Should Winslow Make the Pro Bowl?

The question has been asked many times this season: just who is the best tight end in the AFC this season? Obviously, we'd like to believe that Kellen Winslow has the most potential, but the Browns have not been able to get him the football at the most opportune times in the red zone. Only two tight ends are typically voted into the Pro Bowl, and being in contention come December usually has a lot to do with making it and not making it. Let's take a look at the "elite" tight ends in the AFC, and the possible reasons for why they deserve to go to the Pro Bowl or why they do not deserve to go. I'd like to note that what certain players like Tony Gonzalez and Todd Heap do in the next few weeks could change my decision on them, because clutch games while trying to clinch a playoff spot are huge.

Tickets for Jonathan Vilma's Appearance on Quite Frankly in NYC

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Ex-Raider never hit stride with Houston, coach says

The Raiders career of first-round draft pick Phillip Buchanon flamed out after three up-and-down seasons. He lasted less than half that long with the Houston Texans and now is trying to catch on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

The Texans released Buchanon after five games; he signed with the Bucs and hasn't done much of note.

Texans Coach Gary Kubiak said several things factored into his decision to release Buchanon after such a short time.

``It's just a matter of (his) not being able to stay on the field for us since I've been here,'' Kubiak said. ``We had some cornerback issues in training camp. He had an excellent opportunity to be our starter.''

Former UM star Popa still making an impact - Father of five thrives as Cypress Bay girls' basketball coach, special ed teacher

After traveling the globe to play basketball, Constantin Popa got his first real job selling office equipment. He then moved on to real estate and mortgages.

"I bounced around until I could find what I really wanted to do," said the soft-spoken Popa, who played for the University of Miami. He says he has finally found the right job. Popa, 35, is in his second season as the girls' varsity basketball coach at Cypress Bay High. He also is a special education teacher at the Weston school.

"I always saw myself getting into coaching," said the 7-foot-3 Popa. "It was just the right place and the right time. I didn't know what to expect when I started, but I was very excited about the opportunity."

Nate Webster Update

Broncos linebacker Nate Webster was excused from practice because his wife was having a baby. He will be back with the team, Shanahan said, for Sunday and available to play . . .


Call 'em Shock jocks - Giants back Jeremy — guaranteed

Jeremy Shockey's "guarantee" of victory over the Cowboys came almost two weeks, one horrific collapse and several controversies ago, but Bill Parcells has made sure Shockey's words won't fade away. And that's just fine with the Giants.

They are standing behind what Shockey said.

"I feel like just like 80," running back Brandon Jacobs said yesterday. "I think if we play our game, can't anybody beat us — no one — when we play our game. It's not a guarantee. It's just confidence."

Browns' Winslow amuses Chiefs' Gonzalez - KC tight end lets his career stats do the talking, unlike the young, cocky Cleveland player.

Tony Gonzalez used to let himself get worked up when he was called out by yet another young tight end aspiring to be him.

When Cleveland’s Kellen Winslow Jr. recently claimed for himself the title as the best in the business, Gonzalez was more amused than anything else.

But Gonzalez took notice. This week, with the Chiefs preparing for Sunday’s game against Winslow’s Browns in Cleveland, he couldn’t let it pass without comment.

“I respect him as a player,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just funny the way some guys conduct themselves, fall into the trap of trying to get exposure. Really, what counts is what you do on the field. You really don’t have to say too much or you shouldn’t have to say too much.

Jets' Vilma getting used to leadership role

HEMPSTEAD - Instinct still tells Jets inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma to head toward the football. He's getting used to ignoring that little voice.

"It starts with the first step. If you make a wrong step on the initial reaction, you messed up the rest of the play,'' Vilma said yesterday. "Naturally, you want to do things you can't do now, and that's a little tough.''

Jets coach Eric Mangini offered some unsolicited praise, comparing the way Vilma calls the defensive signals to the way Chad Pennington runs the offense.

