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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor | ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha On Sean Taylor

Jeffri Chadiha wrote what I consider to be a classic article on this massive trajedy, the murder of Sean Taylor.

Birth of daughter gave new meaning to Taylor's life

By Jeffri Chadiha

There are many details to be sorted out in the shooting death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, but this much we do know: This was a man whose life appeared to be changing for the better.

That's the only thought that kept going through my mind after hearing Taylor had died early Tuesday morning, a day after being shot by an intruder in his South Florida home. This wasn't the same immature kid who spent his first two seasons baffling Redskins management with poor decision making. This was a young father, a hard-hitting defender fresh off a Pro Bowl season, a maturing 24-year-old who finally understood what it took to be a professional.

Now there certainly are plenty of people who will say that Taylor's death is about more than just football, and there is no question about that. But what can't be dismissed is that most of what we know about Sean Taylor relates to football. Taylor rarely talked to reporters and most of our insight into his life came from his on-field performance and off-field issues. It's apparent that the playing part was never much of a problem for him. The off-field stuff was another issue, especially during Taylor's first two seasons.

But the feeling from the Redskins was that Taylor had put the problems that plagued him early in his career behind him -- including the seven fines he'd received for late hits and other infractions, and the $25,000 fine he incurred for skipping a mandatory rookie symposium after the Redskins selected him fifth overall in the 2004 draft. He was no longer the same man who had been accused of brandishing a gun during a fight in 2005. In that case, Taylor accepted a plea agreement of two misdemeanors and received 18 months' probation.

Yet somehow, through all those issues, he had started the valuable process of growing up. The most obvious sign was the relationship he had with his 1-year-old daughter, Jackie.

"It's hard to expect a man to grow up overnight, but ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it," Redskins running back Clinton Portis told reporters. "He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child."

Teammates always claimed that Taylor had more common sense than he displayed early in his career. It's much easier to believe that when observing his behavior since Jackie was born in May 2006.

Not only had Taylor avoided trouble, but he had become even better on the field. A few weeks ago, Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams gushed about how Taylor had become the best safety in the league, a defender whose intimidating combination of size (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) and speed allowed him to excel in coverage and against the run. The more you listened to people talk about Taylor, the more you sensed he had turned an important corner in his life and his career.

But now we must reflect.

Taylor apparently had lost so much blood from an arterial wound in his leg that he wound up in a coma shortly after reaching Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. There had been some signs of hope -- Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato told the media Monday that doctors were encouraged by Taylor's ability to squeeze a physician's hand on request and show facial expressions. But Taylor's injuries were too severe. Now his family and friends and the Redskins are left wondering how to make sense of this tragedy.

Taylor's teammates clearly struggled to find the words to convey those feelings. On Monday, Portis talked about how it was impossible for a teammate and friend to turn back time and step in front of the bullet that pierced Taylor's leg. Safety Pierson Prioleau said Taylor was more than just a member of the Redskins; he was a father, a brother and a dear friend to many in that locker room. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said there's no easy way to deal with a tragedy like this. It's just too far outside the scope of what most people face.

In may take some time to sort out exactly what happened the day Taylor was shot. Even when we do find out, it may not make much sense. After all, Taylor had seen the value in growing up long before somebody broke into his home and shot him. He saw it in his daughter, in his growth as a player.

Hopefully, people will remember that about his character as they mourn him today.

Jeffri Chadiha is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Redskins Safety Sean Taylor Passes at 24 From Senseless Attack

There are some things you believe will not happen. As you may know, Washingon Redskins Safety Sean Taylor was in a hospital fighting for his life. But what you may not know is that he lost that battle , having simply not enough blood to continue.

In all of my years with the NFL family I can think of only one incident so painful and that's the murder of my cousin, Colts and Panthers Running Back Fred Lane.

My thoughts and prayers to all of the Redskins players and staff and the friends and family of Sean Taylor.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Priest Holmes ends short comeback, retires from NFL

By DOUG TUCKER, AP Sports Writer
November 21, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- What drove Priest Holmes out of the NFL is something most football players try to drive out of their thoughts.

They know it's a dangerous, violent endeavor that can leave them unable to walk. Holmes, after making one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history, decided that as much as he loves the game, it wasn't worth the risk of a paralysis.

So the former Pro Bowl running back retired on Wednesday, thanking the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL for all they had done.

"I had to look at the situation for what it is," he said, flanked by Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson on one side and his three young sons on the other.

He had been out of the game for 22 months after sustaining head and neck injuries in a game in 2005. Then he called Peterson in June and told him he wanted to try a comeback.
He made it, too, after working so hard he earned the admiration of everyone who was watching. He made two starts in place of injured Larry Johnson the past two weeks. But last Sunday during a game at Indianapolis, he began to feel certain symptoms that doctors had warned him to watch for.

He refused to be specific, but during an often rambling series of answers said paralysis had been a possibility if he kept playing.

"Much of that is, I guess you could say, in the past," he said. "Just to know the symptoms were similar to the ones before. But to be technical, to go into medical terms, I wouldn't feel comfortable."

His teammates seemed unanimous in their respect for the man who holds team career records for yards rushing.

"It's probably the best decision that he could make for himself, for the rest of his life and for his family," said wide receiver Eddie Kennison.

"I try not to think about the dangers of the game. I understand what they are. I know they're there. And no man really wants to go out of the game with an injury. But we chose this job to take those risks. That's just part of it."

