NFL U Week 7 Video Highlights

Check out the return of our NFL U Video Highlights. Like we did back in 2006 & 2008, 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 7 Video Highlights or click above on NFL U Video Highlights. Enjoy this week's highlights which Jeremy Shockey, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Meriweather and much more!

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Watch Former Canes Gerard Daphnis, James Stewart, AC Tellison & Baraka Short Talk About the Clemson Game & Canes Football

Click here to see the episode at

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Photo of the Week - James Stewart, Baraka Short & Gerard Daphnis

Here are a couple of behind the scenes photos from this past week’s Canes 4 Life weekly online show. The show airs every Wednesday night at 7pm live from Miami Prime Grill. The show features former players’ insights into the current state of Miami Football. No where else will you find such a candid and insightful weekly review of Hurricane Football. You can see all the past episodes on the Canes 4 Life Website.

The show is hosted by Leon Searcy and produced by Gerard Daphnis with weekly guests that have included former Canes: AC Tellison, Richard Mercier, Baraka Short, James Stewart and more! Below check out photos of James Stewart and Baraka Short as well as a shot of Gerard Daphnis.

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Jeff Feagles still learning in 22nd year in NFL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Twenty-one plus seasons into his NFL career, New York Giants punter Jeff Feagles(notes) is coming off one of his worst games.

The league’s oldest punter at 43, Feagles had four straight punts of 35 yards or less in the Giants’ loss to Arizona on Sunday night. Two punts gave the Cardinals short fields and they converted both into touchdowns.

Feagles says he hit one punt poorly and took bad angles on three other directional punts.

As his heads into his record 344th consecutive game, Feagles this week plans to improve his angles and pin the Philadelphia Eagles deep in their own territory, like he has done to so many other opponents.

For the season, Feagles is averaging 40.1 yards per punt with a net of 36.8 yards.

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Rolle misses practice

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle has missed practice for the second day in a row with a sore right foot.

Rolle, whose interception clinched Sunday night's 24-17 victory over the New York Giants, is uncertain for Sunday's home game against Carolina.

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Texans receiver Johnson returns to practice

Receiver Andre Johnson participated fully in the Texans practice Thursday, showing no ill-effects from the lung bruise he suffered against the 49ers and leaving little about his being ready to play against the Buffalo Bills Sunday.

“He took pretty close to all the reps he normally takes and he didn’t have any problems,” Kubiak said of Johnson. “It’s not Sunday yet, but I was very encouraged.”

Johnson had previously insisted nothing was going to keep him out of the game.

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Ray Lewis: "Kiss those bumps early"

The Ravens have allowed their share of big plays this season. Through the first six games, they have given up 22 pass plays over 20 yards.

Asked if it's a matter of discipline to cut down on big plays, Lewis said, "Either you’re going to make them, or somebody else is going to make them. In the first half [of the season], other people have made them. That’s why I say, ‘You can kiss those bumps early or you can kiss those bumps late.’ Hopefully, just like last year, we catch them early, and after the bye week we correct those."

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Banned Signs included a Sean Taylor tribute

Sean Taylor Tribute
So, the guy above is named Alexis Ohanian. He grew up in Columbia, moved to San Francisco, co-founded a successful Internet company, and never stopped loving the Redskins. When the money got good, the first thing he did was upgrade his father to dream seats in the front of FedEx Field, and he still flies home, across the country, for every home game.

He was born in the same year as Sean Taylor, and like so many people of our approximate age, he was really shaken by Taylor's death. He and his dad used to hang a banner about the Redskins in front of their seats, but after Taylor died, they immediately bought a Sean Taylor banner and have since brought it to nearly every game.

All was fine, until the Buccaneers game earlier this season. As he was entering the stadium, the sign was rolled up and on his shoulder as usual, but he was stopped by security and told signs weren't allowed.

"What are you talking about, it's a Sean Taylor banner," Alexis said. But they showed him the new policy banning all banners. So Alexis and his dad headed to a club seat entrance, and got their banner through.

Things got even trickier the next home game against the Chiefs. They had to try three or four entrances before they could get their banner through, and Alexis made a scene, opening up the banner and loudly protesting the policy.

So for the Eagles game, he came up with a plan to hide the banner as they entered the stadium. He also hid the above sign in his pocket, the one asking why he had to sneak the sign in. Security quickly confiscated that sign when he displayed it for cameras, telling him "you can either give me the sign, or leave." Thankfully, they left the Taylor banner alone, although like I mentioned, they tried to block its entrance at several gates.

Alexis isn't one of the fans who's threatening to leave or to boycott or to stop coming, and he's not arguing for free speech or any of that.

"I understand it's one thing to do it on public space and another to do it on private property, and I understand he's perfectly within his rights to do so, but I know it's within our best interests as business owners to let criticism bubble up," he told me. "The last thing you want to do is alienate these people who are willing to spend so much money to come to these games and cheer for this team. I'm flying out from San Francisco; it seems only reasonable that I could bring a sign in, especially a sign paying tribute to Sean Taylor."

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Another head injury for Gooden

Starting "Jack" linebacker Tavares Gooden didn't practice yesterday with a head injury, which was a little surprising considering the Ravens are coming off a bye and Gooden had been OK prior to the week off.

Turns out, the second-year man suffered the injury at practice earlier this week.

"It's not even that serious," Gooden said. "It was more of I just kind of got caught off guard with my chin out, running through a gap, and got a little dizzy. One of those things.

"[I'm] just a little dinged up, that's all."

This isn't Gooden's first head injury this year; he suffered a concussion in the Ravens' Week 3 win over the Browns, and he was held out of the following game against the Patriots.

The Miami product said that this injury isn't as bad as the first one, and when he was asked what his expectations are for Sunday, he said he hopes to suit up.

"I'm out there, I'm watching," Gooden said. "I'm going out there and talking with the trainers and seeing what's the best thing for me to do. But right now I'm ready to go out there and play, we're just going to take it one day at a time.
"I'm cleared with all my tests and things like that, so I'm just ready to go out there and see how it feels."

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49ers' Gore seeks return to form

Frank Gore set out to be the best running back in the NFL this season, but it's been a roller-coaster ride in San Francisco.

After an ineffective opener, he questioned if he was seeing and hitting the holes properly. Then in Week 2, he looked unstoppable with 207 yards rushing against Seattle. His 79- and 80-yard runs for touchdowns were instant highlights.

One series into his third game at Minnesota, he sprained his right foot and ankle. He missed two games, then last week was ineffective at Houston with just 32 yards on 13 carries.

"I know right now things aren't going right for me, but it will pick up for me," he said in a Wednesday conference call.
The fifth-year pro is the only back in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. An impressive distinction, but Gore sees the inconsistency of running for 1,695 yards in 2006, then just 1,102 and 1,036 the next two years.

He said the injury is behind him, that he's ready to run like he can against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It feels pretty good," he said of the right foot. "I feel like I'm able to do everything.

"Sometimes, (the Colts) are tough and a pretty good defense against the run. Sometimes, they make mistakes and give up big runs. But they are pretty good. They're fast and run to the ball."

The 49ers rely upon Gore to establish offensive balance. Without him for two games and Gore ineffective in a third, quarterback Shaun Hill struggled. So 49ers coach Mike Singletary is going with 2005 No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith at quarterback this week.

"The balanced attack is always the way you want to go forward," Singletary said. "Try to create opportunities for the other. If you've got a run, open it up for the pass, and vice versa.

"A healthy Frank Gore really means a lot. You have a guy like that with the ability to run and make plays, whether he's carrying the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield, it really poses a threat. He really makes a difference."

Colts all-time leading rusher Edgerrin James, who like Gore is a product of the University of Miami, once told Colts president Bill Polian that Gore was the most physically gifted running back from a program that produces its share of pro talent.

"That's great, man, especially coming from Edge, future Hall of Fame. He had a great career at the University of Miami," Gore said of James, now a reserve with Seattle. "I just want to show it."

Some backs make a living with their speed, others with their power. At a compact 5-9 and 217 pounds, Gore isn't shy about running over tacklers, but he can run away from them, too.

"I want to be remembered as one of the top runners to play the position," he said. "And in everything I did, not just running but catching and blocking."

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Bears will have Payton tribute Sunday

The Chicago Bears will honor the 10th anniversary of Walter Payton's death Sunday with tributes before and during their game against the Cleveland Browns.

After carrying the Bears flag onto the field before the game, a Bears player will hand the flag to Walter's son Jarrett Payton, who will be what is known as the "Fourth Phase Captain" representing the fans. Vince Vaughn filled that role during the Bears' opener.

Jarrett's mother, Connie Payton, will say a few words, and there will be a video tribute.

The family still is in discussions with the Park District, which runs Soldier Field, as to where to place a statue honoring Payton.

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Brian Asbury Scores 48 Points

Brian Asbury scored 48 points on 21 of 28 shooting in his Israeli team’s, Hapoel Kiryat Tivon, 101-96 win over HAPOEL LEV HASHARON. Asbury played 38 minutes and also shot 6-7 from the free throw line. He also contributed 10 rebounds and 4 steals. So far this season through three games Asbury is averaging 30 points a game. Asbury is the only American on his team and so far they have a 2-1 record.

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James Jones to miss Friday's game

James Jones will miss Friday's game at Indiana due to the flu, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Our View
Jones only scored three points over two minutes in the season opener, and won't be missed in fantasy leagues while out of action.

