positions but they are coming off their best game as a professional tandem. The duo combined for six tackles and four passes defensed as the Cardinals held the Bears to 148 passing yards.

Rolle, a first-round pick out of Miami, and Green, a third-rounder from Virginia Tech, played against one another in college, so they were familiar with one another’s style before landing on the same roster

Getting in Edgewise - Edgerrin James hopes new game plan opens running lanes

I'm staring at the duplicity that is Edgerrin James. No, seriously. He possesses adjacent locker spaces at the Cardinals practice facility, one that says, "Edge," the other, "Edgerrin James."

Justin Timberlake's
SexyBack is spilling out of the running back's stereo, although he insists it's just a coincidence, not a statement of self-perception. James, with his dreads, gold teeth and expensive suits may be audacious, but he has earned that right, and the sooner the Cardinals find a way to capitalize on his talents, the better.

James suggested Thursday that the promotion of offensive coordinator Mike Kruczek would help his cause.

Davenport relishes Steelers' approach

After four seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Najeh Davenport is relieved to have a change of scenery. After four years of rules, fines and what he said was an emphasis on upholding a storied image, he is glad to be with a team that can laugh, joke and win. Not to mention not worry about his weight.

Davenport said it is one of the reasons he feels refreshed and invigorated with the Steelers, who signed him last month as a backup running back. And one of the reasons he already has made several big plays for his new team, despite limited appearances.

"This is a different atmosphere," Davenport said. "Green Bay, you really had to treat it like a job, like a job-job, like working at Taco Bell, not like a career job. Here, I don't see that. I don't get that feeling. You're here to play football and you're doing something that you lov


The Indianapolis Colts can expect to see a lot of Clinton Portis on Sunday when they meet the Washington Redskins in an interconference matchup.

Despite being one of two unbeaten teams along with Chicago, Indianapolis rank last in the league against the run, allowing 166.8 yards per game.

The Colts took a step towards improving against the run prior to Tuesday's trade deadline, acquiring defensive tackle Anthony McFarland from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a second-round pick in 2007.

Ed Reed Update

I'm assuming the Ravens will start to buckle down on safety Ed Reed and some of his freelancing in the secondary. It was one of the plays that cost the Ravens Sunday against Carolina when Reed tried to anticipate a short pass to Keyshawn Johnson, and Jake Delhomme went over the top on the long pass to Steve Smith. Reed has gotten burned trying to make plays before, only Will Demps was the one who always looked like he was out of position. This time, it was cornerback Samari Rolle. A number of Ravens defensive players seemed agitated after the game and that might be the key to Reed staying in position. In the Ravens' scheme, especially since they blitz so often, you have to be extremely disciplined, and be where you're supposed to be.


Kelly Jennings Update

Seahawks rookie cornerback Kelly Jennings, who played at Miami, watched replays of the Hurricanes’ brawl against Florida International on Saturday with shock and concern.

The shock was seeing so many players fighting, kicking and swinging helmets. The concern was for his nephew, Bruce Johnson, who now plays for the Hurricanes.

Johnson, a sophomore defensive back and punt returner, emerged from the brawl OK but was one of the 13 Miami players suspended.

“He’s kind of a hothead sometimes, and I’m trying to teach him a little bit of what I’ve learned,” Jennings said, adding that he agrees with the suspensions.

He said events like Saturday’s only feed into the negative image of Hurricanes players being thugs, which he said is a bad rap.

“Yes it is,” he said gesturing to the locker room and laughing. “I get that from these guys all the time.”


Winslow on pace for breakout season, but . .

BEREA, Ohio - Kellen Winslow leads all NFL tight ends with 30 catches and is on pace for 96 receptions.

Does Winslow now believe he is being utilized properly in the Browns' offense?

"Sometimes," he said Thursday.

He continued.

"But I got to do what the coaches say," Winslow said. "That's what is in the game plan, and move on."

Bears’ Hester leads NFL in punt-return average

Bears rookie Devin Hester’s game-winning, 83-yard punt return for touchdown Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals vaulted him to the No. 1 spot in the NFL with a 13.6-yard punt-return average.

