Davenport glad to be out of Pittsburgh

TERRE HAUTE — It didn’t take running back Najeh Davenport very long to become a fan of the Indianapolis Colts.

The 6-foot 1, 247-pound Davenport, a fourth-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2002, had played in four games with the Pittsburgh Steelers this season before he was waived on Nov. 8. A day later, the Steelers faced Indianapolis at Heinz Field.

“They [Pittsburgh] let me go, then they brought me back, then they let me go, then they brought me back, then they let me go and then I got the call here,” Davenport said Thursday. “I was supposed to go to the New York Jets [after he was waived by the Steelers the last time]. They called me and told me that they were going to bring me in [early this week]. And then [Monday night] I got the call to come here. I got here Tuesday.

“They [Pittsburgh] released me [right before the Colts game] and brought me back the next Wednesday. And then played like two more games [with the Steelers]. When I got released [on Nov. 8], I was rooting for the Colts [to win the Nov. 9 game].”

He got his wish. Indianapolis won 24-20.

Davenport was intrigued about coming to Indianapolis and playing with an offense that featured quarterback Peyton Manning. He had heard good things about the team from former Colts running back Edgerrin James and current receiver Reggie Wayne. All three are University of Miami alums.

“I wanted to see what all the hype was about, so I was kind of happy when I got the call,” he said, adding that the toughest thing to pick up has been the offensive terminology. The basic offense is the same as what he work with in Pittsburgh.

“The only thing I knew [about the Colts] was what E.J. told me and what I learned from Reg. From the outside looking in, I thought that [picking up the offense would be] hard. But when I talked to E.J. and Reg, they said it wasn’t that hard.”

McGahee frustrated with recent performance

Ravens running back Willis McGahee expects to be healthy enough to play in Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, he understands if the team decides to use him sparringly.

McGahee's struggles continued in last Sunday's 24-10 win over the Washington Redskins when he rushed for just 32 yards, had a fumble and dropped a pass. The six-year veteran, who missed practice Wednesday due to a family issue, has rushed for just 58 yards in his last four games while the Ravens rely more on fullback Le'Ron McClain and rookie Ray Rice to carry the ground game. McGahee has rushed for 521 yards on 152 carries while McClain leads the Ravens with 606 yards on 162 carries. Rice leads the team with a 4.2 yards per carry average.

"To tell you the truth. I wouldn't," said McGahee on whether he thought the coaches still had confidence in him, "I haven't had the best season. Right now, Le'Ron [McClain] and Ray [Rice] are the hot guys. You stick with your guns.


Rolle making successful switch

There was never a doubt that Antrel Rolle would commit himself to making a successful transition from cornerback to free safety.

"He just loves to play the game, and he doesn't care where he's playing," said Cardinals secondary coach Teryl Austin. "If you said, 'Trel, we have to line you up at nose tackle this week,' he'd say, 'All right, what do I have to do?' "

The questions about Rolle's move were more about time and space. How long would it take Rolle, who played cornerback in college and in his first three years with the Cardinals, to adapt to a position farther away from the ball?

Turns out, about a half a season. Rolle went through predictable rough spots early in the season, and his transition was slowed by an ankle injury suffered in training camp. He wasn't bad, but there were some bad angles taken and some tackles missed.

Over the past month, however, Rolle has settled into the free safety spot. Always a student of opponents' tendencies, he's now comfortable in applying the Cardinals defensive concepts to stopping them.

He returned an interception for a touchdown against the Rams in early November and had 12 solo tackles the past two games. He's even dabbled a bit on the offensive side of the ball, lining up at receiver and catching a pass for 9 yards last week against the Rams.

"When I see myself from Week 1 to Week 9 or 10, I'm like, 'Who is that dude out there?' " Rolle said. "I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But that's all part of the process, you watch yourself grow, week in and week out."

Strong safety Adrian Wilson has played a large part in that process. Rolle has always been willing to study but had to grow accustomed to the physical differences between the two positions.

At safety, he also had to learn more about the entire defense. At cornerback, he usually had to worry about himself. Wilson taught him that knowing each position's responsibilities would help.

"It's not foreign for him any more to know what each guy is able to do," Wilson said. "It really helps our defense to have two guys (at safety) who kind of know what they're doing."

Wilson and Rolle are so comfortable now that they often play interchangeable roles. In past years, if a safety blitz was called and the offense flipped the strong side of the formation, Wilson moved to the other side, too.

Now, Wilson's just as likely to move back to safety and allow Rolle to move down. It's not always just Wilson coming down for run support, either.
"We know every formation, and we know each other's positions," Rolle said. "So at any given time, we have the ability and mind-set to adjust to formations. That's what we do, we just take chances. The best thing for a defense to do is keep an offense guessing."

Free safety has been a weakness of the Cardinals for years. They signed Terrence Holt in free agency last year, but he played poorly and was cut in the off-season.

Rolle, meanwhile, struggled at cornerback for portions of his first three seasons. The eighth overall pick in 2005, he excelled at playing the nickel corner and returned three interceptions for touchdowns last year.

There were rumblings all along that he would make a better safety than corner, and last off-season Rolle volunteered to make the move.

"Each week, he's getting better," Austin said. "I figured it would come; I wasn't sure how fast it would come. Boy, I couldn't be happier for him and the way he's played."


Edgerrin Happy to be in Playoffs

Running back Edgerrin James isn't happy with his diminished role, but he enjoyed the division clinching victory and celebration. "It's the reason why I can here," he said. "I know it had the potential to accomplish this. It's unfortunate for the situation with myself. But at the end of the day, you're happy for the city of Phoenix. I'm for all of my teammates at the end of the day. It's not about me."


Gore misses practice Thursday

Matt Maiocco, of The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, reports San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (ankle) missed the team's practice Thursday, Dec. 11, and it is looking doubtful he will be available for Week 15. Head coach Mike Singletary is calling him a game-time decision.


Winslow says he's eager to return to Browns in 2009

Kellen Winslow hopes to return to the Browns next season, despite his midseason feud with the team and his contract issues.

"I do want to be back here," Winslow said. "I love being here and playing here. The fans have stuck by me, so yeah."

Winslow, who will sit out the Eagles game Monday night with his high ankle sprain, said none of the players are sure of their futures because of coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage being on the hot seat.

"Whatever happens, happens," he said. "I love being a Cleveland Brown. The guys here, we don't know who's going to be here next year. It's tough. You just have to focus on this year."

He said he didn't know if his status would be affected by that of Savage. Winslow's beef during the staph infection saga was mostly directed toward the general manager. "I'm not going to say," said Winslow.

He made it clear, however, that he has a very good relationship with Browns owner Randy Lerner. "I'm very happy with him," he said.