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Salmons ice-cold with 1-of-9 from downtown

John Salmons had an ice-cold shooting night on Thursday, going just 3-of-15 from the field (1-of-9 from downtown) on his way to 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, and three steals.

Salmons spent the preseason with his wife and recently-born baby for the most part, so it's not surprising to see him struggle a bit out of the gates. If he can't shake the bad shooting for a bit, he's certainly someone to target in trade talks.

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Yonder Needs To Pick It Up

Q from Jason: Who do you see in the future at first base Votto or Yonder Alonso? And does Alonso have to be in the majors in 2011?

A: Votto. I believe it’s 2012 when Alonso’s options run out. Alonso is hitting .188 in Arizona Fall League. He’s got a long way to go before the Reds can even think about moving Votto to left or trading him.

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Jon Jay Performs Well for his Championship Team

Jon Jay got off to a slow start for the Memphis Redbirds who won the PCL championsip. He rebounded though to finish with a line of .281/.338/.394 with 20 steals in 28 attempts. The former Miami Hurricane finished second on the team in total bases, runs, hits, doubles, and stolen bases. His hit total was the 10th best mark in the PCL.

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Vilma says don't sleep on Saints' D

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma joined the show to discuss their 6-0 start.

Dan asked Vilma if he was upset so many people talked about New Orleans' offense instead of the defense.

"As long as people talk about our offense, they may sleep on [our defense]," Vilma said.

Vilma said the close road win over the Dolphins last week was more gratifying than the big win over the Giants.
Vilma also had interesting comments on their win over the Jets. He said that quarterback Mark Sanchez called him after his illegal chop-block a few weeks ago. Vilma was impressed by the rookie quarterback.

Vilma wouldn't go on record saying the Saints will reach the Super Bowl. Vilma said that he isn't trying to think like that. "It's really hard for us to drown out the media, because they're talking about playoff seeding," Vilma said.

Vilma previewed New Orleans' upcoming game against Atlanta. He said the Falcons have a great offense and Tony Gonzalez poses a problem.

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Rolle Playing Injured

Antrel Rolle isn't 100 percent either. But it wasn't evident last Sunday against the Giants. he played through an injury to the arch of his foot. Rolle was a pivotal reason the Cardinals success on the East Coast.

He ended the Giants possible game-tying drive with an interception to end the game in the Cardinals favor.

Rolle explained that the pick was the result of great communication between him and the nickel back.

"I told the nickel back that I know Steve Smith was the guy, and I told him to lean toward number 12," Rolle said. "So I did just that and I told Mike that if runs vertical just carry him all the way because I'm going to play outside. So he gave me the out-cut and I was able to jump all over it."

The common theme for the defense's solid showing was continuity.

"It just came down to getting out to the balls and making plays," Rolle said. "Most of all, I know we're playing for each other out here. Nothing makes me happier than to see [Adrian] Wilson go out and get an interception, and Dominique get an interception. It makes me feel good and I'm sure it makes our coaches feel good. We're going out there and playing for each other, and that's the bottom line."

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Johnson expected to play against Bills

Receiver Andre Johnson did not practice today because of a bruised lung. Andre Davis took his place in the lineup across from Kevin Walter.

Johnson was injured in Sunday's 24-21 victory over San Francisco. He expects to play at Buffalo.

"Andre ran on the side some today," coach Gary Kubiak said. "I'm encouraged by what I saw today. If he doesn't have any setbacks, I feel good about him being able to play."

Linebacker Brian Cushing (foot) and free safety Eugene Wilson (groin) also missed practice. Cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring) was limited. All are expected to play against the Bills.

Defensive end Mario Williams participated in every drill.

"We're trying to be smart with them," Kubiak said. "We've got a bunch of guys that can use a break, and they'll get one in two weeks."

The Texans have their open date after they play Nov. 8 at Indianapolis.

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Meriweather's Breakout Performance

Aside from the fact the Patriots recorded another blowout against an inferior opponent Sunday, arguably the biggest story emanating from London is the performance of safety Brandon Meriweather, who came up with two big interceptions in a 35-7 victory.

Meriweather's first pick resulted in a 39-yard return for a touchdown on Tampa Bay's opening possession, which immediately set the tone.

His second pick came later in the opening quarter. In the end, Meriweather's prowess on defense, coupled with another big game from Tom Brady, upped New England's record to 5-2 and began discussions about whether the safety is the playmaker this team desperately needs.

Has the bar been raised for Meriweather? Impossible, says the third-year safety.

"The level of expectation? I don't know, because, to be honest, my level of expectation is already through the roof," he said. "I expect myself to be great every day. Not good here, good there, great here, great there -- I expect to be great every day."

That sounds great, but the truth is Meriweather hasn't always been great. Few players have, but Meriweather's overall game still needs some work. Nonetheless, his performance Sunday is a breath of fresh air for the Patriots, who are looking for leadership in the aftermath of Rodney Harrison's retirement.

"Brandon stepped up with some huge plays (Sunday), and those are the plays he's capable of making," Belichick said. "He's been around those, and today they fell for him. But he's a good player for us, and there's a lot of plays that don't show up on the stat sheet.

"(Sunday's) plays did, but there's a lot of ones that he makes that don't. He's done a real good job."

Meriweather's always been a smooth talker, but now he's backing up his words on the field. This is exactly what the Patriots need -- a playmaker on defense who can control the secondary and deliver the kind of game-changing plays that swing the momentum.

"Before we came into this game, he said he was going to have two picks," teammate Brandon McGowan said. "He didn't say he was going to take one to the house, but he did that, too. You know, the (defensive backs) talk a lot, and he talks. He's the first person I heard when I stepped in here May 5."

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Portis: Offense's woes run deep

A day after the offense lost a third starter to a season-ending injury, star running back Clinton Portis criticized the Washington Redskins' front office for not providing better depth.

Portis, who has jokingly been referred to as the team's assistant general manager because of his close relationship with owner Dan Snyder, said the team didn't have to be in this position.

"We got to... get some depth," Portis said Tuesday. "We went into the season and we didn't address that issue, and it came back to haunt us."

The Redskins lost veteran right guard Randy Thomas in Week 2, followed by six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels in Week 5 and two-time Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley during Monday night's 27-17 loss to Philadelphia.

Their replacements, in effect, are: Will Montgomery, who made six career starts before Week 5; Mike Williams, who didn't play a snap between November 2005 and this month; and second-year man Fred Davis, who had caught 10 passes in 17 career games before Monday.

"It's going to be difficult," said Portis, who gained 43 yards on 14 carries against the Eagles while playing on a sprained ankle. "The only mainstays from our opening day roster that's on that line are Casey Rabach and Derrick Dockery. Everyone else has been shuffled, moved, changed or injured. ... That's just the position we're in."

Tackle Levi Jones, signed by the club last week, said he would be ready to start when the Redskins return from their bye Nov. 8 in Atlanta. However, coach Jim Zorn said Jones would remain a backup unless left tackle Stephon Heyer, who wore a knee brace Tuesday, wasn't able to practice next week.

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Reed, Gooden miss practice

Two starters on the Ravens' defense missed practice today despite coming off the bye week.

S Ed Reed (illness) and LB Tavares Gooden (head) both sat out today's session, although I saw both guys in the locker room before practice and both seemed to be in good spirits.

Not sure exactly what that means, but I figured I'd pass it along.

Reed and Gooden were the only guys who were limited today. QB Joe Flacco (ankle), T Jared Gaither (neck), LB Jarret Johnson (shoulder) and WR David Tyree (hamstring) are all listed on the injury report, but all fully participated in practice.

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Broncos wary of Ravens safety Reed

It will be on Kyle Orton's not-to-do list.

Because, frankly, it's on every quarterback's not-to-do list when the Baltimore Ravens' defense is across the line of scrimmage. Don't throw the ball near Ed Reed.

And then, all too often, the Ravens' veteran safety ends up with the ball in his hands anyway.

"You've just got to keep the ball out of his hands, because if he gets the ball, he's going to score," Orton said. "He's aggressive; he doesn't worry about getting beat."

Reed is one of the few holdovers remaining in a Ravens defense that finished among the league's top six in total yards allowed in nine of the past 10 seasons but sits at 19th this season. Reed has returned six career interceptions for touchdowns.

That total includes a 52-yard return for a score against Cincinnati this season when he snatched the ball before it reached wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

"I'm not sure there's a better defensive back in terms of being able to read the rush and do what he needs to do in coverage at the same time than Ed Reed," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "The reason he's where the ball is, is because he has such a great sense of how much longer the quarterback can hold it, or in many cases how much longer he can't hold it. And usually he's right, and that's the scary part."

The difficulty in avoiding Reed is that he has the freedom to move to where the ball is going because he has shown his coaches he will usually make the right choices.

Some term it "freelancing," but the fact is even if a quarterback thoroughly studies the Ravens' tendencies on defense and plays the percentages, Reed already has the OK to leave his assigned area to go make a play if he sees an opportunity. It's almost football jazz, with each performance a little different.

"He's got unbelievable confidence in himself; his teammates have unbelievable confidence in him," Orton said. "Every play you've got to find him, be aware of where he's at. Just because you see 10 other guys doing one thing doesn't mean he's going to fall in line."