"Whereas he gets more and more familiar with the system, you see a lot of his style of play incorporated into the system,'' Mangini said.

Chris Havel column: Franks disappears from red zone

Mike McCarthy is a magician.

The Green Bay Packers' coach has managed to make a 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end disappear.

There is a better chance of Bubba Franks showing up on an Amber Alert, or on the back of a milk carton, than inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Franks has gone from invincible in the red zone to invisible in the red zone.

Once upon a time, Brett Favre joked that Franks might become the first player in National Football League history to have more touchdown catches than receiving yards. It was Favre at his wittiest, and it was Franks at his best, and it was smiles all around.

Vilma’s Small Statistics Not Seen as a Big Deal

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Nov. 30 — Coach Eric Mangini likes to look beneath the surface, beyond the statistics, to appreciate — and defend — his players.

After the Jets lost to the Chicago Bears, 10-0, on Nov. 19, Chad Pennington was criticized for throwing two costly interceptions and passing for only 162 yards. Mangini came to his defense, highlighting the nuances that were Pennington’s strengths.

On Thursday, it was linebacker Jonathan Vilma who received the verbal pat on the back.

“One of the things that we’ve been talking about quite a bit with Chad lately is the unseen things that he does — getting us in and out of checks, getting us in and out of good and bad plays,” Mangini said. “And I think that on the flip side, Jonathan Vilma is very similar to Chad in that way.”


Skins' Taylor does talking on the field

ASHBURN - The Sean Taylor almost no one sees stood in front of his locker Wednesday as a small procession of news people came by, one by one, to offer congratulations on his being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Taylor turned to face each person, flashed a bright, friendly smile, and replied, "Thank you very much."

But when someone asked for a few minutes of his time, a few words of wisdom, Taylor smiled again, shook his dreadlocked head and turned away.

Phils strike out with big free agents, but Burrell may not be so bad

PHILADELPHIA -- It appears the Phillies are going to stand pat, even though most of their fans can't stand Pat. The Phils went into baseball's free agency determined to get a right-handed power hitter to protect franchise player Ryan Howard, and there were some fantasy favorites out there when the market opened almost three weeks ago.

Not anymore. All of big names Phillies fans coveted -- Alfonso Soriano, Gary Sheffield, Moises Alou, Carlos Lee and Gary Matthews Jr. -- either signed with or were traded to other teams.

Salmons settles in as sixth man

You could call it a "role" of the dice.

If the Kings' high-stakes week ahead were optional, you wonder if they wouldn't RSVP for a few months from now, say maybe when all their pieces are not only healthy, but better acquainted for such a challenge.

But willing or not, today's game in Dallas begins a three-game stretch in which the Kings' opponents boast a collective record of 34-13. It begins with the torturous two-step at Dallas and San Antonio on Saturday, and ends with Monday's homecoming against a surging Orlando Magic squad.

Winslow says he’s limping to finish line

BEREA A month has passed since Kellen Winslow Jr. headed for Antonio Gates country boasting that, as tight ends go, he’s the greatest show on earth.

“I just did it for fun,” Winslow says now, “for laughs and giggles.”

It’s December. Losing has mellowed the tone coming from Winslow’s locker stall.

“The season wears on you,” he said Thursday. “I haven’t hit the wall or anything, but my body’s tired. My knee’s sore.”

Niners' Gore earns right to brag, even among former 'Canes

Spring get-togethers at the University of Miami can feature some of the NFL's best players, and some of the best runners. Naturally in an ego-driven profession, the barbs and brags go flying during those sessions. Trash-talking at Miami, after all, is an art form.

Frank Gore was part of those sessions last offseason, following his rookie season in the NFL. But the shy, quiet, introverted former 'Canes player really couldn't do much of the bragging.

In his first season with the San Francisco 49ers, he flashed some talent in 2005, but that was nothing compared to what fellow 'Canes runners Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Edgerrin James did last season.

