Special feeling? Bears' Hester has it

Staying after practice on Friday to put in extra work, Bears punt returner Devin Hester spun around in circles before fielding footballs.

He wasn't perfecting a new move. Hester was just trying to prepare for Sunday's game in Foxborough, Mass., against the New England Patriots, who signed Ken Walter on Friday to replace injured punter Josh Miller.

"We've got a punter we're facing this week that hasn't played in about two years, so we don't have any film on him," Hester said. "So out here today, we're just trying to get punts all kinds of ways, just different types of punts, just get used to it, and just be ready for it when game time comes."

Moss to return against Carolina

Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss, who missed two of the past three games with a strained hamstring, practiced for a third straight day and expects to play tomorrow when the Washington Redskins play host to the Carolina Panthers. Moss had sat out against Dallas, returned to have his worst day with the Redskins in Philadelphia and was inactive again last week at Tampa Bay.

"I've been waiting on a day like this to go out there and be able to do more," said Moss, who was hurt on Oct. 22 at Indianapolis. "I feel 10 times better than I did in Philly. I felt like I had healed, but I didn't have the strength I needed. As [this] week went on, I felt like I had the strength back. [Today] I ran swift. I ran confident. I ran hard."


Bruise won't stop WR Johnson

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson practiced and looked solid enough to get the go-ahead from coach Gary Kubiak. Despite a deep thigh bruise, Johnson will start against the New York Jets on Sunday.

"I think if he played today, he's not 100 percent, but not a lot of people are this time of year," Kubiak said. "He looks like he's going to be fine. He will just get some more treatment (today) and turn it loose Sunday."


Jeff Feagles Update

298 - Consecutive games Giants punter Jeff Feagles has started, beginning in 1988 with the Patriots.


Robert Hite Update

Rookie guard Robert Hite and forward Earl Barron apparently have earned Riley's trust -- and a prominent role in the rotation.

Both saw playing time in the first half Friday after they combined for 24 points and made 10 of 15 shots Wednesday at San Antonio.

''I'm just trying to come in and be aggressive,'' said Hite, a former University of Miami star. ``[Riley] is just looking for guys to go out and give their all.''


Ravens' R. Lewis returns to practice - LB considered a game-time decision

Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis practiced yesterday for the first time since injuring his back nearly three weeks ago, and his availability for tomorrow is considered a game-time decision.

During the media viewing of yesterday's non-contact workout, Lewis showed no hesitancy in any of the drills, whether it was running, backpedaling or catching a pass from coach Brian Billick.

Asked after practice whether he intends to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow, Lewis said, "I don't know yet."

Sapp, Raiders gear up for another dose of L.T., Chargers

LaDainian Tomlinson is playing so well that even the archrival Oakland Raiders are saying nice things about him.

Maybe the guys in silver and black have become desensitized after losing so much to the AFC West-leading Chargers, who will be going for their seventh straight win against last-place Oakland on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. That's never been done by the Chargers (8-2) in a series that dates to the AFL's birth in 1960.

Or maybe they just can't help but be impressed by Tomlinson's MVP-like numbers.

"I think all of the debate's been taken out with his performance over the last month and a half," Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "He's always been special, but when you're putting up those kind of touchdown numbers, it just defines you. He's done it like no other."

Gore shows others what they're missing

For an NFL player with incredible think-outside-the-blocks field vision, Frank Gore certainly has a narrow way of looking at things.

The San Francisco running back is constantly comparing himself with his old University of Miami teammates, and he can't seem to see past the eyes of the Hurricanes.

But it's time for Gore to think bigger. Buffalo's Willis McGahee and Washington's Clinton Portis, both far bigger stars in college, can't measure up to him this season. Nor can any of the running backs selected before Gore in the 2005 draft — among them, top-five picks Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

Sapp says his food was tampered with on the road years ago

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Warren Sapp is a very picky eater.

The Oakland Raiders' defensive tackle refuses to eat out on road trips for fear of getting sick, and he's not talking about the rare case of food poisoning.

Sapp insisted Wednesday his food was tampered with during his nine-year tenure in Tampa Bay from 1995-03.

"You get your food poisoned," Sapp said at Raiders headquarters. "They don't want you out there on Sunday. You don't think about it. It just got crazy."

Bills 'guardedly optimistic' about RB McGahee

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Nov. 23, 2006) -- Bills coach Dick Jauron was "guardedly optimistic" Willis McGahee will play against Jacksonville this weekend after the running back took part in his first practice in full pads.

It was McGahee's second successive day of practice after breaking three ribs in a 24-10 victory against Green Bay on Nov. 5. Jauron said McGahee was involved in some contact and described the player as moving well while wearing added padding to protect his ribs.

