December 2005 - Football Wiretap
Harrison Likely To Play On Sunday
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison likely will return to the Indianapolis Colts' starting lineup for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Running back Edgerrin James might get the day off. Harrison missed last week's 28-13 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a broken bone in his right hand that he hurt against San Diego two weeks ago. After missing practice last week and sitting out Wednesday and Thursday this week, it was beginning to look like he wouldn't be back until the Colts' first playoff game in two weeks. But Harrison was able to go through limited drills Friday. "The hand is pretty good. It reminds me of earlier in the year when I hurt my wrist," Harrison said after Friday's practice. "Today I wanted to get out here and practice. Not necessarily for the game Sunday but practice in preparations for the first playoff game."
Rams Great Jack Snow Falls Critically Ill
Former Rams receiver and current broadcaster Jack Snow was in critical condition Friday with a staph infection. The 62-year-old Snow was at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Hospital spokesman Jason Merrill said he could not discuss details of the illness. Rams spokesman Duane Lewis said Snow became ill in November. He was getting better, but was hospitalized last week. Lewis said Snow's family was with him at the hospital. He believed Snow's son, San Francisco Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, was among them.
Gibbs Expects Brunell To Start Against Philly
Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he expects quarterback Mark Brunell to start Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Brunell sprained his right knee in last week's victory over the New York Giants, but he practiced Friday for the second straight day. "Mark took most of the script and looked good," Gibbs said. "I'm sure that's the way we'll start." Brunell was injured when he was sacked early in the third quarter against the Giants. Patrick Ramsey finished the game and has been preparing to start the Eagles game if Brunell can't play. The Redskins will clinch a playoff spot with a victory. "It's tough for anyone to be on the sidelines, but it would be especially tough now," Brunell said.
Saints To Return To Louisiana For 2006
An agreement in principle struck between owner Tom Benson and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will return the New Orleans Saints to Louisiana for practice in 2006, and likely for the entire regular-season schedule. The agreement, first reported by the San Antonio Express-News, was confirmed by two league owners, one of whom serves on the advisory committee that is counseling Benson on the direction of his franchise. "Today we are very pleased to advise our entire organization -- coaches, players and staff -- that we will be returning to Metairie in January," Benson said Friday in a memo circulated to the team. "We are working in Louisiana to play as many games as possible in the Superdome, which may be ready in September." Under the accord, which is expected to be finalized soon, the Saints will return to their permanent practice facility in Metairie, La., just outside of New Orleans. The state-owned training complex was commandeered by FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and used as a staging area. Saints officials had previously contended that the facility was in disrepair, but the damage was not nearly as severe as originally indicated. "[The talks] haven't always been amicable, and [Benson] still has some doubts about all of this, but it looks like they're going back [to Louisiana]," one owner advising the Saints said.
Jets Are Confident That They Can Sign Abraham Long Term
One of the key items on the Jets' offseason agenda is the future of DE John Abraham, who is eligible for free agency. Although a plan of attack still isn't etched in stone, the Jets are reasonably confident they can sign him to a long-term contract, according to a person familiar with the team's thinking. If they use the franchise tag on him again, taking up substantial cap space, it would cripple the team's chances of being active in free agency - and there are many holes to fill. Plus, the franchise tag could be costlier than first anticipated. The franchise tender for a defensive end could rise to at least $8.6 million in 2006, according to an NFL source. In 2005, it was $6.7 million. The amount is determined by the average salary of the five highest-paid players at the position. Because he was tagged once, Abraham's new franchise tender would be 20% higher than the previous salary (bringing it up to $8 million) or the new franchise number, whichever is greater. The inflation could motivate the Jets to sign him to a cap-friendly, long-term deal. Failing that, they could trade him.
Ricky Will Accept Any Role
Dolphins coach Nick Saban reiterated his preference for a two-back system, and Ricky Williams, coming off a 172-yard outing against the Titans, said he would be fine with sharing the backfield with rookie Ronnie Brown again next season. "I like Ronnie," said Williams, who has 635 yards on 140 carries, less than half his career average of 318 carries a season. "I find myself out there rooting for Ronnie, not ever wishing I was in there, but excited to see him run and be in there. "This part of my career I don't play for numbers. I don't play for anything except it's my job to play. I could be happy doing whatever, if I was on special teams, if I was on the bench, anything I would do." Williams, 28, also said that the $8.6 million federal judgment hanging over his head for breaching his contract last year is no factor in his decision in wanting to return to the Dolphins and that he'd be quite content in making the league-minimum $545,000 next season. "Five-hundred thousand dollars is plenty of money," said Williams, who made approximately $285,000 this season after eight weeks of pay was taken out because of his four-game suspension and fines. "I don't think I could sit here and tell you that's not enough money. It'd be kind of foolish when I grew up with my mom who had three kids and did it by herself on $50,000. "[Money] never has been an [issue] and I don't think it ever will." It's believed that Williams could wriggle out of his contract and become a free agent by declaring bankruptcy to void the $8.6 million judgment. Williams, who has three children by three different women, doesn't think he'll have to go that route, but he's certainly not afraid to. "I brought the situation on myself so I have to deal with it," he said. "I don't need to file bankruptcy. Even if that [happened], that's not so bad. I can't see things going in a way that I'm going to be put out by it. "As for my kids, they're stuck with me. Kids don't need money, they're happy. Their moms aren't as happy."