"There wasn't a lot for me to say," Gore said.

Sinorice Moss Update

Giants rookie receiver Sinorice Moss, listed as questionable, made it through practice last week but admitted he never truly tested his leg by running full-tilt. He planned on doing that yesterday.


Devin Hester - Cornerback/Punt return specialist, No. 23

Media guide musings: Drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Miami (Fla.). Returned a punt for a touchdown in NFL debut and game-winning punt return for touchdown against Arizona in Week 6. Tied NFL record for longest play with 108-yard field goal return Week 10 against the Giants. Majored in liberal arts at Miami, where he played offense (wide receiver, running back and fullback), defense (corner and nickel) and special teams (punt returns) during his career. Was 2005 Big East champion in the indoor long jump. Was All-American track athlete in high school.

Vitals: 5 feet 11 inches, 196 pounds

Favorite pro team growing up: "I used to like the Cowboys back in '95, but after that it was just certain players. I just liked players, I didn't have a favorite team."

College team growing up: "Florida when they had Fred Taylor."

So was it weird going to Miami if you were a Florida fan? "It was pretty crazy 'cause I got an offer from Florida and I turned 'em down instantly. I kinda [leaned toward] Miami toward the end of my senior year [in high school], so that's where my heart was into going."

‘Rested’ James ready to roll

Edgerrin James was back at practice Wednesday, after the Cardinals’ running back had missed Monday’s walk-through tending to a sick relative in Florida.

And he kept his sense of humor in the aftermath of his four-carry day Sunday in Minnesota, the first time in his career he had been used so little for virtually no reason.

“Hey,” James joked, “they’re saving my career.”

James’ 28-year-old legs don’t need the rest, of course. He started strong against the Vikings, rumbling for 14 yards on the Cards’ fourth offensive play, and was barely seen again.

Redskins' Taylor Put On the Hits Sunday

When the Washington Redskins drafted Sean Taylor fifth overall in 2004, they envisioned afternoons like Sunday. Taylor would help stifle the run, hit like a linebacker, bruise receivers and track down long passes for interceptions. On Sunday, Taylor did all of that in a 17-13 victory over Carolina, but it was the highlight of an otherwise pedestrian season.

Taylor struggled along with the entire defense, languishing in coverage, racking up personal fouls and seemingly being out of sorts at times as the Redskins won only three of their first 10 games. On Sunday, he seemed at ease, dancing along with the rest of the players during timeouts and working with new starting safety Vernon Fox, who was filling in for injured Troy Vincent. With about two minutes to play, Taylor made a swooping, one-on-one tackle on wide receiver Drew Carter, driving him to the ground two yards shy of the marker on fourth down. When the Panthers drove again a minute later, Taylor read quarterback Jake Delhomme's long pass and intercepted it in the end zone to cement the victory.

"That game was testament to him as a player, his all-around tackling and going after the ball," Fox said. "You got to see every facet of his game Sunday, and we're just hoping that as the weeks continue to progress you'll see more of that. He's a great player, and when he's clicking on all cylinders you get to see those types of performances."

Hester providing many happy returns in Chicago

CHICAGO — Coming into the NFL Draft last spring, Devin Hester was considered a man without a position. So far, he hasn't needed one.
The Chicago Bears rookie, who played wide receiver and cornerback at the University of Miami, is doing what he was drafted to do — put electricity into the return game.

With five games remaining, Hester is one touchdown shy of tying the NFL record for special-teams scores by a rookie, and he is expected to receive more opportunities down the stretch.

His three TD returns — two on punts and the NFL record-tying 108-yard return of a missed New York Giants field goal Nov. 12 — put him behind only Jack Christiansen of Detroit (1951) and Travis Williams of Green Bay (1967) on the all-time rookie TD list for special teams. (Christiansen's were all punt returns and Williams' kickoffs.)