McGahee, who leads the Bills with 579 yards rushing, is still listed as questionable on the team's injury report. Jauron cautioned that a decision on whether he'll play will come down to game time Nov. 26 when the Bills (4-6) host the Jaguars (6-4).

Shiver and Shoot - A UM star headed for the NBA detours to the Czech Republic

Guillermo Diaz lives in a small medieval town with a cobblestone square, an ancient castle, and a Gothic church. He works in another one. But before he explains, let him tell you about the weather.

"I can't go out — it's too cold," he says, visibly shuddering. "Hits me in the face real good."

It's actually quite balmy for a November night in Nymburk, Czech Republic — 50-odd degrees, no biting wind whipping up the Elbe river. But for a 21-year-old who has lived only in San Juan and Miami, that's a whole new ball game.

Raiders notes: Sapp takes issue with Moss' words

That's Warren Sapp's take on wide receiver Randy Moss, the Raiders' captain on offense who last week on his radio segment said he looked forward to playing for a new team.

But, as Sapp has said, Moss is Moss.

"You're not going to get him to understand that there's 57 other guys in here trying to get this job done, too, so if you have an issue with upstairs or whatever the hell it may be, you have a month and a half," Sapp said. "That's six weeks. Sit down, shut ... up and let's play football and then go talk to those people about whatever you got going. But you're not going to get that, so be it."

Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving


from all of us at proCanes.com.

FBN Redskins Taylor's Troubles

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Sean Taylor got fooled twice on the same play.

He bit when Donte' Stallworth faked an out pattern, then bit again when Donovan McNabb faked a handoff. A few seconds later, Stallworth was racing toward the end zone with Taylor trailing helplessly in his wake, having caught a deep pass from McNabb over the middle for an 84-yard touchdown.

This was the year Taylor was supposed to be the beast, ``the best player in the NFL,'' according to teammate Clinton Portis. The Washington Redskins safety, who was in constant trouble during his first two seasons, finally had his legal problems behind him and was free to concentrate on terrifying receivers, quarterbacks and running backs league-wide.

McGahee returns to Bills practice, listed as questionable

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Willis McGahee returned to practice Wednesday, but it's uncertain whether the Buffalo Bills running back is ready to play after missing two games with broken ribs.

Coach Dick Jauron listed McGahee as questionable for Buffalo's home game against Jacksonville on Sunday. While Jauron didn't rule McGahee out entirely, he expressed concern that he might not be physically ready after missing two weeks of workouts.

"It's going to affect him in terms of conditioning and he'll have to get used to the twisting and turning," Jauron said.

Gore Named NFL Offensive Player of the Week

New York, NY (Sports Network) - San Francisco running back Frank Gore, Carolina Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker and Dallas punter Mat McBriar were named NFC Players of the Week for their efforts in Week 11.

In the 49ers' 20-14 win over NFC West rival Seattle, Gore rushed for a franchise-record 212 yards on 24 carries while catching four balls for 26 yards.

Gore ranks third in the league with 1,330 scrimmage yards for San Francisco, which won its third straight game to move one game behind the Seahawks for the division lead.


Bucs' Buchanon ready to fill in at cornerback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Juran Bolden did not practice Tuesday because of a deep bruise on his left shin suffered during the fourth quarter of Sunday's win against the Washington Redskins. His status for Thursday's game against the Dallas Cowboys will be a game time decision, Bucs coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday.

If the 6-foot-3 Bolden can't play, he will be replaced by the 5-11 Phillip Buchanon, who was signed by the Bucs Oct. 17, one day after being released by the Houston Texans.

The former first-round pick by the Oakland Raiders has seen limited action with the Bucs.

Vinny Testaverde Update

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said last week that, had their playoff picture been a little clearer, the Cowboys would have been interested in bringing back QB Vinny Testaverde, until the Patriots signed him last week. The Cowboys have only two QBs on the roster -- Tony Romo and Drew Bledsoe -- and don't consider practice-squadder Matt Baker anywhere near ready to contribute.


Dan Morgan Update

Panthers MLB Dan Morgan reiterated last week that his headaches and other symptoms relating to a season-ending concussion are gone and that he plans on returning next season. We hear the Panthers aren't as optimistic about Morgan's full return, and they are likely going to add more depth at the LB spot in the offseason.


Warren Sapp Update

Warren Sapp is getting in the opposition's backfield a lot these days and has shown a lot of energy in shooting the gaps. Oakland's front four, as a whole, has picked it up and made it possible for the linebackers and safeties to stay back in coverage, which has prevented a lot of extra yards after the catch.


