Kenny Holmes Update

The Fort Pierce Fire minor-league football team plans to showcase its best squad yet when the team opens its preseason competition today.
The Fire, one of two area minor-league squads, will play host to the Lauderdale Lions at 1 p.m. at Lawnwood Stadium.

"We have a lot of rookies showing good progress and some of the veterans are going to really have to battle for their position," Fire co-owner Kurt Holden said.
The game will be a controlled scrimmage. There will be no special teams play during the first half, and the second half will be two 15-minute quarters of regular play.

Wary of Winslow Jr.

Finally, Junior is making a name for himself.

Until this season, Kellen Winslow Jr. was known for being the namesake of a Hall of Fame NFL tight end and for squandering his own promising career because of recklessness off the field that resulted in a serious motorcycle accident.

"Now you see what all the expectations were about," Jets linebacker Victor Hobson said of the versatile and talented Browns tight end he'll have to deal with Sunday in Cleveland. "There's no way around that. I'm an outside linebacker and my job is the tight end. They move him around a lot, in regular tight-end setups and in the flex as a wide receiver. He can make it miserable for everybody."

McDougle vs. McDougle is off

Eagles reserve defensive end Jerome McDougle was looking forward to a family reunion during tomorrow's game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The reunion has been postponed.

Stockar McDougle, Jerome's older brother and an offensive lineman for the Jaguars, is out for the second straight week with an ankle injury. Stockar McDougle played in the first five games for the 3-3 Jaguars, mainly on special teams.

"I am disappointed because it's always good to have the opportunity to play against your brother," Jerome McDougle said yesterday after practice at the NovaCare Complex. "Even though it is disappointing, I would rather see him healthy, and I don't want to see him play if he's not healthy."

Portis Says Offense Lacks Confidence

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Washington Redskins (website - news) running back Clinton Portis says he'd like to get more carries but he understands the offensive coaches want to spread the ball around.
Portis, who is recovering from a sprained ankle suffered in the 36-to-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, had just 12 carries for 43 yards on Sunday.
He says that inconsistency has begun to breed a lack of confidence among the players. Portis says they've bought into Al Saunders' new offense, but not producing the results they know they're capable of has some players questioning themselves.
Portis says he'll use the bye week to heal his injury and he expects to be ready for the Redskins' next game at FedEx Field when they face the Dallas Cowboys on November fifth.

Eric Winston Update

(on T Eric Winston’s progress) “He’s making a lot of progress, and one of the things that’s helping is we’ve kind of changed our routine with Zach (Wiegert) a little bit. Zach doesn’t really practice on Wednesday. We make (T) Eric (Winston) and (G Brad) Bedell take all the reps. The only way those guys get better is if they get the reps, and we feel confident in Zach being ready to play on game day. So we chose to go that way, and it looks like it’s helped Eric get better.”


Who's hot: Reggie Wayne

College: Miami.

Experience: Sixth year with Colts; first-round draft pick in 2001, 30th overall selection.

Money man
: Signed six-year, $39 million contract in March that included a $12.5 million signing bonus.

The skinny
: He's "the other" Colts receiver, Marvin Harrison's sidekick. . . . In '05, became first player other than Harrison to lead the team in receptions (83, one more than Harrison) since '98 (Marshall Faulk). . . . Has increased his receptions total every season -- 27 as a rookie, followed by 49, 68, 77 and 83. . . . Second to Harrison after six games this season with 28 receptions for 504 yards and two TDs. . . . Has had at least three receptions in all six games, has eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice and is averaging a career-best 18.0 yards per catch. . . . Might have the best hands on the team and arguably is the team's best after-the-catch receiver.

Reggie on Reggie
: "I'm a silent assassin. That's what I do. I'm just out there playing my game. Nothing extra. Nothing special. Just whenever the ball's thrown to me, catch it and try to get as many yards as I possibly can. I just want to be consistent with it. That's my whole thing."