Salmons finding comfort zone in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - John Salmons was in his element in Philadelphia, but Sacramento has hardly felt like home sweet home in his first two months in town.

Signed as a free agent by the Kings in the offseason, the Philadelphia-bornand -raised Salmons has lived in a hotel room, driven various rental cars - and, perhaps worst of all, was separated from his new bride and college sweetheart, Taniesha.

"That's life in the NBA," said Salmons, who was drafted by his beloved 76ers in 2002 and played four seasons in Philadelphia. "Deciding to leave was tough. When I was a rookie, I thought I would be a 76er my whole career."

INSIDE GANG GREEN New York Jets’ star linebacker Jonathan Vilma reveals the secret to the team’s recent success on the playing field.

Who said the New York Jets wouldn’t amount to anything this year? Defying NFL prognosticators and local naysayers, the perennially displaced Giants Stadium tenants are in the playoff hunt. As the second half of the season takes shape, the Jets’ All-Pro linebacker and team captain tells New York Press he’s happy being nicknamed after Wilma Flintstone, pretty sure that football can be a way out of juvey and certain that Donna Shalala is down with “Da U.”

NY Press: The movie Gridiron Gang, starring the Rock, is about teenagers in a detention center gaining self-esteem through football. How realistic is that scenario?

Jonathan Vilma:
Although I haven’t been in that situation before, I think it’s realistic in the same way many other programs help kids that are straying or haven’t had the proper guidance. You can help them through football like any other program.

Roscoe Parrish Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

In a back-and-forth game full of big plays, Buffalo's Parrish made one of the biggest with an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter for a 27-24 home victory against Jacksonville. With 4:11 to go in the third quarter, Parrish fielded a Jaguars punt on his own 18, spun around would-be tacklers for daylight along the left sideline following an exceptional block by rookie teammate Donte Whitner and motored for the score to give the Bills a 24-14 advantage in the eventual win. The play marked Buffalo's first punt return for a touchdown since 2004 when Nate Clements returned a Rams punt 86 yards for a score. Parrish also notched a 22-yard punt return earlier in the third quarter to establish a single-game club-record 104 punt return yards on the afternoon, surpassing the 98-yard mark held by Ike Hill since 1971. Parrish leads the NFL with a 13.9 punt return average. He also caught two passes for 36 yards, including a crucial 30-yard reception with 17 seconds left in regulation to set up a game-winning field goal.

In his second year from Miami, this is the first Player of the Week Award for Parrish.


Sean Taylor Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Taylor posted six tackles, an interception and a pass defensed in Washington's 17-13 victory over Carolina. He made two key plays down the stretch to contribute to the win. He prevented a crucial first down with 2:16 remaining when Carolina's Drew Carter caught a short pass on 4th-and-6 but got stopped by Taylor two yards short of the marker. Taylor then sealed the win with an interception on the Panthers' final drive.


Shockey's 'no way in hell' comment fuel for Big D?

Jeremy Shockey's candor may have given the Dallas Cowboys some extra incentive for Sunday's NFC East showdown with the New York Giants.

After the Giants' Week 11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- the second loss in what is now a three-game slide, puncuated by last Sunday's meltdown against the Tennessee Titans -- Shockey told ESPN's Ed Werder there was "no way in hell" the Cowboys would beat the Giants if the Giants played up to par.

Bills fans support their local Parrish

Buffalo second-year wide receiver Roscoe Parrish wasn't even a blip on the Bills' radar screen before Sunday, and since then, has been bigger than legends on most maps.

Parrish is commonly used as a return man, and showed why in Sunday's 27-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo already had the lead, and Parrish padded it with an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Former players praise Davis

Here is what some former players under Butch Davis had to say about the new Carolina football coach:

"He is above and beyond a players' coach. He's a family coach. ... I'd keep an eye out on their program for years to come because the man is special."
-- Reggie Wayne, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts

"He runs a program like no other. When guys come in as 19-year-olds or whatever the case may be, he molds them into men as players and as people."
-- Santana Moss, wide receiver, Washington Redskins

"Coach Davis is really good with players. I think he will build a really nice program there."
-- Edgerrin James, running back, Arizona Cardinals

Taylor remains work in progress

There was the third-and-8 play on which he covered for the cornerback and interrupted a potential drive-extending completion.