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Recognition intercepted by Brandon Meriweather

FOXBORO - Brandon Meriweather reacted to the news that he had been named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week with what amounted to a shrug. The Patriots [team stats] safety said he was “excited about it,” though he didn’t seem to be.

“I feel like there’s still work to be done,” Meriweather said.

Meriweather was honored for grabbing two interceptions in Sunday’s 35-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London, including one he took back for a 39-yard touchdown.

The former University of Miami star wasn’t ready to celebrate the award yesterday. He even deflected questions as to whether he’s proven why the Patriots picked him in the first round of the 2007 draft.

“I don’t know. I think I’ve kind of shown little glimpses of it every now and then,” the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder said. “I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet. I think I still have a lot to learn.”

Meriweather may not have bragged on himself, but NBC analyst and former Pats safety Rodney Harrison [stats] had no such worries. He decreed on NBC that Meriweather was this team’s MVP and one of the AFC’s best safeties along with Brian Dawkins, the former All-Pro who joined the Denver Broncos this year after 13 seasons in Philadelphia.

“Ha, ha, ha, is that what he said?” Meriweather said. “I have no comment on that. Everyone has their own opinion on that. He might think that, but somebody else might think something different.”

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Wilfork Filling a Huge Hole on Patriots Defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Players can wax poetic all they want about professionalism, honoring their contracts and not allowing business to get in the way of on-field duties. Sometimes, they mean it. Other times, their rhetoric is more transparent than a sheet of glass.

New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has been a hallmark symbol of professionalism this season, which is his last under the rookie contract he signed in 2004. Wilfork has made it known that he wants more money and a contract extension from the Patriots, and he fired a proverbial warning shot by skipping voluntary organized team activities in the spring.

Since then, though, Wilfork has shown up to work, he's affirmed the respect he gets from his teammates, he's been named a defensive captain and he's played through an ankle injury. For a player like Wilfork, who is easily one of the three or four best at his position in the NFL and is about to get paid accordingly, it's been a selfless act to gut it out through the sprained ankle he suffered in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Durability has never been an issue for the hulking run stuffer, who has played all 16 games in four of his first five seasons.

"That's something I pride myself on, being durable," Wilfork said. "People are different, so I can't say I'm going to play all 16 games this year. Who knows what the future may hold for me? I pride myself on being durable and being able to be out there with my guys when they need me. If I can play, I'll play. If it's something where I can't play, I won't play, but it hasn't happened too often here, so hopefully it'll continue that way."

After the Atlanta game, the Miami product missed two practices and part of a third before suiting up the following Sunday in a key matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. He recorded two tackles, including one for a loss and also deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage to help the Patriots knock off a fellow AFC playoff hopeful.

"I try to brush it off and go forward," Wilfork said of the sprained ankle. "You play with pain a lot. Pain ... that's one thing I try to block out. If I can play, I'm going to play, point blank. I felt good. Every week, it's been getting better. I've been getting better. I've been feeling good. Hopefully, I can just stay healthy and go on with that. I'd rather have pain than being injured. Those are two different things."

Wilfork turns 28 next Wednesday, so it's likely that the next contract he signs will be the last he'll receive during the prime of his career. After he was taken with the 21st overall pick of the 2004 draft, the defensive tackle, listed at 325 pounds, signed a six-year contract reportedly worth about $18 million.

He is worth considerably more than he is paid, so in the salary-capped world of the NFL, Wilfork is as valuable as anyone on the planet. Bill Belichick's defensive system relies heavily upon a massive defensive tackle who can fill up two gaps at the line, which allows the linebackers more freedom to make plays. Because of that, Wilfork's statistics will never tell the true story of his value to the Patriots, but he is always one of the first players an opposing coach or offensive player refers to when assessing New England's defense.

Wilfork's talent is truly respected throughout the league, and he'll get his money one way or another, from the Patriots or someone else. The league's labor agreement -- which could result in an uncapped season in 2010 and beyond -- has also hindered contract talks between Wilfork and the Patriots. With so many variables coming into play, Wilfork finds it easier to focus on the one thing he can control.

"I'm really not paying attention to that," Wilfork said. "The final year of my contract is this year. Whatever happens, happens after that. I'll move forward. That's one thing I can say. I will move forward, but right now, that's the last thing on my mind -- contract talk and all that. That's what I pay my agent for. If he has a problem, he has my number. I just try to focus on doing my job and how we can get better as a team. That's basically my mind frame as of now."

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Sporting News Conversation: Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis

The following are excerpts and outtakes from an interview that first appeared in the Oct. 26 edition of Sporting News magazine, which you can pick up at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets. If you are not receiving the magazine, subscribe today.

It's been an up-and-down season already for 10-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis, the definitive middle linebacker of his generation. Up came in September by way of a 3-0 record for the Ravens, with Lewis providing a momentous highlight in Week 2: a fourth-down mauling of San Diego running back Darren Sproles on the favored Chargers' final possession. Down came in October with a controversial defeat at New England (what's the penalty for breathing on Tom Brady?) and similarly frustrating losses to the Bengals and Vikings.

In Week 5, Cincinnati's Cedric Benson became the first player to rush for 100 yards vs. Baltimore in 40 games, ending a streak of which Lewis was immensely proud. (The Lewis-led Ravens also held runners without a 100-yard day for 50 straight games from 1998-2001.) The following week, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson made it two 100-yard rushers in a row.

But Lewis' confidence remains in full bloom, as was evident throughout a lengthy interview with Steve Greenberg.

SN: Are you still at the top of your game? Lewis: Easily. That's the beauty of it. Being at the top of your game means really feeling your influence over others, your influence over how you play the game, how your coaches grade you, how other players respect you. Not this or that outside source, but inside the game. ... That's what happens when you play amongst men who need you to be more than who you are. Your game changes. Even Rod Woodson will tell you his best year he had as a professional was when he was 36 years old. If you think about why, you're much wiser. The game slows down. You don't have to waste energy anymore -- it's now conserved because you're always in the right place.

SN: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre -- everyone starts with them when talking about the best players of this era. Where should you fit into the discussion? Lewis: That's the thing -- everybody just names quarterbacks. It's so easy to do that. "Ooh, he threw for 4,000 yards and so many touchdowns." That's the glamour of the game. I've always had one goal when I came into this business. I don't believe in the course of a game that a man can touch the ball 25, 30 times and get 100 yards on me. I'm the quarterback of the defense -- that's my record. I'm talking about 50 straight games and another streak of (39) games.

SN: Do you think anyone has played your position as well as you? Lewis: Well, you know, I'll tell you this, from day one -- from college to this day -- I've been chasing something. And not in a disrespectful way. I've never slowed down anyone else's path. I try to help guys like (the 49ers') Patrick Willis, (the Seahawks') Lofa Tatupu, (the Browns') D'Qwell Jackson. I mentor them. And I don't like to judge myself against anybody. But, at the end of the day, I want to be the greatest player ever to strap it on. Not just because I was able to make plays, but to do that and to influence men, the souls of men, the spirits of men, the willingness of men.

SN: Who is your successor as the game's next great middle linebacker? Lewis: I like Willis. But I use this example a lot: You don't ask Chuck Norris if he can beat Bruce Lee. Do you got great skills? Yes. Are you both deadly? Yes. But there's only once Bruce. I tell Patrick, "There's only one lion right now." I love watching the Serengeti, the way lions live. The only way the king lion loses his crown is by somebody physically defeating him. That, for me, is the easiest thing about my game and football -- they have to beat me as a man, and I just don't think anybody's working that hard.

SN: When was the last time you felt as good on the field -- as thrilled -- as you did on that game-saving hit on the Chargers' Darren Sproles in Week 2? Lewis: Aw, man. Incredible. You can take a million linebackers across this country -- fast, strong, whatever -- and they don't make that play because it all comes with the mastery, with years of studying, never getting comfortable, six, seven hours a day loading up the film. When that play (ended) I looked at my teammates and ran to them. It's like laying your greatest masterpiece on something that was already so great -- like Bruce Lee and The Last Dragon. Oh, my gosh! That play took everybody who saw it on a quick rewind. Fourteen years! And he sticks him! I'm not going anywhere until the good Lord has me stop ticking. Then I'll walk away from the game willingly.

SN: It's been over three months since your friend Steve McNair was killed. How much is he on your mind? Lewis: I don't forget him. I talk to his mom every Sunday, tell her, "You lost one son, but you've got another one here. We've all got to close our eyes someday. The Lord knew this day was coming and knew we were going to have these conversations." We talk. She tells me she loves me. She says, "Go do what you do." He never leaves my mind and my heart.

SN: Will a man of your powerful voice and leadership ability work for change in the community? Is that something you want to do with your life? Lewis: That's what I'm doing. I train the Baltimore police officers every Tuesday night. It's a huge camp about physical fitness. Mind, body and spirit. I work their behinds, and they look at me like, "What the heck?" I go where the gangs are to talk about their influence. I want to talk to people who write music: Stop writing about material things; write about love, hope, dedication, sacrifice. You've been given a table --what are you doing with it? If people are listening, are they striving to be better person? It's the same thing when you're a public speaker. That's why I like going into the 'hood. I work out with these homeless men on Wednesdays. When they start getting tired, I'm like, "Look, success, or whatever you're looking for, ain't on the outside -- it's inside! I do so much people never know about, but I love it that way because it affects people differently.