Browns' Winslow is a force

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, drafted sixth overall in 2004, broke his leg in Week 2 of his rookie season. Then he sat out all of last season after suffering a career-threatening knee injury, among other injuries, in a motorcycle accident in the spring of 2005.

Undeterred, Winslow, 6-4 and 248 pounds, is back on the football field and living up to his promise. He has 33 receptions (tops among NFL tight ends) for 317 yards and two touchdowns this season, heading into Sunday's game against the Jets.


LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears signed linebacker Darrell McClover to the active roster today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A three-year NFL veteran, McClover was drafted out of the University of Miami by the New York Jets in the seventh round (213
th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. The 6-2, 226-pounder registered 25 special teams tackles while playing in all 16 regular season games and two post-season contests as a rookie in 2004. McClover missed the 2005 season due to a knee injury suffered during the preseason.


'Browncos' don't boast - Lang & Co. let their play do the talking

CLEVELAND - Before getting dressed after his postgame shower, Kenard Lang quietly and quickly stuffed two packaged Cleveland Browns jerseys bearing his name into a bag.

He didn't want to draw any extra attention to the fact he and the men in the three lockers next to him used to be members of the home team. He also wanted all the talking left to the field.

The major story line for the Broncos' first game in Cleveland since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999 was the six former Browns who now wear orange and blue, especially the defensive front, all Cleveland castaways prospering in the AFC West.

Andre Johnson Doesn't Dance But Watch How He Plays

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has no touchdown dance. He doesn't dye his hair, doesn't rap, (warning link has autoplay bad rap) or throw his coaches or quarterback under the bus. He's a quiet guy who can play ball.

Since the Dolphins game, Gary Kubiak has become more comfortable with
David Carr throwing to Andre Johnson downfield in double coverage situations. Currently, Andre Johnson is leading the league in receiving yards and catches.

Last year, Andre Johnson was hurt for a good portion of the year, which is just as well because former offensive coordinator Joe Pendry's cobbled together 2005 offensive scheme made the word "abomination" seem oh, understated. Let's not speak of that again, shall we.


Hester rates as an elite returner

LAKE FOREST -- Bears rookie punt returner Devin Hester flashed a big grin at the thought of the performance he'd given in Monday night's 24-23 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals.

His reaction had nothing to do with a certain 83-yard, fourth-quarter punt return for the game-winning touchdown. Instead, he was thinking about his effort on six or seven defensive plays that defensive backs coach Steve Wilks put him in for when the injury-depleted secondary started to tire.

"I checked my grade sheet this week, and I graded out at 100 percent, so that's pretty good," Hester said. "I usually grade out about 74 or 75, so I'm just trying to go day in and day out and just try to get better at each and everything I do individually."

Another Jones looking for a niche with Suns

MESA, Ariz. - When it comes to both the Phoenix Suns' playing rotation and its ever expanding payroll, James Jones is the perfect definition of a "tweener."

At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, he has the length and shooting touch to be successful on the perimeter and the size and basketball IQ to be competitive along the baseline - where he spent all his time in high school and college.

Although he started 24 games last year, Jones is asked to provide depth, scoring, ball movement and, after proving he was capable during last year's playoff run, some rebounding, shot-blocking and defense. And as one of the few Phoenix players without either a huge contract or a minimum salary ($2.65 million), Jones can be viewed as both a bargain and a potential bargaining chip if the Suns feel the need to reallocate funds in the direction of the big guns.

Portis determined to face Cowboys

Clinton Portis walked out of Redskin Park yesterday with a protective boot on his left foot, but he expects to play when the Washington Redskins return to action Nov. 5 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Portis sustained a high left ankle sprain on his first carry of the second half Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. He returned to the game on the Redskins' next series.

"Hopefully, it won't carry over," said Portis, who sat out yesterday's practice, which lasted about 75 minutes.