As for the new contract, he said, "I hired Drew Rosenhaus for that. That's his job." Then he added with a laugh, "I might just want to go and reach free agency [laughs]. Who knows?"

Winslow is under contract for the next two years at $4.5 million and $4.75 million. His request for a new deal has not been met and Savage said recently that no contracts will be renegotiated before the end of the season.

Winslow acknowledged that it's been a tough year for him, beginning with the staph infection and suspension. He also suffered a bruised right shoulder and then the high ankle sprain against the Colts Nov. 30. He sat out the Titans game last week and could miss the rest of this season.

"It just hasn't gone my way," he said. "I'm going to continue to fight."

Despite the ankle being a 3- to 6-week injury, Winslow is resisting injured reserve. The best-case scenario would have him back for the Bengals game Dec. 21 and the worst would be missing the remaining three games.

"I can come back, but I want to be healthy enough to help my team win," he said.

He said it would be easy to shut it down with the Browns at 4-9, "but my teammates are out there and it's hard to watch. I want to be out there with them."

One of the main reasons he wants to return is Ken Dorsey, his former University of Miami quarterback. The last game they played together was the Hurricanes' loss to Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Winslow caught 11 passes for 122 yards and a TD in that 31-24 double-overtime loss.

"I'd love to be out there with him again," said Winslow. "We always talk about it. But we've got to do a better job of protecting him. It was tough to watch on Sunday."

He said the two are so in sync "that we don't even have to say anything. It's there."

With Pro Bowl voting by the players and coaches this week, Winslow wasn't expecting a cameo appearance. He's caught only 43 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, he had 82 catches for 1,106 yards and five TDs. "It's been disappointing," he said.

On the bright side, he said his oft-surgically repaired right knee won't need another procedure in the off-season. He revealed that his last scope was performed by noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, the same surgeon who repaired Brady Quinn's finger and scoped Joe Jurevicius' knee Thursday.

"He did a phenomenal job," said Winslow. "He's the best."


Saints won’t extend Vilma, to detriment of NY teams

Had New Orleans resigned linebacker Jonathan Vilma to a long-term contract extension this season, or even shortly thereafter, two New York teams would have benefited.

First, the conditional fourth-round pick the Saints traded to the Jets for Vilma would have become a second-round pick.

And if that Vilma trade with the Jets had involved a second-round pick, then the Saints would have been forced to compensate the New York Giants with a first-round pick for tight end Jeremy Shockey.

But New Orleans can exhale. The Saints did not re-sign Vilma, and will not attempt to do so until he becomes a free agent, thus the value the Jets and Giants receive now can be determined.

The conditional fourth-round pick the Saints traded to the Jets for Vilma will become a third-round pick in 2009. The Jets used the Saints fourth-round pick in 2008, but they will have to return a fourth-round pick to New Orleans this April.

And while the Jets get the Saints third-round pick, the Giants will get New Orleans’ second-round pick for Shockey.

So the Saints now are scheduled to have their first-round pick, and two fourth-round picks, with no second- or third-round picks.


Wilfork says he’s a go Sunday

As for his own health situation, Wilfork was even more positive. Proclaiming that he felt "better ... a lot better," Wilfork said that he intends to suit up for Sunday's game in Oakland. He left the Seattle game in the first quarter last weekend with a shoulder injury and never returned to action.

"Oh, yeah ... oh, yeah ... no question. I'm ready for Sunday," he said. "I wanted to play [the rest of the Seahawks game], but I just couldn't. I couldn't move my arm at all. I’m not going to put myself and my team in a situation where I’m basically useless out there on the field. [Last] Sunday, I was … but now, it’s a lot better."

Wilfork revealed that the pain was intense when he first suffered the injury, but that it has since subsided. He's still sore, he admitted, but in the heat of a playoff chase, he wants to be out there with his teammates.

"I'm very fortunate that it wasn't anything major. I'm ready to grind it out. I'm looking forward to grinding it out. I love the game. If I can run and use my hands, I can play this game. I can do that [now]. I don’t know how well I can … I’ll find out on Sunday. I felt good practicing yesterday, so, hoping to get better over time. Couple days to go … just have to be smart.”


Dungy Comments on Najeh Signing

The team signed Najeh Davenport, 29, who has been on and off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster the last three seasons. The Colts (9-4) like Davenport’s familiarity with the offense – Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is a former quarterbacks coach with Indianapolis – and he is likely to spell running back Dominic Rhodes at times, and he could return kicks.

“He’s a very good downhill runner,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “I think he’ll do fine for us. At this point in time, you’re looking for someone who has experience in your system and he has it.”


McGahee hoping to get season back on track

Jamison Hensley, of The Baltimore Sun, reports Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee said his aches from Sunday, Dec. 7, have improved, but he has yet to shake off his performance. McGahee finished with 32 yards rushing, a fumble and a mishandled pitch that went out of bounds for a loss of eight yards. McGahee said, "I'm back to normal but I played like do-do. It's nothing to be happy about. Just have to do better this game." McGahee has rushed for 58 yards in four games since rushing for a season-high 112 yards in Week 10.


Phillies Still Considering Burrell

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel suggested Thursday that he'd be in favor of bringing back left fielder Pat Burrell if the price and years turn out to be more modest than the club originally anticipated.

"When I think of his good points versus his [negatives] speedwise," Manuel said, "the more I look at it and see what's out there … I weigh all that and I think, 'Look, we won the World Series with him out there. So would I like him back? I don't see why not.'"


Mets Interested In Alex Cora

According to WEEI's Rob Bradford, the Mets are targeting free agent Alex Cora to be their utility man for '09. Cora played shortstop and a little bit of second base for the Red Sox this year.


Winston preparing for rematch with Kearse

It's been too long since I visited with Eric Winston, and thanks to the Texans PR department I had a good conversation with the right tackle this afternoon.

We talked a bit about his matchup Sunday against the Titans, when Jevon Kearse will line up across from him.

In his first season back with Tennessee, Kearse hasn't been "The Freak" but he has been steady -- he has 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and six tackles for a loss. He's started all 13 games and has not dealt with any injury issues, when a lot of his critics expected he'd have durability issues.

"I've got a good test this week, Kearse is playing probably as good as he's played in his career," Winston said. "It's going to be a lot to handle, but I am excited about it. It's a good challenge for me and I need to prove [I'm worth] my paycheck."

Winston said Kearse looks much like he did when the Texans visited the Titans back in Week 3.

"Not really different, which is surprising," he said. "I wouldn't say he's an older guy, but a guy that's had some injuries and stuff, sometimes they start wearing down at the end of the season. But he doesn't seem like that, he seems like he's coming off the ball just as hard, he's playing just as fast, he's running around doing the things I think everyone expects Jevon Kearse to do.