Hester’s 367 yards on punt returns are 200 more than the Chiefs’ Dante Hall, who ranks second.

Hester, a former Miami Hurricane, said his big return was designed to go to the right, but he made an adjustment that the Cardinals didn’t counter.

“When they saw my first step was going right, it seemed like the defense just took off (in that direction),” Hester said. “When I cut it back, I was watching them (on tape), they were still going right, they weren’t paying attention to me, so I knew that it was going to give me a great chance to get into the end zone.”

'Edge' hopes for more room to run

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Perhaps no back in NFL history worked so hard for so little as Edgerrin James did Monday night.

After gaining 55 yards in 36 carries, no wonder he hopes a change in offensive coordinators this week will create at least a little more room to run.

James, who has yet to have a 100-yard rushing game since coming to the Arizona Cardinals, said teams have loaded up against the run, and a shift in tactics under new coordinator Mike Kruczek might change that.
"I'm looking forward to that," James said, "so I can play my game rather than running into these brick walls."

Portis, offense a touchy subject

Al Saunders and Clinton Portis couldn't be more different.

Al is 59 years old and in his 24th season of professional football. Clinton is 25 and in his fifth season.

Al is from California and would win a marathon between the two. Clinton is from Florida and would undoubtedly win a 40-yard dash.

Al is of the belief his star running back should play 90 percent of the snaps. Clinton is of the belief taking a play here or there to recuperate is the best way to go.

Hey Bernie Stick To Football!

I was a big fan of Bernie Kosar. He led the Browns to 3 AFC Champonship and played a key role getting the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl the year the Browns released him by subbing for Troy Aikman in the NFC Champonship game. Earlier this year he became entangled in a nasty divorce case and again I supported him because I always thought his wife Babette was always a gold digger.

So, whats Bernie up to now? He is doing ads for Mike Dewine to get re-elected. I agree that everyone should have there say but c'mon Bernie you live in Florida not Ohio. Haven't you seen how your hometown of Youngstown has been neglected by the GOP led Senate. Bernie, I think you would do a lot of good if you just kept your mouth shut on this one and watch while Sherrod Brown wins Dewine's seat.

McGahee ready to carry on - Bills aim to get RB more involved in offense

Getting running back Willis McGahee rolling again figures to be the simplest way for the Buffalo Bills' offense to pull itself out of its two-week funk when it faces the New England Patriots on Sunday.

What's simple, however, may not be easy, to paraphrase Bills General Manager Marv Levy.

The Patriots rank eighth in the NFL against the run.

"We'd like to get him anywhere from 20 to 30 touches a game, run and pass, that's what our goal is," Bills coach Dick Jauron said of his workhorse weapon. "Willis is right up near the top of the league in carries per game. . . . We think a lot of him, and he's responded really well to us."

Where's Bubba?

Sunday's trip to Miami is just the second for Bubba Franks as a Green Bay Packers tight end. The first trip was in 2000, Bubba's rookie year after being a first-round draft choice from the University of Miami.

His friends may have been asking, "Where's Bubba?" Packers fans are asking that now. The Packers enter Sunday's game ranked 29th in red zone offense after just five touchdowns in 14 trips.

Eric Winston Update

The ugly brawl during the Miami-Florida International game on Saturday bothered Texans rookie offensive tackle Eric Winston more than most. Winston, a native of Midland, played for the Hurricanes the past four years.

"I'm sure FIU was trying to make some kind of statement," said Winston, who made his pro debut last Sunday against the Cowboys, playing right tackle in the fourth quarter. "Emotions are going to run high. The big thing is when something like that happens, you have to do everything you can to not let it spread.

"There is a fine line. You have to protect your guys out there. That doesn't mean swinging helmets."

Winston defended embattled Hurricanes coach Larry Coker.

"I think he's a great guy," Winston said. "You don't run across many coaches who genuinely care about you, care about your grades, care about your family. He doesn't get a lot of recognition for how hard he is on guys, suspending players for the Florida State game for not getting all their hours in at study hall. They've been off the police blotter.