Reed Remembers Katrina

On Aug. 26, 2005, safety Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens played to a 21-6 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints in Louisiana. Days later, Hurricane Katrina wreaked its havoc over the entire Gulf Coast.

Sunday's Week 8 matchup between the Ravens and the Saints marks the St. Rose, La. native's return to the Louisiana Superdome.

When describing the stadium, the phrase "shelter of last resort" is often used, stemming from the tremendous damage the storm inflicted on the Superdome. Estimates say that nearly 30,000 residents of New Orleans and surrounding areas took refuge in the building when they were unable to leave the city.

McDougle goes from grab to worse

TAMPA - Three years of frustration came boiling out of Jerome McDougle at exactly the wrong time.

McDougle, playing more yesterday in a meaningful game than he has ever played for the Eagles since being drafted 15th overall in 2003, crashed into the Tampa Bay backfield and sacked Bucs quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, with about 6 minutes left in what became a 23-21 Eagles loss.

The Bucs were going to be looking at third-and-21 from their 27, leading 17-14, a situation that presumably would set the stage for the Eagles to get the ball back.

Ex-'Cane Hite may make Heat roster

Don't tell Robert Hite he can't play shooting guard in the NBA.

After life as a 6-foot-2 small forward at the University of Miami, Hite figures he's up to any challenge.

Considered among the longest of long shots at the start of training camp, Hite not only seemingly has played his way onto the Heat's roster, but could wind up with spot action because of his sizzling shooting. He is 15 of 23 from the field and 7 of 11 on 3-pointers over the past three games, highlighted by Friday's 25-point performance in Memphis.

"As a small two, he's quick as hell," coach Pat Riley said, "and the fact that he can really stretch the court, he's like Eddie House."

Portis, Moss, Brunell Headline Injury Lis

The Washington Redskins' two most dynamic offensive cogs, running back Clinton Portis and wide receiver Santana Moss, both suffered injuries in Sunday's loss and are among a large contingent of hurting players entering the bye week. Washington's offense has been erratic even with Portis and Moss but, at 2-5 and with Dallas up next, losing either of them would be a significant blow.

Portis wore a walking cast on his left ankle yesterday, suffering from what the team is calling a high ankle sprain. Moss has a strained left hamstring. Neither is expected to participate in the two days of practice this week before players depart for the extended weekend off. Quarterback Mark Brunell has a strained rib muscle and could miss practice today as well, said Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is nursing a sore heel.

Burrell likely to remain with Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- In 2006, Pat Burrell had a gimpy right foot, a dearth of clutch hits and a hefty contract that will become only more bloated in the next two seasons.

Yet, the odds are good that he'll still be playing for the Phillies in 2007.

General manager Pat Gillick said Monday there is a "very strong possibility" Burrell will remain the Phillies left fielder next season despite his $13 million salary and .222 average with runners in scoring position. Gillick also downplayed the suggestion Burrell may require another medical procedure to heal his foot.

"He had a procedure done last year, and in talking to our trainers, I don't think it's an issue at the moment," Gillick said. "Even though offensively he didn't produce the way he would like or we would like, you don't find 29 home runs or 95 RBIs in the street."

Week 7 Video Highlights Just Added

Check out Week 7 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Shockey, Andre Johnson, and Vince Wilfork's fumble recovery! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here!

Chris Myers Update

The Broncos received bad news today when an MRI showed that standout left tackle Matt Lepsis tore his right anterior cruciate ligament. Lepsis is out for the season, Denver coach Mike Shanahan said.

Lepsis was injured early in the second quarter of Denver's 17-7 victory at Cleveland on Sunday. Shanahan said he doesn't know what the team will do to replace Lepsis. The possibilities include moving Cooper Carlisle from right guard to left tackle and inserting either rookie Chris Kuper or second-year player Chris Myers at guard.


NFL U Gallery Updated with Week 7 Pictures!