"He's a really a really tough load to handle for a right tackle because they are not used to seeing a guy like that on their side. I mean he's usually a guy who's over the left tackle. I think that gives Tennessee a big edge having a guy like that over the right tackle and having [Kyle] Vanden Bosch over on the left. It's a two-sided monster with those guys like that."

Vanden Bosch didn't practice Wednesday with a recurring groin injury, and could be rested Sunday. If he is, Dave Ball and Jacob Ford would team up to replace him and Kearse would stay put.

Winston, who got a long-term deal earlier this season, said he feels like he's really gotten better under the tutelage of Alex Gibbs, who coordinates the run game, and offensive line coach John Benton.

"Coming into the season I would have definitely tell you I was a better pass blocker," Winston said. "Being a left tackle in college and coming over, I just think that is more of the mindset. I think coach Gibbs and coach Benton have really done an awesome job with me this year, getting me to be a better finisher and to open up more holes. I think it's really opened my game up and I think I am a lot better tackle for it."

Look for much more from Winston on the state of the Texans and how much of a measuring stick Sunday's game is in my column that will be posted Thursday on the AFC South Blog.


Portis, Zorn clear the air

After a team meeting on Wednesday in which he declared he wouldn't let the dustup become a distraction, Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn met with running back Clinton Portis to sort out their differences.

"I saw 'em a while ago shaking [hands] and joking around with each other," quarterback Jason Campbell said before practice. "That's a positive. Sometimes what you think about someone may not be what's true because you never really sat down and had a conversation with each other."
Less than 24 hours earlier, Portis had called out his coach during his weekly paid appeareance on the team-owned radio station, ESPN 980, still angry over what he considered a benching during the team's loss on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens.

Portis was on the bench for all but two of the Redskins' second-half offensive snaps, replaced after the first series by Ladell Betts and Mike Sellers. The Redskins, meanwhile, have lost two games in a row to fall to 7-6 on the season; one more loss could sink their dwindling playoff hopes.

"We got a genius for a head coach, so I don't know. I'm sure he's got everything figured out," Portis said during Tuesday's episode of "The John Thompson Show." "All I can do is when he calls a play is to go out and execute to the best of my ability."

Portis and Zorn both conducted interview sessions after practice.

"We had an excellent conversation and got things clarified and came out to practice," Zorn said."Hopefully we'll be able to get around to the business at hand, which is preparing for Cincinnati."

Said Portis: "I wasn't hoping to accomplish anything. It was something on my chest that I needed to get off and I did. Now that was yesterday. Today, I'm at work. We're getting ready to play the Cincinnati Bengals."

Linebacker London Fletcher led a players-only meeting before Zorn's gathering, though it had been scheduled before Portis' on-air tirade. Most players agreed that they wouldn't let the situation become a distraction, nor did the players take sides in the squabble.

"[Questioning the calls] is not something you should do as a player," Fletcher said. "Coaches coach and players play. Regardless of whatever the call is, you go out there and execute that play to the best of your abilities. That's the way most of the guys are around here. We'll get the rest to buy into it.

"Clinton's a great teammate," Fletcher added. "I love Clinton, the way he approaches the game. Clinton's not one of those guys. You watch him play and there's no doubt, he's out there fighting, giving his all. He believes in what's going on, what's being called. He's going to go out and do his job and somebody else's. He's not a guy you have to get that message across to at all."

Wide receiver Santana Moss, who also played with Portis at the University of Miami, understands his buddy as well any Redskin.

"[Clinton] will never give us nothing less [than his best]," Moss said. "You can't fault him sometimes for the way he might express himself. He gonna speak his mind. He's still going to go out there, hit somebody in the mouth, take a mean hit when he run the ball, when you catch the ball, he'll be knocking somebody out downfield for you. He never stops playing. He just expresses his feelings a little differently than other guys.

And a number of players, such as 13-year veteran Pete Kendall and former Falcons and Raiders defensive back DeAngelo Hall, said they'd seen much worse and much crazier during their various stops around the league.

"Two of the most competitive guys here, emotional guys, too. It's not hard to figure out how either one's feeling," Kendall said. "If you can't tell by looking at 'em, you just have to ask. Maybe that's a little bit of what happened. I expect it will blow over. I don't think they need to hug in front of the team. We'll be OK."


Ed Reed leads AFC weekly honorees

NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Ball-hawking Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was among the AFC players earning weekly NFL honors on Wednesday.

The seven-year veteran from Miami-Florida was the AFC's top defensive player after his two tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a 22-yard first quarter touchdown on a fumble return, helped the Ravens to a 24-10 win over the Washington Redskins.

It was Reed's fourth career weekly player honor and second this season.

To date this season, he has five of the Ravens' league-high 22 interceptions.


More Dorsey, Less Cribbs... Still

The Browns will go down the Ken Dorsey road once more in Philadelphia on a Monday night game that is made for Tuesday morning.

With Dorsey at quarterback, the Browns have little chance to compete against the Eagles' aggressive variety of blitzes. But they will try.

The team has not deemed Josh Cribbs ready to run more than a dozen plays, so Dorsey will get the bulk of the snaps -- even with his physical limitations.

Dorsey is merely a symptom of the team's offensive struggles. The Browns have scored one or no touchdowns in seven games this season.

They have gone three games in a row without a touchdown, and they are trying to win with their third quarterback. The Browns must fight the urge to abandon ship because the season is more or less over.

"Human nature gets involved," coach Romeo Crennel said, "and human nature tells you, 'All right, it doesn't look like you're going to go anywhere.'

"Sometimes the questions become, 'Why do I need to go to the meetings? Why do I need to prepare? Why do I need to do this?'

"So if they get that attitude, then it falls further apart, and that's the thing that you don't want."

--QB Ken Dorsey's arm strength will continue to be a liability for the Browns. He simply does not have the power to get the ball downfield. As a result, defenses will squeeze the field on the Browns and take away the running game. This makes the challenges significant for the team's offensive coaches.


Singletary: Gore a game-day decision

Mike Singletary just wrapped up his Wednesday press conference. The big piece of news is that running back Frank Gore has what the coach described as "an inside sprain" of his left ankle and likely will be a game-day decision. Gore will not practice today and Singletary said that DeShaun Foster will get the bulk of the practice repetitions this week. If Thomas Clayton is elevated to the active roster, it will be later this week, perhaps Saturday. The good news is that Gore does not have a high-ankle sprain, which almost certainly would have knocked him out a week or more.


Key Injuries

Vince Wilfork, NT, Patriots. No fantasy candidate himself, Wilfork belongs here because his shoulder injury could affect the rest of his defense. Wilfork is the key to New England's three-man line, so if he misses any time, coaches could adjust to play a 4-3 front more often. In addition, the absence of Wilfork's enormous stationary body up front will make it easier for blockers to reach the linebackers. That could hurt Jerod Mayo a bit. It's not time for any player downgrades just yet, but let's keep an eye on the situation.