"People forget they were yelling for Butch Davis' job in '98. Now everybody's mad he left. They've got a lot of short term memory down there."


Buchanon likes change of scenery

Much was expected out of CB Phillip Buchanon coming out of the University of Miami.

The Oakland Raiders liked him so much, they chose him in the first round of the 2002 draft. The Houston Texans liked him so much, they traded second- and third-round draft picks to acquire him in 2005.

So why was Buchanon standing in the Tampa Bay locker room Wednesday two days after being cut by the Texans and one after signing a pro-rated, minimum-salary, one-year contract with the Buccaneers?

"I don't want to comment on that. That's for some other time,'' Buchanon said. "Right now, I want to focus on Tampa and helping my team win. What happened in Houston and Oakland, that's some other stuff.''

Sapp takes a `shot' at Raiders' breakdowns

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp is standing in front of his locker after Sunday night's game against the Denver Broncos. He's waving his arms, describing a play that he can't get past.

By now, he has everyone's attention. Six people listen in, rapt in Sapp's purging of what is bothering him most about the winless Raiders 13-3 loss in Denver. For the second time, Sapp is breaking down what transpired on a key play.

"When you're standing on the sidelines during the commercial break saying, `Watch the shot, watch the shot,' and then they come out and beat you with a shot, it makes you want to slit your wrists," Sapp said.

Former 76er Salmons welcomes more diversity with Kings

DALLAS - He does not like talking about his summer because he finds that people don't really understand his thinking, and it's not something that's easy to explain. So he keeps it to himself.

"It was more of a spiritual thing than anything," John Salmons says now about the off-season that took him from the 76ers to Phoenix to Toronto . . . and then to Sacramento. All he was looking for was the right fit, a place where he would feel comfortable in body, in mind, and in his soul.

Who knew that would be showering next to Ron Artest?

'Flashy' Buchanon Set to Play

Phillip Buchanon, Tampa Bay's newly signed cornerback, did not want to talk about what has or hasn't happened at his two other stops in the NFL. He wants to look ahead, hoping he's found a place where he can get a fresh start. The Buccaneers signed Buchanon, a first-round draft pick by Oakland in 2002, Tuesday, a day after Houston released him. "Right now, I'm in Tampa, and I don't want to comment on other places," Buchanon said Wednesday, his first day with his new team.. Buchanon, who played three seasons at the University of Miami, was the 17th overall pick by Oakland in the 2002 draft. Bucs general manager Bruce Allen held the same position with the Raiders at the time.

Allen, however, said the Bucs signed Buchanon because injuries have left the team thin at that position. Brian Kelly has missed three games with turf toe, and Juran Bolden has a hip injury. Both are questionable for Sunday's game.

Winless season takes toll on Raiders' Sapp

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Warren Sapp walked by Randy Moss' locker recently and saw a framed picture commemorating the receiver's 100th career touchdown catch.

"You catch 100 TD passes, you think that would bring a little happiness to your life," Sapp commented.

On this Oakland Raiders' team there's little to be happy about.

Moss goes on the radio weekly and criticizes the team. Last year's leading receiver, Jerry Porter, hasn't played a game all year and has been suspended by coach Art Shell for insubordination. And the winless Raiders are off to their worst start in more than four decades.

Shockey At His Best - Has Five Key Second-Half Catches

ATLANTA -- Things had gotten so bad for Jeremy Shockey that even his own mother was yelling at him on the phone last week about his complaining too much about not getting the ball.

The Giants' three-time Pro Bowl tight end has never considered himself a prototypical blocker and being asked to perform the tight end's most mundane task has always felt like a drag, even if he didn't care to admit it Sunday.

"I love blocking and helping the team win," Shockey said. "But I'm not 300 pounds. I'm not Howard Cross [the former Giants tight end]. Patience is a virtue, however. I was being patient. I work hard every week and I expect to win every week. I'll take the wins every day besides catching a pass or two."

Frank Gore Update

Frank Gore reaches back to his past for inspiration in what has become a weekly ritual for the 49ers running back.