SN: Where do you think your school, Miami, is headed under Randy Shannon? Lewis: In the right direction. That guy was my first linebackers coach, and he was a hell of a leader then. And me briefly watching what he's doing now, I am very impressed. He has lot of young talent. And he knows what to do with it.

SN: It's doubtful the Colts regret drafting Marvin Harrison at No. 19 in 1996, but how many of those other teams regret letting you fall to No. 26? Lewis: I remember that year, man. I watched all the big names go by. I can almost go through the whole first round. I said, "I will remember these things." Keyshawn Johnson one, Kevin Hardy two, Simeon Rice three, Cedric Jones five. (The Ravens selected offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden with the fourth pick.) At No. 20, I'm thinking the Dolphins are going to take me, then they take Daryl Gardener. I'm like, "Man, they don't know what's inside me!" I wasn't the biggest, the strongest or the fastest, but not one man was going to outwork me. So look at it now.

SN: How do you hope to be remembered? Lewis: As one of the greatest servers ever, as a man who honored life, who honored his job and did nothing else but want to find a different way to help somebody. If I get this done before I leave this earth, I pray I hear those five words: "Well done, my humble servant."

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Shockey gives Saints boost with passionate effort

MIAMI -- Who dat sayin' dey gonna beat dem Saints?

Apparently no one.

In a crazy, Technicolor performance, New Orleans stayed undefeated by rallying to beat Miami 46-34 on Sunday. And no one had more style during the comeback than their throwback tight end. Standing at his locker after the game in a dark plaid shirt, light blue tie and red-striped seersucker jacket, Jeremy Shockey tried to explain the unlikely victory.

"We didn't quit," he said of the 21-point deficit the Saints had to overcome. "I've been on teams that gave up, but this one didn't."

Shockey had his best day in his 18 games as a Saint, catching four passes for 105 yards, more than half of them on one play. It was an impressive sight: On a 66-yard catch, Shockey powered by rookie cornerback Vontae Davis, who had replaced the injured Will Allen, then fought off free safety Gibril Wilson, pushing him away for more than 20 yards.

"I feel a little bad about how that looked," said Shockey, who gained 45 of his 66 yards after the catch. "Gibril's my man. We were on the Giants together."

On the next series, Shockey beat Yeremiah Bell on gains of 16 and 14 yards, setting up a touchdown. For Shockey, who played at the University of Miami and lives in South Beach in the offseason, the win was meaningful.

"I love it here," Shockey said. "I saw some fans wearing my Hurricanes jersey."

It was another statement game by Shockey and the Saints, following their 48-27 thrashing of the New York Giants the week before. In that game, Shockey was targeted five times and caught four passes. It was also a field day for Drew Brees, who has four quality receivers to choose from. Lance Moore caught six passes, Marques Colston eight and Robert Meachem had two, including a touchdown. Seven different players scored against the Giants.

In Miami, the fresh legs of Mike Bell (80 yards on only 12 carries, a 6.7 average) opened up the passing game.
Brees said he noticed the Dolphins had been rolling the coverage to Colston, who still averaged 14.4 yards a catch, including a touchdown. Someone else noticed the coverage, too.

"Jeremy is not shy about pointing things out," Brees said with an easy laugh. "He might have mentioned he was open."

Shockey acknowledged his not-so-subtle hint.

"I knew I was isolated and could do some damage," he said. "They like to bracket receivers and that left me in single coverage."

New Orleans finished with 414 yards of offense, 276 through the air and 138 on the ground. Often accused of being a finesse team, the Saints again made the argument that they can control the line of scrimmage for the run as well as the pass.

"We want to be, we try to be, a balanced offense," coach Sean Payton said. "This game was important -- we'd never trailed all year. At halftime, I told the players that if they wanted to be great, this was a time to show it."

It was personal game for Payton, too. Both he and Miami coach Tony Sparano were on Bill Parcells' staff in Dallas, and Payton said no one taught him more than Parcells.

"I'll never forget how I got the job," said Payton. "I was home on Christmas Day and I heard my wife pick up the phone and say, 'Bill Parcells?' I'd never met him before. I went to the phone and said, 'Coach?' I had no idea what it would be about. But that's Bill, he thinks nothing of calling you on Christmas Day to offer you a job."

One of three undefeated teams, with the Broncos and Colts, there's no reason the Saints can't march to the Super Bowl. These are not your father's Saints, when New Orleans quarterbacks often had more interceptions than touchdowns.

This team has Brees, who nearly broke Dan Marino's single-season yardage record last season and is an obvious MVP candidate this year.

This team has a running game. Isn't it ironic that New Orleans cut the franchise's all-time leading rusher, Deuce McAllister, and still improved the rushing attack? Bell, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will do that to a defense.
This team has a much-improved defense. The key offseason acquisition might have been Gregg Williams, the feisty coordinator who has a plan, a passion and Darren Sharper in the secondary.

And then there is Shockey. The oft-injured tight end did not catch a touchdown all last year. But this year he is to be reckoned with.

"It gives us another option," offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. said. "He has tremendous skills."

The first-round pick of the Giants in 2002, Shockey had to watch from the sideline when an injury kept him out of Super Bowl XLII. This year, he's trying to keep his emotions under control. This season's Super Bowl is still four months away, but it is being played here in his adopted hometown.

"I know I'm excitable," said Shockey, smiling, "but Coach Payton constantly reminds us not to get ahead of ourselves. He has a great expression. He says keep playing, keep winning, and at the end, we'll count up all our chips."

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Leon Searcy: The U’s Youth, Defense Exposed

Hollywood - Football was never like this.

"The first day the trainer broke us down," said Clive Lowe, a former Douglas High and Montana State linebacker. "They put us on punching bags for three-minute rounds and we were going, going, going. Forty five seconds later we were dead tired.

"The first thing you realize is how long three minutes is, three minutes is forever."

Described as a "factory for heavyweight boxers," Hollywood businessman Kris Lawrence has created the ideal atmosphere at his Lucky Street Boxing Gym to try and develop the next heavyweight champion from South Florida.

The longtime boxing fan designed a state-of-the-art 20,000 square foot private boxing gym with two rings. He hired some of the nation's top trainers including Stacy McKinley, called "The Crocodile" and probably best known as the gym trainer for Mike Tyson. There is a videographer to help break down every sparring session on the gym's 52-inch TV screen before they hit a sprawling weight and exercise room.

Lawrence's concept on how to develop a heavyweight champion is already gaining attention in the boxing world. The marquis weight division, once dominated by Americans, is ruled by eastern European fighters.

"I would call Kris an entrepreneur regarding boxing," said reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine, who now lives in Hollywood. "He has feelings for the sport and desires to make it better. Who knows? Maybe we will have the next champion from this gym."

The boxing program is designed to bring elite athletes from college and pro sports including football, basketball, baseball and soccer, put them in a boxing gym and see if they have what it takes to become a pro fighter.

Six months ago, Lawrence's recruiting scout Justin Montgomery traveled from Orlando and Tampa to Miami to meet with athletic directors and coaches and look for the best athletes in various combines.

McKinley and trainers Isaiah Clark, Jessie Robinson and Terry Moore pared 100 candidates down to 26. By the end of the year, six are expected to make the cut to turn pro.

"Before they walk in the door half the work is done because we already know what they are capable of doing athletic-wise," Lawrence said. "The only thing we are looking for after that is a heart and a chin."

Lowe, 25, of Coral Springs and former Piper and University of Miami running back Quadtrine Hill, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound son of former Los Angeles and Miami Dolphins running back Eddie Hill, are arguably the top prospects.

"I took to it right away, my learning curve is really high," said Hill, 26, of Sunrise, who has shadow boxed with Klitschko. "I have always been a person who felt if I boxed I would be great at it. A great athlete, for the most part, is if he has a good head on his shoulders and put the right amount of work into it, you could turn him pretty much into anything you want."

Hill's last year in football was 2005 when he was placed on injured reserve by the Chicago Bears after hurting his back. Now healthy, he says "without a doubt, I am going to be the next heavyweight champion.

"In football you have to depend on so many other people. In boxing, it's just you. Of course, I miss football. It's something I did my whole life."

Hill said his father is still on the fence about him pursuing a pro career in boxing.

"My dad is half and half," Hill said. "He's seen the aftermath of some of these older fighters who didn't take care of themselves after taking thousands of hits. I keep telling my dad as many hits as I took to the head when I was playing running back and fullback at Miami, he really shouldn't be concerned about boxing."

Their amateur debut at the March 27-29 Florida Golden Gloves tournament was impressive. They won their first two novice bouts, including Hill's first round TKO victory in less than a minute after only two months of training.

The friends and stable mates are on a collision course to compete for a 4-foot high trophy in a special attraction fight on July 11 at the Women's National Golden Gloves Tournament at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Hilton.

"Someone asked me how I feel about getting punched in the face," Lowe said. "Nobody likes to get punched in the face. You just have to want to compete just like in football. The door is open to do something great."


Dancing With the Stars: The Michael Irvin Conspiracy

Last night's Dancing With the Stars results show kicked off in an even more insanely dramatic fashion than normal. The montage of clips from the competition ep featured fireball cuts and blood and heavy metal! It's like Stephen Colbert without the irony. It was all because this week saw the elimination of two of the "stars," as will next week. Bring on the filler!