Backup CB May Get His Chance - Former Houston cornerback Phillip Buchanon could be defending Terrell Owens.

The last time Tampa Bay cornerback Phillip Buchanon played against the Cowboys in Dallas, he found himself out of work the next day. It was six weeks ago, and he was a backup cornerback for the Houston Texans. Dallas receiver Terrell Owens caught three TD passes, the Cowboys beat Houston, 34-6, and Buchanon was released the next day. It wasn't Buchanon who got beat for the touchdowns -- he played only a few plays at cornerback that day -- but it was the last time he wore a Texans uniform.

The Buccaneers signed him the next day. And now, because of a deep leg bruise to cornerback Juran Bolden, Buchanon could find himself back on the Texas Stadium turf defending Owens, Terry Glenn and the other Dallas receivers Thursday.

He's ready.

"Any time I can get a chance to get on the field, I look forward to it," Buchanon said. "I always look forward to a chance to make plays."

Rams days forgettable for Panthers' Lewis - Defensive tackle happy in role as rush specialist

Had Damione Lewis been drafted a round later or in a different year, he might have had a long and prosperous career with the St. Louis Rams.

He could have been a centerpiece of the St. Louis defense on Sunday when the Rams play the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. But bad timing, huge expectations and coaching changes pushed Lewis out of St. Louis and helped prevent him from becoming the dominant force that was expected.

Instead, Lewis is a role player for the Panthers these days and he couldn't be happier.


Billick optimistic R. Lewis will play Sunday - Ravens LB has missed past two games; status to be determined Wednesday

Ray Lewis appears closer to ending his two-game absence and playing in the Ravens' meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker sat out Sunday's 24-10 throttling of the Atlanta Falcons after undergoing minor surgery Thursday to drain blood from his bruised back.

But Ravens coach Brian Billick said he is hopeful that Lewis will play for the first time since getting hurt in a collision with free safety Ed Reed on Nov. 5.

NFL U Week 11 Video Highlights

Check out Week 11 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, and Damione Lewis! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here!

Gore, line working well

SAN FRANCISCO - Frank Gore's lineman have no problem blocking for him.

And the 49ers running back has no problem running behind them, either.

That relationship might not have ever been more evident than during Sunday's 20-14 upset win over Seattle at Monster Park when Gore, with more than a little bit of help from his friends, rushed for a single-game team record 212 yards.

R. Lewis appears closer to returning for Steelers game - After missing two games, linebacker moving better; Wilcox a concern

Ray Lewis appears closer to ending his two-game absence and playing in the Ravens' meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker sat out Sunday's 24-10 throttling of the Atlanta Falcons after undergoing minor surgery Thursday to drain blood from his bruised back.

But Ravens coach Brian Billick said he is hopeful that Lewis will play for the first time since getting hurt in a collision with free safety Ed Reed on Nov. 5.

Ex-Jet McClover sounds onside alarm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Bears stopped short of calling the New York Jets a desperate team, but their onside-kick attempt sure portrayed them that way.

After his team limited the Bears to 80 yards of offense in a scoreless first half and allowed them to cross midfield only once, rookie Jets coach Eric Mangini called for an onside try to open the third quarter. Kicker Mike Nugent set the ball on the tee and began walking backward before spinning and driving the ball into the ground to his left.

Chris Harris, lined up as the right tackle on the kick-return unit, fielded the ball easily at the Jets' 44, providing the Bears with positive field position and leading to their first score, a 20-yard Robbie Gould field goal. Harris was tipped off the kick was coming by teammate Darrell McClover, who was waived by the Jets in their final cutdown.

James gets to edge of 100 yards

Edgerrin James was glad to break a two-month losing streak, but there was still a bit of an edge to the Edge on Sunday.

James set his Cardinals high with 96 yards rushing in a 17-10 victory over Detroit, although he was a typical carry short of reaching his personal goal for every game, 100.

The Cardinals killed the final 4:35 with eight running plays, including five by James for 24 yards, before Matt Leinart took a knee on the final two scrim--
mage plays.

Bubba Franks Update

Meanwhile, Bubba Franks is clearly frustrated with his reduced role. Asked if he was on the field when quarterback Brett Favre got hurt in the second quarter, Franks said:

"No I wasn't, I was on the sidelines. Spending too much time on the sidelines."

It seemed like he regretted opening that can of worms, though, because when asked why he was on the sidelines, he wanted to drop it.

"I don't know," Franks said. "I'm just a player. Don't ask me. I don't even want to get into it."