There was the third-and-14 play on which he gathered a head of steam and stopped the running back 8 yards shy of a first down.

There was the fourth-and-6 play on which he made an athletic, open field tackle, again stopping the play short of a first down.

And there was the victory-cementing interception with 55 seconds left.

Four keys plays in the Washington Redskins' 17-13 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. All made by safety Sean Taylor.

This time, Andre isn't a giant - Texans' Johnson shoulders blame for loss to Jets

Wide receiver Andre Johnson couldn't have cared less that David Carr passed for more than 300 yards for just the fourth time in his career. Johnson also didn't care that he and Eric Moulds each had 10 catches for the first time in the same game.

All Johnson took away from watching film was that the receivers botched it in the Texans' 26-11 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. On a day when the running game collected a franchise-low 25 rushing yards, Johnson pointed to the receivers as the ones who helped sink the Texans.

"It was our worst performance as receivers," Johnson said. "That's frustrating. This is my fourth year here now, and after all (the losses) it kind of wears and tears on you."

Rocky McIntosh Update

Rocky McIntosh, Redskins: Blocked a punt that led to Jason Campbell’s 4-yard TD pass to Antwaan Randle El in a 17-13 win over Carolina.


McGahee’s Sense of Team Gets Him Back on the Field

Willis McGahee is a man of faith. He relied on it when his knee was torn apart in the National Championship game three years ago, and he admitted to turning to that same faith these past few weeks as his body tried to heal itself again after another serious injury.

"The good Lord, He had a lot to do with it," said McGahee of being able to play with pain of three broken ribs and get through Sunday's game. "I just prayed and rested. That's all."

McGahee, who has a pair of praying hands tattooed on the right side of his neck, has been somewhat of a miracle healer in his playing career. Many thought his career was over after his catastrophic knee injury. But not once in his rehabilitation did he have a single setback.

Fan Q&A: Damione Lewis

How are the defensive dinners going, and how much is the bill? JakeThoma2
They’re going pretty good. We’re having a good time. The bill is averaging anywhere from $2,500-3,500. We split it three ways (defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs), and it’s almost 30 guys.
Has the defense ever gone to an all-you-can-eat buffet together? Aquendwato
No, we haven’t done that one yet. (laughs)

Who was your favorite player growing up? David, Charlotte
Reggie White. Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Russell Maryland, Charles Haley -- pretty much the whole Cowboys team in the early 90’s. Walter Payton. Richard Dent.

NFL U Week 12 Video Highlights

Check out Week 12 NFL U Video Highlights featuring Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Sean Taylor, Roscoe Parrish's punt return, Kelly Jennings' first career interception and more! Click at the top on NFL U Video Highlights or click here!

NFL U Week 12 Season Gallery Updated With MORE PIctures

Check out Week 12 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out more pictures of Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee and more by clicking above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Gore feeling a little sore, nothing more

SANTA CLARA-There was a collective sigh of relief at 49ers headquarters Monday with the news that the leg injury running back Frank Gore sustained in Sunday's 20-17 loss at St. Louis was not serious.

Gore, who left the game in the closing minutes, had X-rays taken at the stadium of his lower right leg. They turned out to be negative. A subsequent exam Monday disclosed nothing more than bruises above the ankle and below the shin.

"I'll be ready," Gore said of his status for Sunday's game at New Orleans.

James skips walk-through

A day after sitting out most of the second half against the Minnesota Vikings, Cardinals running back Edgerrin James didn't participate in a scheduled walk-through session at the team's facility in Tempe.