Tom Bergeron and Lady Co-Host wasted no time talking about the dance-off that was moments away, but before they'd even gotten out like two sentences, they turned things over to the earnestly mediocre pop-country singer Taylor Swift, whose name sounds way too porny for me not to worry about her future. Why was she there? Good ol' vertical integration! She's up for entertainer of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, airing sometime soon (I didn't bother to note when) on, yes, ABC.

Blah blah, let's do some cutting. Safe for now: Joanna and Mark. Unrelated: Donny Osmond wore a green sequined jacket that threatened to melt my eyes.

The night's second network plug went to Eastwick, whose stars were assembled on the front row for a brief shout-out from Tom. I didn't even know Sara Rue was on that show, or that she was still alive. And there's poor old Rebecca Romijn Stamos Carlson O'Connell, still kicking as well. Good grief, does anyone even watch that show?
After another dumb, bombastic montage of the stars talking about the double elimination, Tom grinned and said, "Boy, they pulled out all the scary music this week." I like this guy more all the time. He clearly knows he's hosting crap, but hey, it's work, so he might as well try and have some fun.

Also safe for now, and exempt from the dance-off: Donny and Aaron. Generations of boy banders rejoiced.

After that it was time for a performance by Tiempo Libre, a Cuban band that fuses Bach and Latin music. I don't think the director knew what to do with the bit, because the camera kept cutting and zooming in either genuine confusion or an off-color stylistic nod to Sabado Gigante. Still, cute number.

Then it was time to make more cuts, albeit slightly confusing ones: Tom and Lady revealed the three lowest scorers, eliminated one right away, and said that the other two would have to do the dance-off to see who would stay in the game. Anyway: Mya was safe, as was Kelly (sweet). That left Melissa, Michael, and Snowboarder.

Second Taylor Swift performance of the night. If you weren't told she was a country artist, you wouldn't know it by listening to her. It's bland CW Network pop. Too bad, too, because she seems nice.

Back to the cuts: Melissa's gone! She had the lowest combined score and had to go right away, leaving Michael and Snowboarder (and their partners, duh) to battle in the dance-off. I was hoping that the heads-up competition would have quasi-Saw overtones, like Michael and Snowboarder would have to dance barefoot on broken glass or something, but so such luck. But the weird part is that before it started, there was rehearsal footage of Michael talking about how the dance-off is his last chance to stay on the show. So he knew going in that he'd be in the bottom three but not instantly eliminated. Does every contestant know? How much of their reaction to being cut/saved is manufactured?

So Michael and his partner did a samba, and Snowboarder and his girl did a jive to a life-suckingly bad cover of The Clash's version of "I Fought the Law." Both dances looked exactly like every other one they'd done. Bruno voted to save Snowboarder, Len voted to save Michael, and Carrie Ann saved Michael (HOW THE HELL DOES HE DO THIS). That meant it was finally time for Snowboarder to go home, while Michael sat back and loosed an evil cackle that shook the earth and loosed demons to roam the night. This guy is unstoppable.

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Alonso is off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, hitting

Alonso is off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .188/.243/.375 in 32 at-bats.

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Lessons to be learned from JGat

I have been very vocal about the return of those found guilty of a doping violation. I believe that despite the fact that it is a tougher pill to swallow when someone else’s mistake directly affects you, people make mistakes just the same and should be given a chance to redeem themselves.

However, realizing that you were wrong isn’t enough when your choices caused others pain. When someone is convicted of a crime, in addition to being removed from society, as a condition of their return they sometimes are on house arrest or have community service and a parole officer to answer too. Some never get all the their rights back. Maybe they can’t vote or live within a certain distance from children. Bottom line is after time served they don’t just slink back into society unnoticed.

I feel this is the same way offenders of the sports world should have to pay retribution. At this time there is nothing in place to make an athlete do any community service after having served a suspension.

Last week, I got a chance to check out a program Justin Gatlin voluntarily created with USATF where he is going around speaking openly about his experience. I am elated that the first building block is in place to make my idea a reality! Hopefully USADA will get on board in turning this into something more concrete for all Olympic sports.

The main question people ponder when they hear about someone’s doping violation is whether or not the offender meant to do it. They listen to the gossip, rumors and news and try to decide for themselves how guilty the person is in their eyes.

The reality is that intentional or unintentional becomes irrelevant once you have tested positive because the policy of USADA is that your are responsible for what enters your body, PERIOD.

The main point of accountability is key. Regardless of whether you meant to or not, when you think of all the people affected by your positive test, at the bear minimum you feel responsible for being naive if nothing else.

Here are a few of the messages I took away from the event:

* A strong support system is key, especially at a young age when you forced to grow up quickly. We have people turning into professionals as early as 18 years old. Though that is what the government recognizes as an adult, you are hardly ready to make the decisions that come along with making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

* One moment can forever be a part of your past, present and future. It is important to consider this every time you make a decision. As a doping offender there will always be skeptics discounting your performance creating a cloud you can’t get out from under.

* It is incredibly humbling to go from the top to rock bottom, but as long as you have the will you can find the strength to start climbing again learning a lot about yourself along the way.

* No matter your intentions, you have to be ready to except responsibility for what appear to be your actions. My dad often said it like this, “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”

*Character is built day by day and can take you far even when you have a damaging blow. It is important to be the best you you can be daily so that even if you stumble ALL will not loose faith in you as a person.

*Knowledge is power. Ignorance is not an excuse for any mistake you make. Educating yourself is priceless. If you don’t know something pick up a book or ask.
Surround yourself with the right people you can trust to help you find the right information and make your own decision.

It is my hope that in the days to come, instead of criticizing Justin, those who love this sport will take some vulnerable athlete either current or up-and-coming and show them that there is a lesson to be learned from Justin’s experience.

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proCanes Extend TD Streak to 112 Regular Season Weeks

Did you know that a former Miami Hurricane/current proCane has scored at least one touchdown in 112 consecutive regular season NFL weeks? Dating back to Week 15 of the 2002 season where Clinton Portis scored 4 TDs, at least one proCane has scored a TD in each regular season week since then. We have chronicled every touchdown since 2002. See below:

Week 7 2009:
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Brandon Meriweather - INT returned for a TD – New England Patriots
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Week 6 2009:
Jeremy Shockey - 1 TD - New Orleans Saints
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Week 5 2009:
Clinton Portis - 2 TDs - Washington Redskins
Ed Reed - INT returned for a TD - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 2 TDs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Andre Johnson - 2 TDs - Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 4 2009:
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins

Week 3 2009:
Santana Moss - 1 TD - Washington Redskins
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Sinorice Moss - 1 TD - NY Giants
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Greg Olsen - 1 TD - Chicago Bears
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts

Week 2 2009:
Antrel Rolle - Blocked Field Goal Return for a TD - Arizona Cardinals
Andre Johnson - 2 TDs - Houston Texans
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 1 TD - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Frank Gore - 2 TDs - San Francisco 49ers
Bruce Johnson - 1 TD - New York Giants

Week 1 2009:
Willis McGahee - 2 TDs - Baltimore Ravens
Kellen Winslow - 1 TD - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Reggie Wayne - 1 TD - Indianapolis Colts
Jeremy Shockey - 2 TDs - New Orleans Saints
Frank Gore - 1 TD - San Francisco 49ers
Devin Hester - 1 TD - Chicago Bears

Click below to see the rest of the list:

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Wayne just has a strain

Colts coach Jim Caldwell said that at this point, Reggie Wayne just has a strain in his groin.

Reggie Wayne (groin) told team president Bill Polian that he "felt good" after Sunday's win over the Rams.

Wayne missed significant snaps against the Rams due to the groin injury, but it's unclear if he could have played through it in a close game. Polian did not sound concerned about Wayne. We're tentatively expecting the Pro Bowl receiver to be fine for this week's game against the Niners.

Team president Bill Polian wasn't too concerned about Wayne on Monday, and Caldwell isn't either. "He's getting it treated. He felt pretty good about it, but we'll see how it goes," Caldwell said. Expect Wayne to miss some practice time this week. We'll know more about his status on Wednesday.

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Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Talks Shockey

I thought (Jeremy) Shockey was outstanding in the second half. We finally were able to get him the ball. He had been open a number of times. Those are all things that stood out differently.”

Jeremy (Shockey) felt for instance in that game there were some matchups inside. There were two examples inside where we got sacked or hurried before we could get it to him, but in the second half we were able to find some opportunities to get him the football and I thought that again, part of what you look at what we’re doing offensively.

I thought Shockey’s play in the fourth quarter was part of that process as well. It was significant. Your quarterback’s going to have dialogue with you more than at maybe some other positions, yet, I think we as coaches always want to pay attention to what we’re seeing and hearing as well.”

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Sharpe Placed on Practice Squad-Injured

The Atlanta Falcons today placed cornerback Glenn Sharpe on practice squad-injured and signed safety Eric Brock to the practice squad.

Sharpe was signed to the Falcons practice squad on Aug. 31, 2008 where he remained for the majority of the season last year. He started the ’09 campaign on the practice squad for the first six games of the season before being moved to practice squad-injured.

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Calais Playing Like a Mad Man

Calais Campbell: Campell continued his outstanding play with two tackles, a sack and a tipped pass that resulted in Eli's second pick. To make a long story short, he's playing a like a mad man. 