Devin Hester looks to break a long one

This would be an ideal week for Devin Hester to rediscover his electric side and return a kick for a score.

First, he would do so in front of his mentor, Deion Sanders, the NFL Network's sideline reporter for Thursday night's game against New Orleans. Plus, Hester's last return for a touchdown came last December at Soldier Field—a 64-yard punt return against the Saints.

Hester joked that a touchdown return might impress Pro Bowl voters.

"Last season that return was kind of the nail in the coffin," he said. "Maybe this season it could change the momentum. Most definitely I feel it's something I could do."

Hester has 57 total returns this year without a touchdown.

Carey Contract Update

Right tackle Vernon Carey said the Dolphins relayed an interest in re-signing him, but won't talk money until after the season.


Huff top DH

Major League Baseball released the voting for the 2008 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award and -- drum roll please -- it went to Orioles DH Aubrey Huff.

Huff won in a close vote over likely Hall of Famer Jim Thome, breaking a string of six straight awards for Red Sox star David Ortiz.

This has been quite a different offseason for Huff (at right celebrating a home run) than last year, when his comments critical of Baltimore on a shock jock radio show had fans calling for his head. He said in the spring that he would have to win back the loyalty of the fans by performing on the field, and he did just that, batting .303 as a DH with 23 homers and 77 RBI. Overall, he batted .304 with 32 homers and 108 RBI.


Agent: Burrell won't be a Phillie

LAS VEGAS — Pat Burrell may prefer to remain with the Phillies, but his agent has told the Courier-Post that the veteran left fielder almost certainly will be playing elsewhere in 2009.

With Burrell's name generating little buzz Tuesday on Day 2 of the annual winter meetings, one of his agents, Ed Hayes, said the Phillies haven't shown much interest in re-signing Burrell, the top right-handed power threat in their lineup for several seasons.

"I'm hopeful but I'm also a realist, and I'd be surprised," Hayes said when asked if he could see Burrell continuing his career with the Phillies, the only team he has ever known. "I have not heard anything that would lead me to believe the club wants to have him back."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. admitted the Phillies haven't had substantive discussions with Burrell's representatives, and the club appears to be moving on by talking with free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez and engaging in trade talk that could yield versatile Mark DeRosa.

Burrell, 32, is looking for a three-year contract, according to industry sources. But the slow-moving free-agent market hasn't developed for position players, and although Hayes said he has had discussions with multiple teams, it is possible Burrell won't find a suitor until after Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez and other top free-agent hitters are signed.

It's expected that Burrell will draw interest from American League teams seeking a designated hitter.


Sanchez will get first crack at first base for Marlins

LAS VEGAS — Jorge Cantu might end up starting at first base on opening day for the Marlins, but rookie Gaby Sanchez will get the first shot at winning the job this spring.

"Sanchez is going to play first base, or we'll give him an opportunity to play first base,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said Wednesday when asked how he thinks Florida's defense will improve next year

"If that doesn't work out, we can always move Jorge from third to first, and he was pretty good at first base.''

Sanchez, 25, went 3-for-8 (.375) in five games for the Marlins in September. Drafted in the fourth round in 2005, the Miami native was named the Southern League Most Valuable Player in 2008 after hitting .314 for 17 home runs, 42 doubles and 92 RBI for Class AA Carolina.

The Marlins will also look at Emilio Bonifacio at third base. If Sanchez has a strong spring, Bonifacio could start the year in the minors with Cantu starting at third base. Dallas McPherson also will get a shot at third.


NFLU Week 14 Video Highlights

Check out the return of our NFL U Video Highlights. Like we did back in 2006, proCanes.com will provide our fans every week video highlights of all of our NFL U stars along with pictures from the current NFL Week. Click here to check out our Week 14 Video Highlights or click above on NFL U Video Highlights. Enjoy this week's highlights which feature an 2 INTs and a TD by Ed Reed, a TD by Greg Olsen, a TD by Frank Gore and more!

NFLU Week 14 Photos

Check out Week 14 photos from around the the NFL of our proCanes. Click here to see the photos.

Falcons Sign Sharpe To Active Roster

The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday placed safety Antoine Harris on season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury.

Harris played primarily on special teams, appearing in 12 games and making two tackles.

Also on Tuesday, Atlanta signed cornerback Glenn Sharpe from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster and signed offensive guard Nate Bennett to the practice squad.


Najeh Lands in Indy

Well, running back Najeh Davenport’s revolving door in Pittsburgh has finally come to an end.

Davenport signed with the Colts today, a league source tells us.

Davenport was drafted by the Packers several years ago, and has been an on-again, off-again member of the Steelers over the past couple of seasons.


Ravens' Reed silences doubters

Earlier this season I had my doubts about Ed Reed.  I watched him closely during training camp.  I locked in on not only what he was saying but how he was saying it.  The clear and present message the Ravens’ All Pro safety delivered suggested to me that he was hurt and he was frustrated over the neck and shoulder nerve impingement that forced him to the sidelines during the Westminster summer days.

And he seemed very concerned so much so, that I wondered if this could be Reed’s last season as a professional football player.  I even wondered if he would make it through the season.

Today those thoughts seem like such a distant memory as the Ed Reed we’ve grown accustomed to, the one who has spoiled us for years, has nearly returned.

Clearly his ball hawking prowess remains intact and he has shown signs of returning to the physical style of play we’ve come to expect from Reed. Yet he’s not quite there.  For good and obvious reasons, his tackling is suspect at times.  That said, as Reed continues to make game changing plays, it’s easy to overlook a missed tackle here and there.


Portis vs. Zorn, the Quotes

Listen to the Interview here

So we officially have a chemistry problem. Clinton Portis unloaded on Jim Zorn during today's John Thompson Show appearance, over and over again. He swore, he suggested maybe he should go on the injured reserve, he offered to become a cheerleader, and he said this, when asked what adjustments should be made.

"We got a genius for a head coach, I don't know, I'm sure he on top of things. He's got everything figured out. Hey, that's up to him. All I can do is when he calls a play is go out and try to execute to the best of my ability."

And then later, on the big picture, he had this to say:

"I don't know where it went wrong, all I know is it's going wrong. So, you know, maybe I'm the problem. Maybe I'm the problem since I don't practice, since I'm the only person that don't practice and come out and play and try to give it what I've got, maybe I'm the problem. So I might need to be on IR."

Zorn's response, an hour later, to Portis's claims that he was benched?

"Well, any time you don't go in, that's the way you feel," Zorn said. "And he is a big part of our offense and he's sitting on the bench, he's got to feel like he's benched, I don't blame him for that."

And Zorn on the IR question: "No, I think he's gotten himself healthy, I think he felt a lot better after this game and I'm looking forward to having him out there on every snap, practicing [and] getting ready for the Cincinnati Bengals so we can use him as our every down back."