Check out Week 7 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Clinton Portis, Warren Sapp, Willis McGahee and more by clickin above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

James again at a loss

OAKLAND - Running back Edgerrin James again expressed surprise and dismay Sunday about his lack of production since joining the Cardinals this off-season.

He can't say he wasn't warned.

"I got a lot of warnings," he said.

He watched tape of the Cardinals games last year and was reassured. He didn't see a lot of defenders near the line of scrimmage, so he figured he would have plenty of room to run.

Santana Moss Update

Wide receiver Santana Moss sustained a hamstring injury in the second half of Sunday's 36-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He did not return to the game.

Moss's status will be determined by the team later this week.

The Redskins head into a bye week, so there will be plenty of time for Moss to recuperate. Washington hosts the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 5, at FedExField.

Moss finished the game with three receptions for 20 yards.

Running back Clinton Portis sustained a lower leg injury in the second half, but he returned to the game.


McDougle play adds to odd year

TAMPA, Fla. -- How strange is the Eagles’ season?

Defensive end Jerome McDougle’s third career sack - his first in two years - helped cost the Eagles the game Sunday.

McDougle was whistled for two penalties after dropping Bucs quarterback Bruce Gradkowski with 6:31 left in the fourth quarter, as he got a piece of his opponent’s face mask and all of the penalty marker.

‘Tweener’ Jones looking for niche

When it comes to both the Phoenix Suns’ playing rotation and its ever expanding payroll, James Jones is the perfect definition of a “tweener.” At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, he has the length and shooting touch to be successful on the perimeter and the size and basketball IQ to be competitive along the baseline — where he spent all his time in high school and college.

Although he started 24 games last year, Jones is asked to provide depth, scoring, ball movement and, after proving he was capable during last year’s playoff run, some rebounding, shotblocking and defense.

Lang likes his new surroundings

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Kenard Lang didn't have much of a choice. Last season the Cleveland Browns asked him to move from defensive end to outside linebacker, a position he hadn't played since high school, so he switched.

Lang wasn't happy last season, but he laughs about it now. He's with the Denver Broncos, back at defensive end, and enjoying his new surroundings.

"It didn't work out," Lang said. "So be it. Things like that happen for a reason. That happened for me to come here."

Many happy returns ahead? Hester speeding toward prominence

Recalling his performance in the Bears' come-from-behind 24-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night prompted Devin Hester to flash a big grin.

The Bear rookie's expression had nothing to do with a certain 83-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that went for the game-winning touchdown. Instead, he was thinking about his effort on six or seven defensive plays that defensive backs coach Steve Wilks put him in for when the injury-depleted secondary started to tire.

"I checked my grade sheet this week, and I graded out at 100 percent, so that's pretty good," Hester said. "I usually grade out about 74 or 75, so I'm just trying to go day in and day out and just try to get better at each and every thing I do individually."

Season ‘worst time in my life,’ Sapp says

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.


Portis and Redskins Try to Exploit Swiss cheese Colts Run Defense

Last year, the Indianapolis Colts won their first 13 games in spite of a horrible defense.  This year, at 5-0, they are one of two remaining undefeated teams, again overcoming a horrific defense, especially against the run.

The Colts allow a horrific 167 yards per game against teams normally getting 110. In yards per carry, it’s 5.2 against teams normally getting 3.9.  That variance is almost unheard of this late in the year.

We have always preached how ratings, like above, are much more accurate than rankings. That being said, the Colts, not surprisingly, are ranked dead last in the NFL against the run.

A Look Back on the Top News From Last Week

- Texans release cornerback Phillip Buchanon
- Chip still on Shockey's shoulder - He has something to say after 6-catch, 2-TD effort
- Davenport relieved to be a Steeler
- Villma comments on Coker and UM/FIU Brawl
- Kellen Winslow's Brother Die
- Bucs sign Buchanon
- Lang displeased with Miami fight
- Blades Comments on Coker and Irvin
- Former 76er Salmons welcomes more diversity with Kings
- Reserve Hite (25 points) makes push for a spot