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Browns sign Jenkins to practice squad

The Cleveland Browns have added first-year wide receiver Darnell Jenkins to their practice squad. Rookie running back Cedric Peerman to make room for him.

Jenkins went undrafted coming out of the University of Miami last season, but signed with the Houston Texans. During two training camps and preseasons with the Texans, he's caught three passes for 28 yards and has 3 special teams tackles.

He was signed to the Texans' active roster late in 2008, appearing in one game, primarily on special teams. Houston released him on September 5, but signed him to their practice squad, where he remained until last Thursday, when he was released to make room for defense end Tim Jamison.

Jenkins will wear Braylon Edwards' old jersey, #17, though Edwards (6-3, 215) is a significantly larger individual than Jenkins, who checks in at 5-10 and 191 pounds.

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Portis preaches unity, professionalism

After seven games in 2008, Redskins running back Clinton Portis had 818 yards, four 100-yard games and was leading the NFL in rushing. After seven games in 2009, Portis has 490 yards, no 100-yard games and ranks eighth in the league in rushing.

Now, Portis heads into a bye week knowing that the offensive line he runs behind will be without left tackle Chris Samuels, right guard Randy Thomas and -- almost certainly -- tight end Chris Cooley for the rest of the season.
"It's going to be difficult," Portis said. "We lost two offensive linemen, we shuffled two offensive linemen, now we lose Chris Cooley. The only mainstay from our opening day roster that's on that line is [center] Casey Rabach and [left guard] Derrick Dockery.

"That's it. Everybody else has been shuffled, moved, changed or injured. So we're going out here playing with two guys who were originally the starters. Levi Jones played, we signed him five days ago. That's just the position we [are] in. We got to address and get some depth. We went into the season, and we didn't address that issue and it came back to haunt us. I mean, just as a team, we got to stay together."

Portis said each player must continue to show up to work, and that professionalism is at a premium during difficult times.

"No matter what the case is, you still go to go out and play," Portis said. "All of a sudden, you don't go on the field and just lay down. We still got to go out and play, we still got to go out and execute, we still got to go out and get better."

But Portis also dismissed the idea that veterans can handle the situation for others.

"I don't try to make sure other guys handle it," Portis said. "Other guys got to be accountable for themselves. I got to be accountable for me. I got to make sure Clinton Portis, No. 26 for the Washington Redskins show up and do my thing. Trying to be accountable for other guys, I can't do."

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Olsen to host the “Shake the Lake Music Festival

Tight end Greg Olsen will host the “Shake the Lake Music Festival” at Joe’s on Weed Street in Chicago (940 W. Weed Street) at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13.

The country music concert featuring David Nail and Keith Anderson will benefit Receptions for Research—The Greg Olsen Foundation. Funds raised will be distributed to organizations dedicated to breast and brain cancer research and treatment and to Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Tickets are on sale now and available at or in person at Joe’s (cash only).  General admission tickets are $50 each. VIP tickets are $100 and include the opportunity for a meet-and-greet with Olsen’s teammates as well as the performing artists. For more information, please visit 

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There's talk that Eric Winston, the Texans' studious right tackle, could be reaching Pro Bowl status.

As long as you understand that team goals come first, Winston says the idea has a fine ring to it.

"If you take the team equation out of it, you always want to be noticed as one of the best guys around," he said. "That's never going to change. That would be really neat if it happened one day, but if it comes, it comes, and if not, I don't need that to validate my career."

That's a very logical answer to a question most players avoid. The fear of being labeled selfish leads most players to stick with the team concept. Winston isn't most players.

He's articulate and open. His "no comment" responses are rare. He has a website that contains an "Ask Eric" section. He's tuned in on and off the field. 

Winston gives a preview and wrap-up of each game on his website, He blogs and posts messages on Twitter regularly and appears on a weekly radio show. His wife, Jenny, even writes periodic diary entries for

"I like to stay up with current events, check out the rumor mills and see what's going on," Winston said. "I love the sport. I love playing, being a part of the whole machine. I can't get enough of it. That helps me stay dialed in, I guess."

Does he get a lot of comments from fans on his blog? 

"It's alright for an offensive lineman," he said, smiling. "I talk in-season, give a preview, something I think a fan would like to hear about. On Twitter, I don't put things like what I'm doing during the day. I put any funny thoughts or quotes that come to mind. When I'm watching Monday Night Football, I might make fun of (Ron) Jaworski."

Winston keeps track of his varied interests on his own time. He's much more attuned to his chosen profession. 

"On the field, he's really smart," center Chris Myers said. "He's a master at his craft. He likes to know the routes and all that has to do with the offense in football. He likes to understand the game. He's always staying out there asking questions about anything that has to do with the game of that week."

Winston devours game film. He actually enjoys the study time.

"I've always been a big fan of the game," he said. "I've been willing to learn and dive into anything, new concepts. That's always helped me. I generally love being around football. I watch it when I go home; I put the TV on NFL Network.

"It's in my blood. I always played a ton of sports when I was little – football, baseball, basketball. It never stopped."

Winston's climb to prominence is a little bit luck and a whole lot of work.

He went from Midland Lee High School in West Texas to the University of Miami intent on becoming the best tight end in football history. Of course, Kellen Winslow was there already to complicate the issue, and Winston's coaches saw more potential for him on the offensive line.

Myers, Winston's close friend and fraternity brother at Miami, remembers the scene.

"I think it was a mixed reaction," Myers said. "He knew he had the frame that allowed him to put on some weight, but then again, he knew that he wouldn't be catching any more touchdowns and running more routes and being a pretty boy. He took it in stride and ran with it."

Winston recalls his decision-making process.

"I was getting to the point that I wanted to play," he said. "I knew Kellen was coming back for another year, and I wanted to be out there as much as possible. It was hard to keep the weight under 270, lifting every day. It was probably something that naturally was going to happen. It dawned on me that it was the most logical progression of my career.

"I'd like to think I could have made the league as a tight end, but I'd have probably been a blocking and special teams guy. So being able to play tackle has allowed me to move my career forward."

Winston spent three seasons as Miami's starting left tackle, earning first-team All-America honors after his senior season in 2005. The Texans drafted him with their second pick of the third round in 2006.

Texans offensive line coach John Benton was impressed by Winston's athleticism, but he wasn't quite sure what he had in Winston. Eight games into the 2006 season, Benton found out.

Starting right tackle Zach Wiegert was sidelined by an injury in the fourth quarter of a close game against Jacksonville. That propelled Winston into the lineup, and he's started every game for the Texans since.

"We were excited when we drafted him, but he's such a thinker and not a vocal guy that when he came in, we probably didn't notice him as much," Benton said. "When they get thrown into the fire, you notice them, and he responded quickly.

"He came in and worked hard. Really, he was forced into playing when Zach got hurt. He just blossomed into a very technically sound football player and has been very good for us ever since."

Benton could see the light coming on for Winston as he settled into his starting role.

"As is true with a lot of young players when they start out, they realize the intensity out there when there's live bullets and how important every aspect of your game is," Benton said. "You can't just go out there and make it up as you go, as sometimes you think you can if you are a superior player in college ball.

"You get out there and realize your steps better be perfect, your hands better be perfect, every technique you have better be perfect. It didn't take him long. By the end of the season, he was one of our better protector guys, and he's upped his game in the run ever since. He's a leader of our group. He leads the room. We couldn't ask for more."

The Texans have lost starting guards Mike Brisiel and Chester Pitts for the season, leaving Winston (fourth year) and Myers (fifth year) as the old men of the line.

"He's definitely one of the leaders in there to rally the guys," second-year starting left tackle Duane Brown said. "He's a guy who stays level-headed and keeps us together. He tells us no matter what, stay together and play together. That's very encouraging on Sundays in the heat of the battle to have someone like that out there. He calms you down."

Winston has become a confidant for Brown.

"He likes to see things before they happen and play off that," Brown said. "He helps me a lot. Last year, I had Ephraim (Salaam) here; he showed me a lot. Now, Eric is the one in practice and middle of the game to get some pointers from on footwork or hand placement."

Statistics that mark a good offensive line belong to the running backs, quarterbacks and receivers. Last season, the Texans became the second team this decade with a 3,000-yard passer (Matt Schaub), 1,500-yard receiver (Andre Johnson) and 1,200-yard running back (Steve Slaton). Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels earned trips to the Pro Bowl.

"Those are things we take ownership in," Winston said. "We are a big cog in that happening. Even though we're not the ones throwing or catching the ball, we like to think we had a small part in it. I definitely look at the stats after the game and want to see those guys putting up big numbers."

The Texans' running game is still under construction this season. But the passing attack has flourished, with Schaub ranking at or near the top of the league in most passing categories. Against the Arizona Cardinals, the offensive line didn't allow a single sack in 50 pass attempts by Schaub.

The more successful the Texans become, the more Pro Bowl talk will find its way to Winston. But on an individual level, Winston most looks forward to receiving accolades on a much smaller scale.

"The handshakes after the game, the pats on the back, people saying you're a helluva blocker – that's the little stuff, to me, that's awesome," he said. "That's what it's all about, when the guy in front of you says, ‘Hey, great job, you're a helluva player.' That's good to hear. To get those every now and then is nice because you know you've got the respect of your peers."