And lastly, Zorn on the practice issue: "It wasn't that we weren't getting the running ability, he was doing great things, his effort was high. He would tell you this and I agree with him wholeheartedly, that when he is playing the game he's giving you his best effort and I've said this over and over again, he's very wicked on the playing field, he's what you want....Each week I felt like in certain parts of the game he was getting out on routes but it wasn't exact and quick. And I thought, 'ok here's an opportunity for us to get Ladell in, who HAS practiced.' And he knows it just because he's rehearsed it and rehearsed it. I think [Portis is] a confident player and he would believe he can do it without reps, I just made the decision not to give him that chance.

More Portis quotes:
On his coaches: "If my coaches don't feel like I can get it done, put me on the sidelines. You feel like I can help this team, put me on the field, and that's all I've got to say about it....I don't have to confront them. They know what they've got. They know what's standing on the sideline. Five weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago when I'm sitting first in the NFL and all of the sudden we don't run the ball no more? I'm hurt, and that's why we ain't running it? Cmon. You [kidding] me?"

On the lines of communication: "It ain't lack of communication with me because that's some BS to go out and say I don't know what's going on. When have I missed a meeting? Let me start missing meetings. Let me not come out and practice, let me sit my ass in the training room if I don't know what's going on. What am I standing outside for?"

On being benched: "You know, London Fletcher played in the game and didn't practice all week. All of the sudden it gets aggravating to [see me] standing on the sideline and you see me step into something and pick it up and understand what's going on. I haven't missed a meeting, I haven't missed a practice. I'm outside, I hear everything everybody else hears. It kind of shocked me too, but hey that's what the man said. You go back and watch film, I guarantee you won't see me make no mistakes. Maybe he's watching a different film than me."

On his understanding of the situation: "If it's an issue with me, you tell me that. Outside of Jim Zorn and the coaches on that team and maybe the quarterbacks, I guarantee you I know our system better than anybody else, I guarantee when we go over blitz pickups I don't miss my man. I don't know what it is, bro. If anybody got a problem with me, they need to talk to me. I don't know whats going on."

On his plans: "I'm gonna go out there and try to make sure I don't get hurt and I'll make sure I get out in every pass route. If my man ain't coming, I ain't chipping nobody, I ain't doing nothing I ain't supposed to do. I'm gonna get out in my pass route and that's where I'll be. If somebody else give up a sack or anything else, that's on them."

On communication: "Hey, they don't tell me nothing. They don't have to answer to me bro. One day it's fun, it's nice, you smile, you happy for me, you appreciate the way I play on the field, you just wish I would practice. If I could practice, I'd practice. If my injuries weren't legit than the training room wouldn't hold me out, they'd have me on the field. I think people get caught up into the conversation of the media but then tell you not to get caught up into the conversation....

"I go out there and give it everything I've got. If I can run through the week I'd practice, if I can't then I ain't. And I'm not gonna force myself to go onto a field and do something crazy, and then all of the sudden I'm out. What I need to be around for is Sundays and that's what I try to be around for. So I mean, if you've got a problem with me not practicing and can't do it that way, maybe you feel like you need to sever ties, split ties with me? Split ties with me. But don't sit here and throw me out like I don't pay attention, like I don't know what's going on, like I'm making mistakes, I'm the problem. You know, so, it is what it is, bro."

On his blocking assignments: "You know, one day it's chip on your way out, then if you don't chip and you get out and the quarterback gets sacked it's like, 'Oh, you need to help this man out.' So they don't know what they want. They want you to chip, they want you to block, Jason's on his ass all game long, you're trying to stay in and help, and then it's, 'Oh, you should have gone out, they was coming to you.'

"I've been wide open, they don't come to me. But then he over there and came free and he done got the wind knocked out of him from getting sacked and getting hit in the back, then it's, 'Aw man you've got to help out, you've got to chip.' So you know, I don't think they know what they want me to do. You know, when things going good you're getting praised. I don't know if people getting aggravated with me getting attention. I don't know what it is."

On how he'd like to be used: "Hey, bro, it ain't rocket science how to use me. They can figure that out. If they want to put the ball in my hands I can try to help the team win. They don't I'll try to do whatever I can. If I need to cheer Ladell on, I'll cheer Ladell on. I'm not gonna be bitter about the situation. I think Ladell went int and made some big plays. When he came off to the sideline I was the first one sitting there to talk with him about what I seen, which wasn't much, but I think he did a hell of a job."

On his health: "I'm fine. I'm totally healthy after not playing against Baltimore. So the good thing about it is I'll be at practice tomorrow."

Some Great Bernie Kosar Interviews from the Past

Vernon Carey’s Mentoring Group Helps Rebuild Little River Park

Miami Dolphins Vernon Carey and his mentoring group volunteered Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at "The Home Depot Neighborhood MVP Build" which helped rehabilitate Little River Park in Miami, FL.

Vernon and his Brownsville Middle School mentoring group took part in painting hopscotch outlines and varnishing picnic tables. They also participated in painting a fence in Dolphins aqua and orange. An autograph signing was held for the many other volunteers at the event.

Vernon used a saw to cut through a Home Depot board as part of the park’s opening ceremony. Vernon Carey was presented with a $1,000 donation from the Home Depot during the ceremony.


The Eric Winston Show and the Pro Bowl

Eric Winston plays right tackle for the Houston Texans.  That is not the stuff that sounds like it would make for very interesting radio.  I mean, how about a running back or a linebacker or Dunta Robinson.  I thought, can’t y’all spice it up a little bit for the radio listeners.  That was my attitude when I learned that Eric Winston would be the player manning the spot for SportsRadio 610’s player show.  To top it off the freakin’ guy went to Miami.  I mean bring Steve McKinney home from Seattle to take on the show. 

To my great surprise, Winston is very well spoken, interesting, and insightful.  Winston is also getting some play for a possible Pro Bowl spot.  Winston had a particularly good game against the Packers.  Winston is in his 3rd year with the Texans and stands about 6-5 and weighs nearly 300 pounds. 

If Pro Bowl voters like Winston as much as I like his radio show, he’ll be in Hawaii this year.  Winston’s show can be heard on SportsRadio 610 from 5-6 every Tuesday afternoon.


'Superman.' 'Spectacular.': Praise overflows for Ed Reed

BALTIMORE — Ed Reed is listed as a safety for the Baltimore Ravens. He also is a safety net.