A team spokesman said James was visiting a sick relative in south Florida. He's expected to return for Wednesday's practice, five days before the 2-9 Cardinals visit the St. Louis Rams.

James, the team's prized off-season acquisition, rushed only four times for 15 yards in Sunday's loss. He caught two passes for 10 yards but spent most of Arizona's late comeback watching from the sideline.

Rapid recovery has Willis feeling good

Running back Willis McGahee was a little sore, but he was feeling good a day after his return from broken ribs.

His sunny disposition reflected the mood of the Buffalo Bills, who are playing their best football of the season. Sunday's 27-24 victory over Jacksonville was Buffalo's second straight and third in four games since the bye.

"We tried to start out good, but things weren't going our way and we went into our little drought," said McGahee, who was at the team's practice facility Monday even though the players had the day off. "But we knew things would turn around for us eventually. We just couldn't keep staying in that drought. We're learning how to finish right now. Even though we were up, 24-17, and [Jacksonville] came back, we didn't lose our composure. We didn't panic. We knew what we had to do."

A's kick tires on Piazza

The A's are laying the groundwork to fill in some holes that have opened since the American League Championship Series.

With Frank Thomas already departed for Toronto, the A's began talks with Padres catcher Mike Piazza last week about becoming the team's DH. While negotiations are continuing, according to a source, Oakland is unlikely to sign Piazza, a Type-A free agent, until after the Dec. 1 arbitration deadline so that the team does not lose a draft pick. Piazza, who also was an A's target last offseason, probably is looking for a two-year deal.

Vince Wilfork Update

DOWN AND DIRTY: Right tackle Fred Miller is hopeful the league will review the hit he took from Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork following Rex Grossman's second interception. Miller was well away from the play and was not involved when Wilfork blindsided him. In meetings with officials this summer, they emphasized such hits would be deemed illegal in hoping to avoid the kind of gruesome hip injury suffered by Green Bay's Chad Clifton when Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp clobbered him on a change-of-possession play away from the ball several years ago.

''It was a [cheap] shot,'' said Miller, who injured his right knee on the play.

''I thought he was totally behind me [making it illegal] as well, and the ref was standing right there. What can you do?''


Rapid Roscoe now hitting on all cylinders

(November 27, 2006) — ORCHARD PARK — For five weeks, Roscoe Parrish had been a speedy guy going nowhere fast. He was a Maserati stuck in neutral, more suspect than prospect.

The Bills second-year receiver/punt returner had not caught a pass in more than a month. He had become an afterthought in the Buffalo offense, and had not done anything memorable on special teams.

But that changed in a hurry Sunday. Parrish impressed with his feet and his hands and his daring. As he had done so many times during his electric senior season at the University of Miami three years ago, he changed the complexion of a game. Not once, but twice.

Lewis: 'Coach Davis is a Winner'

As Butch Davis takes the reins of the Tar Heel football program Monday, Inside Carolina had a lengthy conversation with one of Davis' former players -- Damione Lewis.

Damione Lewis was recruited to Miami by Butch Davis in 1995, red-shirted in 1996, and played four years for the Hurricanes - 1997-2000, earning first-team All-Big East honors as a defensive tackle. He was the 12th pick in the 2001 draft and is now in his sixth NFL season, playing for the Carolina Panthers.

Inside Carolina: How would you describe Butch Davis’ interaction with his players?

Damione Lewis: I think he’s a great player’s coach. I mean he is going have them give them everything he has to make sure they are successful. And, he’s going to work with them and just try to get the most out of them. I think they’ll love him down there. First, I think they are probably not going to like him too much because he’s going to be hard on them until he gets them playing the way he wants them to. But, it’s all out of love.


If Reggie Wayne doesn’t make the Pro Bowl this season, it won’t be because of a lack of big plays.
And it won’t be because he didn’t perform in high-profile games.