A couple of days before every game, Gore watches a highlight tape from his senior season at Coral Gables High in Florida, when he ran for 2,953 yards and 34 touchdowns.

``It reminds me of what I'm capable of,'' Gore said. ``I know it's different here, that I'm at a higher level, but it challenges me to try to do the same thing. It gets me hyped up.''


Bennie Blades on Coker and Michael Irvin

Former UM safety Bennie Blades, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame next year, criticized Michael Irvin for advocating a coaching change. ''We're talking about an egotistical guy who has an ego bigger than this room,'' Blades, who coaches linebackers at Stranahan High, said in a large dining hall.

'You don't make statements about firing a guy. Winning nine games a year is saying a lot. We've made the ceiling so high. When people make comments [about firing Coker, I say], `Are you frickin' nuts?'


Hester's punt return had Cardinals seeing red

It's the isolation play of punt returns. There was nothing really fancy about Devin Hester's 83-yard return Monday night that shocked the Arizona Cardinals and made the Bears a 24-23 winner in one of the wildest comebacks in recent history. The only thing special is Hester's dynamic ability in the open field, where the Cardinals barely laid a hand on him.

Special-teams coordinator
Dave Toub told Hester before the kick, ''This is the one.'' The play is called ''six box red,'' and it's the same one Hester scored on in Week 1 at Green Bay. It calls for six players in the box near the ball at the line of scrimmage, a double team on each outside gunner and some shifty work by Hester. Red means the play is designed to go right, and Toub picked that direction after calling left returns earlier in the game.

Salmons, Kings Hold Off Lakers in Las Vegas

Salmons put the Kings ahead for good with a three-point play and Mike Bibby scored 16 points as Sacramento posted a 96-91 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last season, Salmons averaged only 7.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the Kings, expecting him to be an emerging talent, signed him to a five-year, $25.5 million contract in the offseason

On Tuesday, the 26-year-old Salmons proved he can score down the stretch. With 2:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, the 6-7 swingman converted a conventional three-point play to snap an 89-89 tie.

Portis wants Redskins to let him run - Star running back says game plan has been lacking

Clinton Portis was ready to take on a heavy workload Sunday against Tennessee, but that chance never came. Instead of a straightforward power running game, the Washington Redskins went with a more diverse attack.

"How many times do you have to get to the point of saying, 'Put it on my shoulders?' " Portis said. "If you know what I'm capable of, you know I'm on your team. If you go over our roster, you know people are going to look and say, 'We've got to stop Portis.' Give them the opportunity to stop Portis."


Broncos' Lang Displeased With Miami's Fight

(CBS4/ DENVER Defensive lineman Kenard Lang expressed his displeasure on the recent on-field fight between his former University of Miami Hurricanes and Florida International University. The melee ultimately led to 31 players between the two schools being suspended by their respective conferences.

The fight is a black eye on a tough season for perennial power Miami, which is currently unranked.

"They're going to get back on track but it was somewhat disappointing," Lang said. "We are a class university. Some people might disagree with it. I'm appalled at that. But anyway, we're good guys. We're going to be alright."


Lay blame for Cardinals' breakdown at James' feet

When your big-ticket running back runs for 17 yards on 17 carries in the second half of an implosion for the ages, what's the next logical move?

If you're Dennis Green, you fire your offensive coordinator.

The Cardinals head coach canned offensive coordinator Keith Rowen this afternoon for Arizona's Monday night disintegration against the Bears. The move brings Tuesday's offensive coordinator casualty count to two.

Tuesday afternoon, Ravens head coach Brian Billick "removed" Jim Fassel from his spot as Baltimore's offensive coordinator.


Bucs sign CB Buchanon

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2006) -- A disappointment in Houston, cornerback Phillip Buchanon will get an opportunity to jump-start his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Seeking help for an injury-depleted secondary, the Bucs signed the former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders with hopes of getting more out of him than the Texans did after paying a hefty price in 2005.