Baltimore's offense struggled much of the game Sunday night against the Washington Redskins, but Reed helped the Ravens to an early 14-0 lead with an interception and a fumble return touchdown. He added a late interception in a 24-10 victory that kept Baltimore in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

Praise for Reed flowed as if his teammates were dousing him with Gatorade:
•"It seems like the ball seems to find him. He doesn't find the ball. … He's one of the spectacular players in the NFL," said defensive lineman Trevor Pryce.
•"He's been amazing for so long that you expect him to make those plays," said tight end Todd Heap.
•"That guy is Superman. … Nothing gets past him," said wide receiver Derrick Mason.

Reed has 11 touchdowns in his seven-year NFL career: five on interceptions, two on fumble recoveries, three on blocked punts and one on a punt return. His three touchdowns this season include a record 108-yard interception return against the Philadelphia Eagles.

He has five interceptions this season despite playing with a nerve impingement that causes pain in his neck and shoulders.

"It's hats off to the trainers, hats off to my doctor, who I see every Friday. …It's not easy, but at the same time if you can be out there for your team them, then I'm going to be out there," said Reed.

His diving interception of a Jason Campbell's pass on the Red-skins first series started the Ravens on a touchdown drive. Campbell's arm was hit as he made the thrown by linebacker Terrell Suggs, and the ball fluttered high into the air.

"That's just somebody else making a play, and me doing my job," said Reed.

He had his 22-yard fumble return touchdown 5:30 into he game after forcing the turnover by Redskins running back Clinton Portis. The Redskins were unsuccessful in a challenge that Portis was down before the ball was out. "I didn't know if they were going to blow a whistle or not," said Reed. "But once they don't blow a whistle, we're taught to finish the play and let them make the decision afterwards,"

Reed sparked the Ravens (9-4) to the seventh victory in their last eight games. They are a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, and they host Pittsburgh Sunday.

The Steelers will have to account for Reed.

"He does such a great job of reading quarterbacks' eyes and knowing where they're going to go with the ball," said rookie quarterback Joe Flacco of the Ravens. "That's why he's always around it, and that's why you guys see him making so many big plays."


Zorn Plays Down Portis' Unhappiness About Inaction

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn has indicated he feels backup tailback Ladell Betts was better prepared than Clinton Portis, particularly when it came to passing situations, which the Redskins were in plenty while trailing throughout Sunday's game.

For weeks, no one -- least of all Zorn -- complained publicly when the tailback repeatedly sat out of practice because of a series of injuries, including to his knee, hip and neck. Portis was, after all, the NFL's second-leading rusher heading into this weekend.

According to Zorn, Portis was not transitioning from pass protection to getting open as a safety valve for quarterback Jason Campbell against the Ravens.

Portis finished the game with 11 carries for 32 yards and three catches for 14 yards. Betts had six carries for 3 yards and three catches for 57 yards.


Baraka Plays Extensievely Against Patriots

Baraka Atkins was already heating up: Atkins pulled his best impression of a shorter, rounder Patrick Kerney by getting to Matt Cassel twice yesterday. He recorded two penetrations in the first and looked consistently disruptive. I hope Lawrence Jackson understands when he doesn't start next week.


Ravens' Reed a candidate for NFL defensive player of year

Shortly after John Harbaugh became head coach, he called some of the Ravens, and one of them was Ed Reed.

Harbaugh talked to him about discipline and staying in the right position, and it apparently has paid off for Reed this season, maybe more than other years. If he isn't the NFL defensive player of the year, it's still a tribute to him because only seven defensive backs have won the award in the 37 years it has been given out including Reed in 2004.

"He's not just making plays back there, he's playing with tremendous discipline and he understands the offense he is playing against," said Harbaugh. "He's been in position every single play for a lot of plays in a row. He's just a great football player."


Edgerrin James sees earliest action in weeks

Edgerrin James showed up in the Cardinals second series of the game Sunday, his earliest appearance in weeks. He finished with three carries for 11 yards.
He's still behind Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington on the hierarchy of carries and isn't likely to be a part of the team next season. However, he's softened his "release me" rhetoric of earlier in the season and appears content to be a team player from here on out.


49ers Frank Gore says he'll play Week 15

Frank Gore said he intended to play in Week 15 after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday's win.
"I'm going to come back and play," he said, although he was limping noticeably after the game. Coach Mike Singletary would only say that Gore was sore and the team would have to wait and see if he plays against Miami. Gore isn't likely to practice much this week.


Antrel Rolle Sees Action at Receiver

The Arizona Republic reports the Cardinals used CB Antrel Rolle at receiver during yesterday's game against the Rams. He caught a quick outside screen and gained 9 yards to give the Cardinals a first down at the Rams' 12.


Peter King's Defensive Players of the Week

Brandon Meriweather, S, New England. This is the kind of breakout game that can launch a player's career. Six tackles -- three of them behind the line of scrimmage -- plus one sack, two passes defensed and the most important forced fumble of his two-year career. With 1:56 left in the fourth quarter, he leaped over the line to sack Seneca Wallace, forcing the fumble that essentially ended the game. With injuries already battering the defense, and Vince Wilfork, Tedy Bruschi and James Sanders leaving the game with more of them, young guys like Meriweather have to come through for this team to make it to January.

Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore. When will he slow down? 2014? The more I watch the Ravens, the more I marvel at his staying power -- and not just the staying power to hang around. He's excelling the same way he was in the Ravens' Super Bowl year, and he's leading the same way too -- at 33, in his 13th season. In the 24-10 beatdown of the Redskins (it could have been much worse), Lewis had 13 tackles (three for loss), two quarterback hits and a 13-yard sack.


Q&A with Michael Irvin

Hall-of -Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin will be in the Rio Grande Valley this Friday night for an event at Shotz Bar & Grill in Mission. Irvin, who was inducted into the Hall last summer, is making his first visit to the Valley since coming in the early 1990s.

One of 20 tables for six at the event cost $4,000, while there will be two tables for $10,000. Those tables will include Irvin sitting at the table for one hour.

Last week, The Monitor caught up with Irvin to discuss his radio show, the Cowboys and what he would tell troubled New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

Q: How's the radio show?
A: I love it. I love the radio show. It gives me a great opportunity, and I've always felt a great connection with the fans, it gives me an opportunity to speak with the fans. When I was doing TV, I certainly enjoyed doing it, but I would only speak to the fans. Radio gives me the opportunity to speak with the fans, and that's what's great about it.

Q: What have you learned about the fans?
A: I consider my show to be my ministry, I really do. But I've learned so much about the whole thought-process of a fan. It helped me understand why they have the passion they do for the game. When I was playing, they would do some things that I thought, ‘why would they have these thoughts?' It certainly helps me to learn the psyche of the fans from that perspective. I've gotten an understanding of things I never had an understanding of when I was playing.

Q: What have you been telling people about the 2008 Cowboys?
A: Dallas can be, and do, what they want to do. It's a matter of being self-motivated because I don't know, well I do know, that Wade is a serious motivator. They have to be self-motivated to get some things done. That's the bottom line. They are as good as anybody, anybody in this league. But can you continue to push yourself to get done what you need to get done, how you need to get it done? I'm talking about paying attention to details, that's what matters. You have to pay attention to the details. If they can do that, then they can make things happen, because the talent is incredible.