Wayne, the Colts’ sixth-year wide receiver, has been a 1,000-yard receiver each of the last two seasons and in 2004, he caught 12 touchdown passes. But each year, he largely has been overlooked in post-season awards, and despite being one of the league’s top receivers, he has not made the Pro Bowl.

But this season, Wayne has consistently been among the AFC’s leaders in yardage and receptions, and on Sunday night – in the Colts’ nationally-televised victory over the Eagles – he made what may have been the most spectacular catch of his career.

Midway through the first quarter, Colts
quarterback Peyton Manning – who has said each of the past two seasons he believed Wayne should make the Pro Bowl – threw deep to Wayne down the left sideline.

Wayne caught the ball with his left hand and stayed in bounds, dragging his foot on a play that was unsuccessfully challenged by Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.

In the second half, Wayne’s 11-yard touchdown pass from Manning gave the Colts a 31-7 lead.


Eric Winston Update

The way we hear it, the Texans are pleased with what they have seen of rookie ORT Eric Winston, but they believe his future is inside because of his relatively short arms.


Parrish cuts loose with a little help from his friends

Roscoe Parrish fields the punt on the second bounce and you know he's going nowhere because not even Clark Kent can tie his cape in a phone booth that small.

And when he reverses field and hits the left sideline you just know he'll step out of bounds because not even the Flying Wallendas could walk that lean a line.

And when he makes it to midfield you just know this is where it all ends until he uses EZ-Pass to maintain speed while dismissing the left-arm tackle of overmatched punter Chris Hanson.

BILLS NOTEBOOK: McGahee goes over 3,000 yards for his career

ORCHARD PARK — Not only did Willis McGahee double his touchdown production Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Buffalo Bills running back also eclipsed a milestone along the way.

McGahee’s 63 yards gave him 3,017 for his career, making him the seventh player in franchise history to gain at least 3,000. McGahee accomplished the feat in his 41st game, tying Cookie Gilchrist and Thurman Thomas for the third fastest to 3,000.

NFL U Week 11 Season Gallery Updated With Week 12 PIctures

Check out Week 12 pictures to NFL U Gallery. Check out pictures of Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee and more by clicking above on NFL U Season Gallery or click here.

Loss hurt Gore more

(11-27) 04:00 PST St. Louis -- Which player can the 49ers least afford to lose?

Running back Frank Gore would seem to be a consensus answer, that's why Bay Area reporters waited until Gore finished treatment on his right ankle to talk to him, long after the 49ers' 20-17 loss to St. Louis.

Gore exited late in the game with the injury and didn't return. Stadium X-rays on his lower leg were negative and the team will know more today after further examination.

Giants notebook: Finger can't break Shockey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jeremy Shockey was limping through the locker room (isn't he always?) after the Giants' horrible loss to the Titans when backup tight end Visanthe Shiancoe asked to see his left ring finger.

Shockey showed him. Shiancoe recoiled in horror. So will you when you read Shockey's description of what happened during warm-ups yesterday

Spare Ribs

Does anyone need more proof about Willis McGahee’s toughness? Between his well-documented comeback from his knee injury to Sunday’s performance with three cracked ribs, he’s earning a reputation as Jack Youngblood-tough. Not only did he play with the cracked ribs, but he scored twice and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. I really didn’t think we’d hear from McGahee again this year. Cracked ribs are incredibly painful, and even if the Bills’ trainer shot him up higher than Avery Johnson voice, it’s still a fantastic effort. Obviously, Anthony Thomas becomes a permanent staple on your bench, but don’t drop him since a helmet to the chest could sideline McGahee again.


Butch Davis brings poise, presence (Dan Morgan Comments)

It was obvious Butch Davis was a big man with a bigger personality from the moment he walked through the door into Dan Morgan's home.

Davis, who's 6-foot-4, exuded a confidence that made him seem even larger on his recruiting visit with Morgan.

He was wearing one of the Super Bowl rings he had won as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. He seemed sure of himself as he made his pitch.