Winston would like to spend about 15 years in the league and then take the next step in his life. He hopes it will be as easy as his progression in football so far. Until then, Winston plans to follow the advice of his old college coach, Larry Coker.

"Coach Coker used to say, ‘Don't worry about the end of the journey, just enjoy it while it's going on,'" Winston said.

"You don't really understand that until you start looking back and saying, ‘Wow, that was a lot of fun, the struggle we went through and what we did to get here.'"

Winston already has come a long way from his days as a standout tight end at Midland Lee. His arrow is only pointing up from here.

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Salmons ready to increase role

John Salmons isn't so much a man of few words as one who uses the most economical number to answer a question properly.

Talk to him about his new baby daughter, and he will gush. Discuss his strong religious foundation, and you will get an earful without judgment.

But ask him if he feels pressure to prove last season wasn't a fluke, and the notebook remains mostly bare.

"No," he said, neither remotely nor rudely. "Because it wasn't."

Salmons became more effusive in talking about how he tweaked his offseason routine because he "learned a lot in the playoffs" and, initially, had to rest a sore groin. But ask him if that change in focus was, in any way, because he will assume Ben Gordon's shooting guard slot in Thursday night's opener against the Spurs, and the response is even more succinct.

"No," he said.

The tape recorder kept rolling. Salmons looked down and smiled.

"Look, I'm going to do what I do," Salmons said. "I don't feel any added pressure because BG is gone. We still have a lot of players with talent. I'm just going to do the best I can, work hard, put it in God's hands, and whatever the results are, they are."

If past history is any guide, that should be enough.

Salmons averaged a career-high 18.3 points last season, continuing a trend that has seen his scoring average increase from 4.1 to 7.5 to 8.5 to 12.5 to 18.3 over the last five seasons. Perhaps it's merely coincidence Salmons also started a career-high 74 games between the Bulls and Kings last season -- or not.

"At Sacramento (in 2007-08), I started 41 games and averaged 17 points in those games," Salmons said. "I finished the season averaging 12.5 because I'm not a big coming-off-the-bench guy. Another year in Philly as a starter, I averaged 14. I got a thousand excuses why it wasn't working earlier. But last year, I got an opportunity and I took advantage of it."

That opportunity will grow this season. Not only has Salmons moved from small forward to assume Gordon's vacated shooting guard spot, but coach Vinny Del Negro said Salmons still would see some small forward minutes.

"He's going to have the ball a lot," Del Negro said. "We need him to score consistently. John's a pro. He knows the importance of him being consistent at both ends. He does a good job defensively helping and talking. I think he's even more comfortable now just going through training camp instead of jumping in at the trading deadline."

In fact, Salmons is so comfortable, he lives up to his nickname of "Cool Breeze" and scoffs at any offensive differences between playing shooting guard and small forward.

"The only change will be on defense," Salmons said. "A lot of shooting guards run off screens, so chasing Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton has been on my mind."

In other words, that defensive assignment will be more painful, right?

"Yes," Salmons said.

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NFL U Week 7 Photos

Check out Week 7 photos from around the the NFL of our proCanes. Click here to see the photos.

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proCanes Stats from Week 7 of NFL U

Andre Johnson: 2 catches for 62 yards before being injured

Vince Wilfork: 2 solo tackles

Brandon Meriweather: 2 tackles, 1 solo tackle, 2 pass deflections, 2 INTs one returned for a TD

Jeremy Shockey: 4 catches 105 yards

Jonathan Vilma: 10 tackles, 7 solo tackles, 3 tackles for loss

Santana Moss: 6 catches for 74 yards

Clinton Portis: 14 carries for 43 yards

Rocky McIntosh: 4 tackles

Calais Campbell: 2 tackles, 1 solo tackle, 1 sack, 1 tackles for a loss, 2 pass deflections

Antrel Rolle: 8 tackles, 6 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection and 1 interception

Edgerrin James: NO GAME, Seahawks Bye Week

Kelly Jennings: NO GAME, Seahawks Bye Week

Frank Gore: 13 carries 32 yards, 2 catches 15 yards

Kellen Winslow: 2 catches 9 yards

Roscoe Parrish: DID NOT PLAY though he was active and listed as the 3rd string QB

Greg Olsen: 4 catches, 24 yards

Devin Hester: 8 catches, 101 yards 1TD

Darrell McClover: 2 tackles

Willis McGahee: NO GAME, Ravens Bye Week

Ray Lewis: NO GAME, Ravens Bye Week

Ed Reed: NO GAME, Ravens Bye Week

Tavares Gooden: NO GAME, Ravens Bye Week

DJ Williams: NO GAME, Broncos Bye Week

Sinorice Moss: DID NOT PLAY

Jeff Feagles: 7 punts for 241 yards with a 34.4 average and 3 inside the 20-yard line

Bruce Johnson: 4 tackles

Reggie Wayne: 7 catches 83 yards 1 TD

Jon Beason: 7 tackles, 6 solo tackles and 2 tackles for loss

Damione Lewis: 6 tackles, 5 solo tackles

Phillip Buchanon: NO GAME, Lions Bye Week

Antonio Dixon: 2 solo tackles

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Kubiak: Johnson dealing with lung contusion

Texans coach Gary Kubiak revealed at his Monday press conference that Andre Johnson has a lung contusion.

"Hopefully, he'll be ready to go against Buffalo," Kubiak added, indicating some concern about A.J.'s status. Kubiak also said Johnson is "day to day," though he says that about all injured players. Johnson will likely miss some practice this week, and may come down to a game-time decision on Sunday.

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Meriweather Doesn't Want To Talk About the Clemson Game

Brandon Merriweather, former student at the University of Miami, asked us not to remind him of the still-painful overtime loss to rival Clemson on Saturday night. "Oh man, why did you have to bring that up?" he said.

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Kelly Jennings Back

Today, cornerback Kelly Jennings was back after sitting out last week because of a sore hip and rib. On Jennings, Mora said, “He looked like he was moving around well. I didn’t see him limping or favoring anything. So he should be good to go.”

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Off night for Feagles

The goal each week for Jeff Feagles is to limit the return game of the opponent by punting the ball out of bounds or as close to the sideline as possible. In last night's 24-17 loss to the Cardinals, Feagles got the ball out of bounds and limited dangerous Steve Breaston to one punt return for only one yard.

But Feagles did not have a good game. He averaged only 34.4 yards per punt and too often left the Cardinals with good field position.

"It's one of those things where sometimes you try a little bit too much to get the ball out of bounds," Feagles said. "It's all about the angles and my angles were just off a little bit."

eagles mis-hit one kick 28 yards out of bounds and followed with punts of 33, 35 and 30 yards.

"I can put a 45-yard punt out of bounds, you've seen me do it before," Feagles said. "It just didn't happen tonight."

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Today in NFL History Vinny Testaverde For Ravens Record 429 yards

Vinny Testaverde encountered plenty of ups and downs during his long career as an NFL quarterback. Highly touted as the Heisman Trophy-winning first overall draft choice of Tampa Bay in 1987, he suffered through six difficult seasons with the Buccaneers before moving on to the Cleveland Browns in 1993. When the Browns franchise became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 (leaving the team name and history behind), Testaverde moved along with them as the starting QB.

On October 27, 1996 Testaverde became the first 400-yard passer for the Ravens in a Week 9 matchup at Memorial Stadium against the visiting St. Louis Rams. He filled the air with passes in the 37-31 overtime win, completing 31 of 51 throws for 429 yards. Three of the passes went for TDs and two were intercepted.

Baltimore was down 13-0 in the second quarter before Testaverde threw his first TD pass of the day, 27 yards to WR Floyd Turner. The extra point attempt failed, and in the third quarter Todd Lyght of the Rams intercepted a Testaverde pass and returned it 25 yards for a score. However, the Ravens climbed back into the game, with Matt Stover kicking a 50-yard field goal and RB Bam Morris reaching the end zone on a three-yard run that was followed by a successful Testaverde-to-WR Derrick Alexander two-point conversion. The gap was now closed to 20-17.

The Rams led off the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 36-yard Chip Lohmiller field goal, after which Testaverde passed the Ravens into the lead for the first time with his second TD toss of the game, 13 yards to Alexander for a 24-23 lead. Bam Morris scored another running touchdown to put Baltimore ahead, 31-23, but the Rams tied the game with two runs by RB Harold Green – one for a one-yard touchdown and another for a two-point PAT.

Fittingly, it was a Testaverde touchdown pass that won the game in overtime for the Ravens, as he hit WR Michael Jackson for a 22-yard score.

It was an exciting win for the Ravens – and the only one during a 1-7 midseason stretch on the way to a 4-12 overall record. However, Testaverde ended up with career highs in passing yards (4177) and TD passes (33), both of which remain franchise records.

Vinny Testaverde went on to play for the Jets, Cowboys, Patriots, and Panthers before finally calling it a career at age 44 following the 2007 season. Plagued by inconsistency, he never achieved the greatness that was anticipated when he came into the league with the Buccaneers. However, as the game against the Rams proved, over the course of 21 seasons he was capable of delivering big performances.

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A Bankrupt Bernie Not Named Madoff

With three failing companies swamped by bankruptcy proceedings in Florida,  Bernie needed a break. And he got one. Bernie Kosar is rejoining the NFL team he took to the playoffs in his first five seasons as a player.