The Bucs are thin at cornerback because starter
Brian Kelly is injured and backups Juran Bolden and Torrie Cox are banged up, too. Buchanon has 34 starts in 50 career games since entering the league in 2002, although most of his contribution with the Texans came on special teams as a punt returner.

Vernon Carey Update

Isn't Vernon Carey the Dolphins' best offensive lineman? Why did he have such a poor start to his Dolphins career?

A: Based solely on observation, I would say Carey is the leader of the pack with the Dolphins. Running back Ronnie Brown had most of his rushing success in last Sunday's 20-17 loss to the New York Jets with Carey leading the way.

The slow start to Carey's NFL career can be attributed to three main factors: A) Carey entered the season in the best condition of his three-year NFL career after not being as fit in his first two campaigns; B) It usually takes a rookie, even a first-round draft choice like Carey, some time to become acclimated playing at the NFL level; C) Carey has a much better rapport with offensive line coach Hudson Houck than he did with predecessor Tony Wise.



Edgerrin James and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I think we can all agree that last night's Arizona-Chicago game was one of the most shocking games in NFL history. Shocking in how Arizona dominated the first three quarters, and shocking in the way they choked at the end.

How on earth did the Cardinals manage to blow their 23-3 lead? Sure, kicker Neil Rackers deserves some blame for missing the game-ending field goal, and everyone on the Arizona punt coverage team is wearing goat horns today. But the biggest culprits in this loss were running back Edgerrin James, the offensive linemen who couldn't block for him, and the coaches who kept calling his number.

Yes, normally it is a good idea to run out the clock with a lead, rather than stop the clock with incomplete passes or worse, risk an interception. But not every general statement applies to every specific situation. The Cardinals have not been able to run the ball against anyone this year, let alone the Bears. When asked why he suddenly started dominating, Brian Urlacher told reporters “First of all, they weren’t blocking me.” Matt Leinart, meanwhile, was killing the Chicago zone coverage in the first half. Every single play he'd find some guy open and ping, first down.

Najeh Davenport Update

Steelers RB Najeh Davenport will have a bigger role in the offense in the weeks to come as the team looks for someone to spell Willie Parker.

Jerome McDougle Update

The clock is ticking on Eagles DE Jerome McDougle. Though he'll hold on to his job as Darren Howard's backup this season, McDougle must show something soon to avoid sealing his fate for 2007. He has shown little of the pass-rushing ability he was regarded to have coming out of college.

Kellen Winslow's Brother Dies - Services Are Tuesday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Justin Winslow, the half-brother of Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., will be laid to rest Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.

Winslow, 23, died last Thursday at the Research Medical Center.

The Kansas City Star reported services began at 10 a.m. at the Watkins Brothers Memorial Chapel, located at 4000 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.

Interment will be at the Forest Hills Cemetery.

The family is requesting donations be made to the YMCA of Greater Kansas City in lieu of flowers, the Star reported.


Vilma Update

Alumni blues: Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a first-round pick out of Miami in 2004, was sad to see the vicious brawl that marred the Hurricanes' 35-0 win over Florida International and resulted in 31 suspensions, the firing of Miami television analyst Lamar Thomas and, possibly, the eventual firing of Vilma's college coach, Larry Coker.

Vilma said he didn't want to comment because he wasn't there, but admitted it was a "black eye'' for the Hurricanes.

"Yeah, it is, because of the history of the program,'' Vilma said. "They're always going to twist it, no matter what happens; they'll twist it to make Miami look bad, even though what they did was obviously bad. It's just tough, especially being Miami and all the things going wrong right now, they didn't need that. It's bad timing.

"He's the head coach. Obviously he's got to take the lumps for it. I think he's still in control. He was a great coach when I was down there.''


Week 6 NFL U Video Highlights Just Added!

Check out Week 6 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Najeh Davenport, and Devin Hester's game-winning punt return for a TD! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here! If there are highlights from Monday night, I will add them to the video.

Hester stops dancing, breaks off winning return

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The name of the return is Six Box Red. That means six players are on the line of scrimmage with double on each gunner. Red means right.