"He's definitely an imposing person when he walks into your living room," said Morgan, who played for Davis at Miami and now is a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. "He definitely has a demeanor about him that's very professional and very confident."

Disputed 'pass' call has Sapp seething

When Warren Sapp becomes animated, his eyes grow large, and they were large now, large and overflowing with fury.

The Oakland Raiders' voluble defensive tackle was having his say concerning referee Mike Carey's ruling at Qualcomm Stadium that the Chargers'
Vincent Jackson had not fumbled but attempted an illegal forward pass after making a reception.

“How many times have you seen a completed pass caught by the receiver and then the receiver throws it again?” Sapp demanded.

McGahee Update

Bills RB Willis McGahee: After sitting out two games with broken ribs, he returned to action and without question played in pain. But he made terrific runs on both of his touchdowns and had to suck it up and play longer than expected when Anthony Thomas twisted an ankle.


Kevin Everett Update

Bills TE Kevin Everett: Remember when we were told that Everett was going to become the downfield TE threat the Bills have lacked for years when he was drafted in the third round in 2005? After sitting out last year with a knee injury, Everett has one catch for one yard this year. He was dressed but did not play Sunday because unheralded Brad Cieslak has supplanted him as the No. 2 TE. Cieslak had three catches for 25 yards.


Veteran Lang remains a kid at heart

Born and raised in Orlando, Fla., Kenard, 31, and brother Kevin, 36, were raised by dad, Calvin, who once played semi-pro football for the Charleston Rockets, and mom Johnnie. Kenard left the University of Miami after his junior season and became the Washington Redskins' No. 1 draft pick in 1997. A free agent after the 2001 season, he played with Cleveland until he was released after last season and signed with the Broncos. He is tied with rookie Elvis Dumervil for the team lead in sacks with six.

Klis: You're done with Dove Valley on Friday. What do you do?

Lang: I always go get a haircut.


Gore strikes fear in NFL defenses

San Francisco running back Frank Gore is proud to be a stat watcher.

Instead of tracking a fantasy team, though, Gore keeps an eye on the top defenses in the NFL. He knows that Chicago is ranked first overall but that Minnesota has the stingiest rushing defense. He also tracks the rushing yardage of his college chums: Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Najeh Davenport.

Gore not only stacks up well with his former teammates at the University of Miami, he surpasses them. Gore was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 212-yard rushing performance Sunday in the 49ers' 20-14 victory over the Seahawks. He has registered five 100-yard rushing games this season and is second in the NFL with 1,043 yards. Gore also leads the league in rushes of more than 20 yards, 12.

Giants' TE a silly shock jock

IRVING -- In terms of pure unadulterated stupidity, few athletes measure up to Jeremy Shockey.

He infamously called Coach Parcells "a homo" upon his arrival in Dallas. He basically called his own coach a loser this season, saying New York had been outcoached. He calls reporters "cockroaches."

He may have a point on that last item. Not that I care. I usually ignore Shock Jockey, an overrated punk who only gets rated because he plays near NYC

Ravens' R. Lewis to start against Steelers - LB missed two straight games with sore back

Linebacker Ray Lewis will play, but right guard Keydrick Vincent and tight end Daniel Wilcox will not in today's Ravens showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lewis (bruised back) was not on the Ravens' injury report and will play for the first time since colliding with free safety Ed Reed during the team's win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 5.


49ers rushing with Gore

A year and a half later, 49ers vice president of player personnel Scot McCloughan doesn't have to justify his draft-day gamble on running back Frank Gore.

Churning the surgically reconstructed knees that raised questions throughout the league about his durability, Gore has gained an NFC-leading 1,043 yards.

His 12 runs of 20 or more yards are the most in the NFL this season. Four of them came last week as part of a franchise-record 212-yard performance against Seattle that helped the 49ers (5-5) get into the playoff hunt.

"I'm seeing what I expected," McCloughan said.