Q: Is this team going to be able to fulfill the preseason expectations?
A: From this point on it's going to be a tough go. And they placed themselves on this tough road. Certainly still, they can get it done.

Q: Could going through what they did without Tony Romo be a good thing in the long run?
A: I think they all realized they need their starting quarterback. I think what was good out of it is they realized they need a back-up quarterback. Let's just call a spade a spade. That's the conclusion they came to. ‘We got starter, but we need a back-up. What are we going to do about that?'

Q: What does Pacman's return change for this team?
A: This is a tough situation. Most NFL players, and other people and the media, wonder ‘How will they handle it, bringing Pacman back?' Most guys understand this that have been in the business longest, and they see right there, we can't decide who's here, but what we can do is determine if we can get our job done. Let's go get our job done. Adam's part of the team, he's worked hard. Like Romo's said, he's worked hard and does what he's supposed to do on the field. We can't ask for more than that.

Q: If you were in that locker room, would you trust him?
A: You throw the word ‘trust' out there and I don't know if it's really applicable. Would I trust him to play hard? Yes. Yes I can. Can I depend on him to be there every week and not get suspended? You have to think from a coach's perspective, I'm going to play you if you can play and help us win. But, I also have to have my contingency plans in place.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Plaxico Burress situation?
A: I feel sorry for him, I really do. But I'm blown away with it.

Q: How so?
A: Let's think first. We can talk about how many players have been involved here lately. How do you take a gun? Why are you taking a gun to a night club? You know, you're with Antonio Pierce and other guys, why are you taking a gun to the night club? And second, what are you doing by having no safety? And how in the hell can you shoot yourself? You are in the NFL, and I don't mean to make light of it, you are a professional athlete. How can a professional athlete be that clumsy with a gun?

Q: If Burress were to call you, what would you say to him?
A: I'd tell him that I don't care what anybody says, hold a press conference. The biggest mistake we make as athletes is that we take advice from counsel is that when something goes down, everybody shuts up. Doesn't say a word and be quiet. And while you are quiet, everybody else is talking, so that is swaying the public's opinion at that time. I would tell him hold a press conference and let people know you're not the raving maniac that they're making you out to be. And maybe Mayor Bloomberg and all of them will scooter back off to what they're doing. They're not seeing a guy that made an honest mistake. What they're seeing is a guy who didn't show up for meetings, didn't call, a guy that's trying to do whatever he wants to do and now make sure he gets this message.


Hester a ridiculously fascinating story

When Kyle Orton saw Devin Hester with just one defender lined up against him, and the rest of the defense crowding the line, he changed the play call, took the ball and fired to Hester for 30 yards. It was a perfect combination, where quarterback, receiver, and even the ball all are together as one.

But what page were they on, exactly? What wavelength?

Was that play in the fourth quarter Sunday the outcome of a budding telepathy, the start of one of those special QB-receiver relationships? I don’t think so. It was a simple fade that worked, because the only time Hester is a great receiver is when the playbook in his head says one thing:
Run like hell.

Well, that worked for big plays twice, as the Bears beat Jacksonville 23-10 at Soldier Field to stay one game behind Minnesota for first place.
People will remember those two plays, and also Hester’s decent punt return, when he nearly, finally, almost broke one for a touchdown. Instead, he stepped out of bounds for no reason.

But what I remember best was a play late in the third quarter, when Orton threw quickly to Hester along the sideline, who seemed baffled by the idea that the ball might be coming at all. Or where he was on the field. Or what his route was.

‘‘You’re wrong about that,’’ Hester said. ‘‘I didn’t run any wrong routes today.’’

Hester is the biggest mystery on this team, also the most fascinating. Never has someone been so dominant for two years and then appeared so clueless the next. He has gone from the best return man in history to one of the worst in the league. Have you ever seen anyone lose 5 yards on a fair catch? Hester did it Sunday.

He dropped two punt returns and two passes, stepped out of bounds on his one good return. And of course, he has lost the job of returning kickoffs.

You still can’t take your eyes off of him because of what might happen. But what he’s doing is too painful to watch.

The problem now, though, is his receiving. You’ve heard the talk that he might have lost his hunger because the Bears gave him the big contract. That’s not it. The problem is that Hester ran free as a returner. He ran like hell. As a receiver, he’s supposed to run routes.

The Bears have coached the abandon out of him.

Someone asked him if he would be willing to give up receiving and focus again solely on returns. Hester said, ‘‘Whatever the coaches feel. ... I’m just trying to win ballgames.’’

But that won’t help anymore. The Bears need him to develop as a receiver, but despite his big plays, there is little evidence that he’s learning.
Marty Booker, a receiver who has been around for a while, disagrees.

‘‘When you’re playing in your first year [as a receiver] it’s tough to grasp and adjust,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s what’s expected. Each time, he’s getting better. As of this point, he’s a good go-to guy.’’

Booker could barely breathe, by the way. When the TV cameras were there, he stood smiled and said how nice it was to play Sunday. When they left, his voice kept dropping down to a loud, gravelly whisper, as he sat back down in front of his locker. When he put on his socks, he half-groaned, half screamed.

‘‘My ribs,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve broken them before. I don’t know for sure if I broke them this time. But it’s going to really be bad tonight. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to sleep tonight.’’

Let’s see. Booker might have broken ribs. Rookie Earl Bennett, for god knows what reason, apparently is unusable. Brandon Lloyd, same thing. Rashied Davis, mediocre at best.

The Bears need Hester.

The entire offense can’t rely solely on the rushing and catching of running back Matt Forte — ‘‘He has probably taken years off his career,’’ Booker said — two good tight ends and a stable quarterback.

It has so far, I guess. And Orton tries to spread the ball to several receivers. But the Bears need at least one good one to stretch the field and confuse defenses a little, especially if they hope to not only get to the playoffs, but to do something when they’re there.

‘‘Sometimes you catch `em, sometimes you drop ’em,’’ Orton said when asked about Hester. ‘‘Sometimes you throw a good ball, sometimes you don’t.’’

Something about the Bears’ offense reminds me of my dog, who has torn the ACL, the main knee ligament, in both back legs. I’m not sure what she’s walking on, exactly, but she does seem to manage to keep moving forward.

Well, the Orton-Hester telepathy is not exactly Montana-Rice, but it’s all the Bears have now. Hester said he and Orton talk all the time during games and practices about coverages and what the safeties are doing.

‘‘The more repetitions you get, just like anything in life, the more relaxed and comfortable you are with it,’’ he said.