The rest is up to Devin Hester, who broke an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown on Monday night that provided the game-winning points in an unlikely 24-23
Bears victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Hester broke an 84-yard touchdown on the same return in the season-opener against Green Bay.

''Everybody blocked for me,'' Hester said. ''It was the right time and I give all the credit to my teammates who were out on the field with me and set up the blocks for me that allowed me to get in the end zone.''

Chip still on Shockey's shoulder - He has something to say after 6-catch, 2-TD effort

ATLANTA — So maybe it was Tiki Barber likening him to a debutante that had Jeremy Shockey all aflutter after he caught two touchdown passes in Sunday's 27-14 comeback victory over Atlanta.

"I'm thrilled with what Jeremy did to help us win it," Barber said after a 185-yard rushing day. "It was like his coming-out party."

Coming-out party? Phooey, said Shockey.

"I had my coming-out party five years ago when I got to this team," Shockey said.

A little chip going there, Jeremy? Apparently.

Big-play Hester strikes again - Rookie answers call, takes punt back 83 yards for winning TD

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No sweat.

Rookie speedster Devin Hester keyed a furious fourth-quarter Bears comeback with a daring 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 24-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

Trailing 20-0 at the half and 23-10 after three quarters, the Bears tallied fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 40-yard fumble return by Charles Tillman with five minutes left and Hester's heroics with 2:58 remaining.

"Basically, everybody blocked," Hester said. "When I went out on the field, all of my teammates said, 'We need a big play.' It was the right time,and I give all the credit to my teammates. They set up the blocks for me and got me into the end zone."

Davenport relieved to be a Steeler

PITTSBURGH - Najeh Davenport admits he watched the clock during Packers games, sometimes counting the minutes until he could leave Lambeau Field.

Being released, he said, was actually a relief.

And signing with the Steelers has made football fun.

"It's like a whole different game," Davenport said. "In Green Bay it felt like a job. ... And not like a career job. There's a difference between a career job and a job job. It felt like I was working at Taco Bell."


Keep throwing to Shockey

If it felt like a long time since Jeremy Shockey played a game like this, it was. Shockey hadn't been this productive since a 10-catch, 107-yard performance against the Eagles last Dec. 11.

If I'm Tom Coughlin, I keep calling his number the way the Giants did in Sunday's 27-14 win over the Falcons. Shockey led all Giants receivers with six catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns, the first multiple-TD game of his five-year career.

When Shockey is used the way he was Sunday, the Giants' offense becomes almost unstoppable, the way it was in the second half against the Falcons. With Tiki Barber smashing through the defense on the ground and Eli Manning hitting Shockey on his midrange routes and in the end zone, only a defense like the Bears' would have been capable of dealing with that. And who knows? The Giants might even be good enough to beat the Bears when they come to town Nov. 12.

Gillick hints he wants to move Burrell

With free agency looming in 2 weeks the Phillies have begun to compile their wish list. It appears to be headed by possible free agents Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez, big righthanded bats who could replace Pat Burrell in the order and hit behind lefty MVP candidate Ryan Howard.

General manager Pat Gillick indicated that the Phillies would look to move Burrell, perhaps eating some of his remaining $27 million over the next 2 years, as long as he would waive his no-trade clause.

"We're going to have to continue to look for a little more offense. We know we're probably... Pat has had a really difficult time protecting Howard," Gillick said.

Texans release cornerback Phillip Buchanon - Former Raider never emerged as a quality starter

The Texans released cornerback Phillip Buchanon on Monday, ending what was a disappointing tenure with the team.

Buchanon arrived in Houston in April 2005 when former general manager Charley Casserly traded a second- and third-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders. The Texans hoped Buchanon, who was the 17th overall pick in the 2002 draft, would shed his troubles from Oakland and emerge as a quality starter and strong punt returner.

That never happened. Buchanon struggled on the field and was demoted by former coach Dom Capers after only two starts in 2005. This season, the coaches gave him an opportunity to earn the starting job, but Buchanon fell to fourth on the depth chart before the regular season even started.

Shockey shows his upside at right time

"I didn't expect to see him play at all. I thought after the last game he was gonna be out, but the next thing you know there he is, playing and doing what he does best."