Although the details of the arrangement remain it vague, it appears the Weston resident and former U. Miami and Cleveland Browns quarterback will be an adviser to Browns owner Randy Lerner, based on this Yahoo Sports report. Football advising, we presume. Not financial advising.

Last week, a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy judge appointed a trustee, requested by Kosar's ex-wife Babette J. Kosar, to take over the case, saying the 45-year-old former NFL star has "demonstrated no ability to manage his affairs."

Kosar currently owes his ex an estimated $3 million from their divorce settlement. Adding to the laundry list of debt, Kosar and three of his companies sought refuge under Chapter 11's bankruptcy protection. In court documents filed in late September, Kosar lists $9.2 million in assets and $18.9 million in debt.

During his 12-year career with the Browns, Kosar was selected to the 1987 Pro Bowl and broke records in 1990 and 1991 by completing 308 passes without a single interception. In short, he took care of the football a lot better than he could take care of his bank accounts.

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Brewers' Ryan Braun to open restaurant in Lake Geneva

LAKE GENEVA — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is part of an ownership group that is opening a fine-dining restaurant in Lake Geneva, according to the Business Journal of Milwaukee.

The Ryan Braun Tavern and Grill will be open in late November or early 2010 in an existing restaurant space that is being extensively renovated, said Nez Balelo, Braun’s Los Angeles-based agent.

Balelo declined to disclose how much Braun is investing in the project, saying he is part of a group that includes several business executives from Chicago and Lake Geneva.

“Ryan has an appreciation for fine food and fine dining and has always talked about getting involved in a restaurant,” Balelo told the Business Journal. “This just seemed like the right opportunity.”

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NFL U Week 6 Video Highlights

Check out the return of our NFL U Video Highlights. Like we did back in 2006 & 2008, 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 5 Video Highlights or click above on NFL U Video Highlights. Enjoy this week's highlights which Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, Ray Lewis, Santana Moss, and much more!

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Hester posts first 100-yard game

CINCINNATI - Devin Hester scored the Bears' only touchdown and caught 8 passes for 101 yards, his first 100-yard game in the NFL, but he wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate.

"You can't even be happy with statistics coming off a loss like this," Hester said. There's nothing to be excited about."

Hester also leads the Bears with 28 receptions and 373 yards and is tied for the team lead with 3 touchdowns after scoring on a 5-yard pass from Jay Cutler.

He's on pace for 75 catches, 995 yards and 8 touchdowns, but the Bears are on pace for a .500 season.

"I'm hoping that this can be a real humbling experience for us, to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as individuals," Hester said. "Everyone needs to take it upon themselves and really evaluate and see, 'What could I do to be better than I was this week?'

"We just feel like we came out playing flat. We didn't start off fast, and we definitely didn't finish the game strong."

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Shockey energizes Saints with 105 yards

Jeremy Shockey led the Saints with 105 yards on four receptions against the Dolphins in Week 7.

Shockey was invisible early before dominating the fourth quarter. His 66-yard catch-and-run was a career long, and he energized the Saints' offense with his post-catch antics. He has another inviting matchup next week against a Falcons defense allowing the fifth most points to opposing tight ends.

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Inspector Gadget

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is known for calling gadget plays, but the Cardinals haven't surprised anyone with them this year.

They tried one in the third quarter Sunday night, and it almost worked. On second and 2 from the Giants 40, cornerback Antrel Rolle entered the game in the wildcat formation.

He took the direct snap, rolled right and threw long to receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who had to pause to catch it. Fitzgerald was tackled at the goal line but never had control of the ball and it was incomplete.

It didn't matter, anyway. The play was negated by a holding call on tight end Ben Patrick.

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Texans' Johnson suffers chest injury vs. 49ers

Texans receiver Andre Johnson left Sunday’s 24-21 victory over San Francisco with a chest injury but should be ready to play in the next game at Buffalo.

Johnson, who was injured in the fourth quarter, was taken to the hospital for X-rays before returning to Reliant Stadium to shower and dress after the Texans’ second consecutive victory.

“They’re telling me it’s a chest contusion,” coach Gary Kubiak said.

Kubiak will have an update on Johnson at his regular Monday afternoon news conference.

Johnson was injured when he caught a 44-yard pass on what proved to be the winning field goal drive. He fell on the ball, coughed up some blood and went to the sideline.

Johnson returned briefly, but when he tried to return a second time, some members of the team’s medical staff hid his helmet to keep him on the sideline rather than risk further injury.

Johnson’s catch down the middle gave the Texans the ball at San Francisco’s 41-yard line. Kris Brown finished the drive with a 50-yard field goal.

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Frank Gore struggles in loss

Frank Gore ran for just 32 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 15 yards in the 49ers' Week 7 loss.
Gore is plenty healthy, but the Texans' red-hot run defense bottled him up early and falling behind in the first half cost Gore touches. Gore will look to rebound against the Ed Johnson-less Colts in Week 8.

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Spencer Adkins Active

Linebacker Spencer Adkins and cornerback Tye Hill were both active for the first time this season. Adkins, a rookie, played on the kickoff return team. Hill did not play in the game.

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Vilma Fined $10,000 By NFL

New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning during the second quarter of last Sunday's game at the Superdome. Vilma said he is appealing the ruling. Vilma was assessed a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.

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ESPN: Bryant McKinnie Interview From the PreSeason

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Edgerrin James takes in Naples-Barron Collier

NAPLES — During his new team’s bye week, Seattle Seahawks running back and Immokalee native Edgerrin James took time this week to appreciate what’s really important in his life.

As he stood on the sidelines of the Barron Collier football field Friday taking in one of the biggest games of the high school season, James was looking past the gridiron to the one thing he loves more than football.

The most famous athlete to come out of Collier County wasn’t at Barron Collier to watch the newly christened Crosstown Showdown. James was there to be by the side of his cousin, Torrey Campbell, a Cougars running back, in the most important game of his season.

“I had to come check him out,” James said at halftime. “His mama, Jennifer, would have killed me if I didn’t come out here. Any time I get a chance to see any of my relatives play, I’m going to come to the game. I’ve got to come support them because they’ve supported me all my career.”

Seattle’s bye week allowed James a rare opportunity to see his family while playing in the complete opposite corner of the country. While he’s still finding his way with the Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest, James’ four children are staying with his mother in Naples.

After flying into Miami on Monday and arriving in Naples on Tuesday morning, James has spent his time with Edquisha, Ehyanna, Edgerrin Jr. and Euro, who attend school in Naples. He’s had lunch at school with them and picked them up at the end of the day.

Click here to keep reading.

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Kosar Could Have a Bigger Role With The Browns

The front office of the Browns made a very subtle change a couple weeks ago when it invited one of its own to help.

Now the question becomes how significant the change becomes in the long term.

Bernie Kosar acknowledged in a phone interview on Friday that he would like to grow his consulting role into a full-time gig.

How that plays out, though, not even Kosar is sure.

''I'd like to see how I'm fitting and see where I could genuinely help,'' Kosar said from South Florida en route to parent-teacher conferences at his kids' school. ''Right now, because it's the season, it's hard to do that.''

Kosar said he got a surprising call to ''consult'' from team owner Randy Lerner shortly after the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. At that point, the Browns were 0-4 and exulting over losing close to the Bengals at home.

But Lerner has to be well aware that it was his decision to hire coach Eric Mangini, and if it doesn't work it falls on him.

Asking Kosar to help might be the first step in recognizing the situation needs shoring.

The Browns did not publicize the move, nor did Kosar, who preferred to keep it quiet. But since the Plain Dealer first reported the story a week ago, Kosar has been upfront about the situation.

Kosar has longed to help his beloved Browns since 1999, when he supported the Carmen Policy-Al Lerner ownership group.

He was involved on the periphery, but never in the building doing what he's doing now. He has no title, and he said that's fine.

The past few years were tumultuous for him, as he struggled through a difficult divorce he did not want. He recently had to file for personal bankruptcy - and included in the list of debts was $1 million owed to the Browns.

He said things have settled down, and he feels better able to contribute.

''The first thing right now is analyzing and learning what it is we do and what it's called,'' Kosar said. ''The system is pretty intricate and there's a million calls. You can't talk coaching lingo unless you know that stuff. So I have to look at the film and learn the playbook.

''Then I've been trying to get ready for the offseason and how we're going to balance that, because the coaches have to focus solely on Green Bay.''

This sounds like a man who is involved. Learning the system should not be too difficult. Kosar always has been a quick study, and he has a football mind.

Now comes the challenge of translating that football IQ into positive action with a losing team that lacks playmakers.

But it's also delicate, because Mangini and General Manager George Kokinis were hired to do a job, and the appearance that Kosar is looking over their shoulders would not be good for anyone - Kosar included.

That's probably why Kosar stressed positives. Among them the play of center Alex Mack.

Kosar said a team needs ''core, foundation, tough guys in the middle'' and added ''you could make a case to keep the fifth pick and take someone who's more 'sexy,' but I'm glad we have Alex Mack.''

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Huff not returning to Detroit

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says that there is "no way" Jarrod Washburn is brought back to Detroit for 2010, nevermind being offered arbitration.

Washburn went 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA after being acquired from the Mariners at the trade deadline and battled injury issues. It's no surprise that the Tigers aren't keen on bringing him back, but the lefty won't have a problem finding a landing spot. Henning also names Aubrey Huff as someone certain not to return to Detroit.

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