Maybe he’s learning, and someday will know all the nuances and have a special connection with Orton. But all he has now, all Orton gets out of him, is iffy concentration and an amazing ability to run like you know what.


Dorsey blames 'execution' in struggles vs. Titans

NASHVILLE -- Browns quarterback Ken Dorsey received early Christmas presents from his defense with three takeaways in his first start in more than three years, but like his two predecessors this season, he wasn't able to make the most of them.

Dorsey and his struggling crew scored six points off those turnovers, on two field goals. They extended their streak to three games without a touchdown, the first time that's happened since October of 2000.

"It's definitely frustrating, because you want to go out and execute and make plays," said Dorsey, who fell to 2-9 in his career as a starter. "The defense is doing a great job of getting turnovers, and I think a lot of it was my execution."

Dorsey blamed himself for missed opportunities during Sunday's 28-9 loss to the Titans, especially after the defense gave him the ball three times inside Tennessee territory, including twice inside the 26. Specifically, he lamented not being able to get the ball to Braylon Edwards after those takeaways.

After the third one, D'Qwell Jackson's second pick of the day, Dorsey failed to connect with Edwards on four passes, including two deep balls. One was overthrown and one was caught out of bounds. The Browns settled for a field goal that made it 21-9 early in the fourth.

"When you have a guy like Braylon Edwards and the receivers we have, you just have to give them chances to make plays," said Dorsey. "That was a frustrating thing for me in the red zone. I had Braylon one-on-one a couple of times. You have to give him a chance. He's a special kind of player."

Edwards, asked about the missed chances, said "you can answer that for yourself."

Dorsey was handed the ball once at the Titans 25 in the first quarter after Jackson's first interception and moved it only two yards before Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal. In the third quarter, trailing 21-6, he started at the Titans 26 after Eric Wright's fumble recovery, but couldn't budge the offense before Dawson missed from 44 yards.

"If I had an answer, it wouldn't happen anymore," said receiver Donte Stallworth. "It hurts, because it can really deflate the other team when you get a quick score off a takeaway."

The problem can't be blamed on Dorsey's rustiness. In the past four games, the defense has gotten 12 takeaways and watched them fizzle into 18 points on six field goals.

"It makes it seem like we're not doing our job and we take it to heart," said Josh Cribbs.

Dorsey, under heavy pressure from the Titans' formidable front, completed 22 of 43 attempts for 150 yards, with one interception. The pick, on a deep ball for Edwards in the third quarter, led to a Titans' TD two plays later.

"There were times I moved through reads efficiently and made the right choices," he said. "There were times I went through too quickly and missed some things. Naturally, the interception is one I'd like to have back. It was the right choice, but just the execution [was faulty]."

Dorsey, who got the ball only three times to Edwards and once to Stallworth, was hit hard after the throw 11 times, but sacked only once.

"Ken kept the fight up," said Cribbs. "He got back up after all those hard hits. But we're down to our third-string quarterback and we played a good football team. They got the best of us."

Dorsey complimented the line, which held off premier tackle Albert Haynesworth.

"I'm really proud of the guys up front," said Dorsey. "They were out there battling and doing everything they could to keep them off me."
Crennel said Dorsey "kept fighting but their rush was pretty effective. They had hands in his face. They were knocking balls down. He wasn't able to deliver the ball downfield consistently."

For an encore, Dorsey will play in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football next week.

"I expect to go out and learn from this week," he said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to hold up my end of the bargain for this team."


Greg Olsen scores touchdown against Jaguars

Tight end Greg Olsen caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars in Week 14.
He made a nice play to stretch across the goal line on a 22-yard touchdown reception just before halftime. With Kyle Orton putting in his best performance since coming back from his ankle injury, he makes for a solid play against the Saints Thursday.


Dorsey's pop gun arm kills Browns offense

Ken Dorsey completed 22-of-43 passes for 150 yards and an interception against the Titans in Week 14.
Dorsey’s pop-gun arm makes Chad Pennington look like the Mad Bomber. His two minute drill takes six and a half minutes. With Josh Cribbs taking significant snaps out of the shotgun, even desperate owners in two-QB leagues should look for other options next week at Philly.


Gore Exits Game Early with Ankle Injury

Running back Frank Gore exited the game at the start of the third quarter with an ankle injury, but not before doing some damage of his own first, including a 4-yard touchdown catch from Shaun Hill to put the 49ers up 14-7 at the half.

The heart and soul of the 49ers offense needed just 74 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark. He got 52 of them in two quarters and two plays on 14 carries for 3.7-yard average against a Jets defense that entered the game ranked fourth against the run.

“I was going to have a great game,” said Gore. “I was going to have a big game today, but it just wasn’t meant for today. Things happen and I have to try and get well. I’m trying to get alright for the Miami game.”

Gore required assistance clearing the field after picking up a first down on a 5-yard carry at the start of the third quarter. Shortly thereafter, he headed into the locker room on a cart for x-rays.

He returned to the bench area later in the game, hobbling back and forth as he cheered on teammates.

“It’s tight. Tight and sore. It’s sad, but I’ll be fine,” he said.

In his absence, DeShaun Foster took the bulk of the carries, gaining 35 yards on 16 carries with a long of 6. Foster did fumble once, but guard David Baas quickly fell on the loose ball.

Gore was disappointed about sitting out, but still had a huge grin on his face following the victory.

“I was happy man. Shaun Hill, the receivers, DeShaun, Mike Rob – they did a great job. That’s what we need. The more depth we have on the team, the better your team will be,” he said.

Gore expects to know more about his playing status by Wednesday or Thursday, but if he has any say, he’ll be in action when the 49ers go again next Sunday in Miami.

“Aw man, I haven’t played at home in four years,” said Gore. “I’m ready. We’ll just take it one day at a time and try to get better, go into Miami, get my 1,000 yards and try to get a win, then bring it back to the West Coast for my fans on the West Coast.”


McGahee struggling with headaches McGahee struggling with headaches

FOX Sports reports that Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee has been struggling with chronic migraines.

This helps explain why McGahee has been taking a back seat of late in the offense. He should contribute to the committee today, but he's a flex play at best these days.


D.J. out; Webster returns

Outside linebacker D.J. Williams (knee) and running back Selvin Young (groin) were held out for at least one more week.

Middle linebacker Nate Webster returned after missing the previous three games with a left knee injury. Spencer Larsen, a rookie who had been filling in for Webster at middle linebacker, returned to fullback where he will start.


Salmons (thigh) returns, starts for Kings

John Salmons (strained thigh) returned to the Kings starting lineup on Saturday, finishing with 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting, five rebounds and two assists.
Salmons returned immediately to the starting five, moving Francisco Garcia (11 points in 20 minutes) back to the bench. For that alone, his owners have to be willing to overlook the somewhat off shooting and low assists.