-- Michael Strahan on Jeremy Shockey's performance in beating Atlanta while playing in pain

NFL U Gallery updated with Week 6 Pictures!

Check out Week 6 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Santana Moss, Ray Lewis, Willis McGahee and more by clickin above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Shockey comes up big for Giants

ATLANTA - After four of the most frustrating games of his career, the real Jeremy Shockey finally stood up.

The battered tight end with the sore right ankle and foot had what Giants running back Tiki Barber called "his coming out party" Sunday, catching six passes for 55 yards and a career-high two touchdowns in the Giants' 27-14 win over the Falcons. It was just the type of big game the antsy Shockey admitted he needed.

He also promised that it won't be his last.

James spinning his wheels in Arizona - Ex-Colt struggling to gain ground in 1st year with Cardinals

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chipmunks' song "Mr. Lonely" warbled through the Cardinals' locker room Thursday, courtesy of resident disc jockey Edgerrin James.

A statement, perhaps?

"No, man, it's just XM radio," James said.

Fair enough, but you can't blame James if he's feeling a bit forlorn these days.

The Cardinals are 1-4 and James has gone a career-high eight straight games without rushing for 100 yards.

Steelers Notebook: Parker, Davenport run up a storm

Someone suggested to Fast Willie Parker that he and 247-pound Najeh Davenport could combine for some Thunder & Lightning in the Steelers backfield.

Parker laughed.

"I think there are
two lightnings,'' he said.

Davenport won't be confused with having the kind of speed Parker does, but he flashed some nevertheless in his most extensive playing time since the Steelers signed him after their opening game.

Eric Winston Update

The Houston Texans may have lost defensive tackle Seth Payne for the season after he tore a ligament in his right knee early in the fourth quarter of a 34-6 loss at Dallas. Two other Houston starters, safety Glenn Earl and offensive tackle Zach Wiegert, also left after being hurt.
Earl left with a strained neck, while Wiegert sprained his left knee. Neither injury was considered serious, coach Gary Kubiak said. Wiegert's replacement, Eric Winston, dislocated his finger but played through the injury.

Devin Hester Update

The sky is falling: Thursday morning was the first time Bears rookie Devin Hester has seen snow in person, and he was a little freaked out.

“I need to thicken up my blood or something,” said Hester, who was bundled up like an Arctic explorer until coach Lovie Smith moved practice inside the Walter Payton Center.

Hester is from Riviera Beach, Fla., and played for the University of Miami Hurricanes.

Buffalo's gamble on McGahee paying off in big way

DETROIT -- There's a good possibility that if Willis McGahee hadn't torn up his knee in college football's national championship game against Ohio State in 2003 that he'd be wearing a Detroit Lions uniform today.

The Lions had the second overall pick in the draft that year and likely would have selected McGahee, the University of Miami running back, over Michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers because running backs touch the ball three times as much as receivers and can have a greater impact on the game.

As it turns out, the Lions probably should've drafted him second anyway. Instead, McGahee slid to the 21st overall spot where the Buffalo Bills took a gamble on him. McGahee sat out that 2003 season to rehabilitate his knee, but he's come back strong.

Vernon Carey Update

In the Dolphins' internal grading system, we're told the two starting offensive linemen earning the least -- Vernon Carey ($490,000) and Rex Hadnot ($425,000), both Rick Spielman draft picks -- have graded out 1-2 this season. That puts them ahead of L.J. Shelton ($2 million), Jeno James (2.5 million) and McIntosh ($585,000).


A Look Back On the Top News From Last Week

- Cool runnings - Former UM star and NFL player Michael Barrow has instilled a pro approach as Homestead's defensive coordinator.

- Niners' Gore surges to top of NFL rushing charts

- Panthers' LB Morgan done for season

- Wilfork has right stuff to stop the run

- Rolle fined $12.5K for facemask

- Winston to be active

- Undrafted UM alum Hite looks for a spot on Heat - Former UM star getting tryout at both guard spots

- Rookie Progress - Rocky McIntosh