Savage Done In Cleveland
The Cleveland Browns plan to fire senior vice president and general manager Phil Savage, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Friday. The split is over "philosophical differences," primarily salary cap management. The announcement could come as early as Friday. Savage could not be reached for comment. Atlanta Falcons chief administation officer Ray Anderson is a candidate to replace Savage, who joined the Browns on Jan. 6. The Browns, who are 5-10 in coach Romeo Crennel's first season in Cleveland, play Baltimore on Sunday.
Shockey And Torbor Will Sit At Oakland
Tight end Jeremy Shockey and linebacker Reggie Torbor will sit out the New York Giants' game at Oakland on Saturday because of injury. Both players were hurt last week in a 35-20 loss to Washington. Shockey injured his ankle, and Torbor aggravated a hamstring injury. Neither practiced this week, and both had been listed as questionable as recently as Thursday. Torbor's injury, as well as injuries to linebackers Antonio Pierce (high ankle sprain) and Carlos Emmons (strained right pectoral muscle), means that New York will be without its three starting linebackers who began the season. New York can clinch its first NFC East title since 2000 with a win Saturday.
Bengals Sign Palmer To Deal Through 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals reworked and extended Carson Palmer's contract on Thursday, giving themselves more salary cap flexibility and a chance to keep their franchise quarterback through 2014. By adding six years to a deal that could pay him $118.75 million, they also showed they're serious about winning for years to come. The Bengals have won the AFC North title and are preparing for their first playoff appearance in 15 years. "We've knocked down another one of those walls," coach Marvin Lewis said. Palmer won the Heisman Trophy at Southern California and was the first overall pick in 2003. His current contract had three more years. The Bengals approached Palmer's agent, David Dunn, about an extension a few months ago, indicating they wanted to keep him for the rest of his career. In only his second season as a starter, Palmer has led his team to the playoffs, set a franchise record for touchdown passes and made the Pro Bowl.
Dungy Rejoins Colts On Thursday
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy rejoined his team Thursday, a week after his oldest son's death of an apparent suicide. Dungy is expected to be on the sideline Sunday when the Colts (13-2) host Arizona in the regular-season finale. He met briefly with players and coaches Thursday and thanked them for their support since his 18-year-old son, James, was found unresponsive in his Tampa-area apartment Dec. 22. He was pronounced dead at University Community Hospital. Dungy took the team plane from Indianapolis to Tampa, Fla., where he had coached the Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001. James Dungy's funeral was Tuesday, but his father had not said when he would return to the Colts. "It was good to see him back," said Colts offensive guard/tackle Jake Scott. "I think it's probably good for him. It's kind of back to normal, having him here out there to run the scout teams, organizing practice and the walkthroughs." Dungy was scheduled to direct Thursday afternoon's practice.
Favre Firm On Retirement Talk
"This is 15 years," Brett Favre said Wednesday. "And before you know it, here we are. And this could be it."
Carroll Staying At USC, Agrees To Extension
Pete Carroll, who coached Southern California from mediocrity to dominance since being hired in 2001, agreed to a contract extension with the school.
Barlow Placed On IR, Sign CB Kris Richard
The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback Kris Richard and put running back Kevan Barlow on injured reserve Wednesday with a lingering knee injury.
Billick Lives To See Another Year
In an announcement that confirmed rumors of the past two weeks, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti informed players at a team meeting Wednesday morning that Brian Billick will return as head coach in 2006.
Bruschi Leaves Game With Leg Injury
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was helped off the field with a left leg injury late in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the Jets.
Brunell Day-To-Day With Sprained Knee
An MRI confirmed the original diagnosis: a mild sprain of the MCL in Mark Brunell's right knee, with no further damage.
Leftwich Wants To Return
For the first time since 1999, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the playoffs, but Jack Del Rio will need to decide whether to go with David Garrard or the injured Byron Leftwich.