Franks is one of the most emotional and bluntly honest veterans the Packers have, and he was clearly upset by the loss.
"I don't think they fear coming to Lambeau no more. We don't have that mystique," Franks said. "We've been trying to get it all year. We don't have it. At all."

He added that he had wanted to see how the Packers measured up against New England to judge their progress.

"It was a measuring stick to me," Franks said. "The teams we beat, they all have losing records. To come up against a team like this, it was a challenge. And we didn't answer the challenge - not today."



-- JACKSONVILLE - Thiswas immediately after Jeremy Shockey finally had his breakout game inside the Georgia Dome, finally was not shackled by an evil ankle. A big smile creased Brandon Short's face on his way to the bus when I asked him about Shockey catching two touchdown passes that day and ruining the Falcons.

"The Renegade is back!" Short said.

Alas, The Renegade was not bac

Notes: Burrell's return becoming likely - Phils' free agent options shrinking with Soriano, Alou gone

PHILADELPHIA -- With Alfonso Soriano, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield no longer options for the Phillies, general manager Pat Gillick may turn to a familiar face -- current left fielder Pat Burrell.

As each possibility dries up, it becomes more likely that Burrell will enter the season as the club's starter, amid many reports that the Phillies are trying to find him a new home. Burrell has a complete no-trade clause but has been linked to the Angels, who also missed out on Soriano, and Giants, who lost Alou.

"In my mind, he's playing left field," Gillick said. "He thinks he's going to be back and is getting himself ready to play. His [right] foot still wasn't back to 100 percent."

NFL U Week 11 Season Gallery Updated With More Pictures

Check out Week 11 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and more by clicking above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Early investment returns - Hester has raced to head of the class among Bears rookies

When Bears rookie return specialist Devin Hester scored last Sunday on a 108-yard return of a missed field goal against the New York Giants -- tying teammate Nathan Vasher's NFL record -- the loudest cheers came from his rookie teammates Danieal Manning and Mark Anderson.

''We rookies made a pact in preseason to be the best rookie class the Bears ever had,'' Manning said.

That's a lofty goal, considering the Bears drafted Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers in 1965 and their '83 class included Richard Dent, Jim Covert and Willie Gault.

Gore runs 49ers past Seahawks for rare streak - RB sets team record with 212 yards as San Francisco wins 3rd straight

SAN FRANCISCO - For a few gut-wrenching moments, Frank Gore thought his fumble had ruined it all. The best game of his career, the 49ers’ biggest upset bid in years — it was all in the San Francisco defense’s hands against the defending conference champs.

Yet the defense didn’t drop the ball, stuffing the Seattle Seahawks over and over again in the final minutes of a watershed win for a long-suffering franchise that finally might be on the rise again.

Gore rushed for a team-record 212 yards, and San Francisco’s maligned defense stopped Shaun Alexander and the Seahawks three times in the final 4 minutes of the 49ers’ third straight victory, 20-14 Sunday.

Moss to shake a leg - Big Blue WR close to return

East Rutherford — Sinorice Moss spoke with a sense of excitement and anticipation yesterday 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 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.


Playing Portis: A Painful Decision

Joe Gibbs is angry, angrier than anyone has ever seen him in the two seasons since he returned to coaching. His hands are trembling. His light voice alternately soars and cracks with fury. He approaches Redskins Park and punctuates his ire by firing a half-empty bottle of Gatorade into a trash can.

It is Saturday, Sept. 9, and during his final interview session before facing the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, Gibbs believes that a reporter's question insinuates that the coach is being cavalier with the health of star running back Clinton Portis, who had separated his left shoulder in an exhibition game Aug. 13.

Ready for takeoff - Bears' Hester seeks consistency

LAKE FOREST | Funny, but Devin Hester doesn't look like one of pro football's most feared weapons.

The Bears rookie, wearing sweats and with his hoodie pulled up after a chilly practice, is barely noticeable at 5-foot-11. And quiet? Like a deserted street. But check his return stats and they scream DANGEROUS! from the rooftops.

A Look Back At Last Week's Top Stories

- After a Tumultuous Start, Winslow's Finally Reached Stardom
- Red Sox re-sign Cora - Veteran infielder inks two-year deal to remain in Boston
- The Gospel According to Ray Lewis, God's Linebacker
- Davenport fills role nicely for Steelers
- Winston set for first NFL start
- Sinorice Moss close to returning to Giants lineup
- Vinny tests his arm - Testaverde happy to be back on field
- Hester leads NFC weekly honors
- Redskins RB Portis to miss rest of season
- Hester's joy mixes with thoughts of slain pal Pata
- Culture shock to his system (Guillermo Diaz)
- Gore best of 'Canes, but he's no L.T.
- No longer Lang-uishing