Tight end Tony Gonzalez had teamed with Holmes a few years ago when they were part of one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.

"I told him my thoughts are with him and what an unbelievable career he's had," Gonzalez said. "But you've got to be smart about this thing. Football is not the end-all, be-all. There's definitely life after football. Priest is a guy who's prepared himself for it."

Although he's down to third-team running back Kolby Smith with Johnson out again this week, Herm Edwards felt like thanking Holmes when the running back told him he was calling it quits.
"I thanked him for what he's done for this football team," Edwards said. "He's done something most players would not even attempt to do. He didn't have to do this. He came back knowing that first of all, he had to make the team. What he went through for three months trying to come back, that set a precedent for a lot of young players, to witness a guy like this who had accomplished everything he had accomplished in his career."

Peterson said Holmes had an agreement with the club that he would alert the Chiefs the moment he felt any danger of recurring injury to the head or neck.

"That was our agreement," he said, "that if that ever happens, to whatever degree, we needed to know about it. And he adhered to that and was great about it."

Holmes is the Chiefs' all-time rushing leader with 6,070 yards. He accumulated 8,172 yards rushing in 11 seasons with Baltimore and Kansas City.

"I have truly been blessed with the opportunity to play in the National Football League," he said. "I will be forever grateful to the Hunt family and the Chiefs organization for the opportunity to come to Kansas City, where the community embraced me from Day 1."

Holmes was the 2002 Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,615 yards in just 14 games in 2002. In one season, he set a then-NFL record with 27 touchdowns. The mark has since been broken twice.

After taking himself out of the game last Sunday against the Colts in the third quarter, Holmes went back in for a few plays.

"As much as we try to do everything we could to prepare me, there's just one thing that seems like we couldn't technically prepare for," Holmes said.

"Now that we've seen that, now that I've had some symptoms, there's nothing really the helmet can do to provide that protection and to allow me to do my job effectively. And we all know this is a business of performance."

Regrets? Not a single one, he said.

"There's nothing I'll look back and say, `Maybe there's something I could have done different.' There's no other shoes I'd like to fill and I'm pretty sure there's no one who would like to fill my shoes."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vick Sells Virginia House At Big Loss

Report courtesy of www.wsbtv.com in Atlanta, Georgia.

SURRY, Va. -- Michael Vick has sold the Virginia house that was the headquarters of his dog fighting operation.

The Daily Press reported Friday that Todd Builders Inc. of Carrollton, Va. bought the house for $450,000.

The new owner plans to put the house up for auction on December 15.

The $450,000 price was below the home's assessed $747,000 value.

But that doesn't take into account the property's notoriety, said Kyle Hause Jr., the real estate agent who handled the sale.

"Only one person can own the most famous house in America today," Hause said. "You can ask people from coast to coast which house has the most notoriety in the country today, and it's this house."

The house at 1915 Moonlight Rd. was the home of Vick's Bad Newz kennels.

Dog fights were held at the property. Authorities found dog fighting equipment and 66 dogs when they raided the house back in April.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Raiders Daute Culpepper Misses Wide Open Wide Receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (15) At End OF Vikings Game

You know, I've always believed that teams have their quarterback's just throw up the ball and hope someone comes down with it on their side at the end of a tight game. But I think it's become habit and so much so that quarterbacks miss wide open receivers on the way to the end zone.

The Oakland Raiders Daute Culpepper missed a wide open Wide Receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (15) while dropping back to throw the hail mary pass.

I just watched a replay of the final play and the obvious was in full view: #15 was 10 yards in front of the next closest Vikings defender. He makes a catch; Raiders win.

But Dante never saw him.

Just another small reason the Raiders have two wins this year.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dilfer to start at QB vs. Rams

Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After Alex Smith and 49ers coach Mike Nolan reached a temporary peace in their spat about the quarterback's injured arm, Trent Dilfer capped his first day as San Francisco's new starter by getting in a fight with a rookie defensive back in practice.

The 49ers might be losing every week, but at least they're getting interesting.

Dilfer will start for the 49ers (2-7) on Sunday in place of Smith, who aired one of his team's many problems in public this week by finally acknowledging a serious arm injury has been affecting his play during San Francisco's seven-game losing streak.

Dilfer, the 14-year veteran who struggled through three straight losses while filling in for Smith earlier in the year, reclaimed the starting job Thursday for at least one week, though Smith's injury could sideline him for the season.

Dilfer then went after cornerback Tarell Brown in Thursday's practice after an apparent exchange of trash talk. Teammates had to separate the 35-year-old Super Bowl winner from the 22-year-old rookie from Texas -- and given the way this week is going, Nolan wasn't even surprised.

"When things are important to people, they show their emotions in a lot of ways," Nolan said. "Out here on the football field, you can show your emotions in a lot of ways. The only thing I'm worried about it somebody getting hurt. Other than that, they can punch each other all they want."

In that case, a few haymakers might do the pent-up Niners a world of good.

A day after Smith and Nolan traded veiled criticisms, they were more harmonious Thursday. Smith and Nolan had a lengthy meeting Wednesday following the quarterback's public disclosure that his recently separated right shoulder led to a forearm injury that prevents him from throwing well. Smith and Nolan previously denied Smith's arm injury was causing his poor play.

"Alex has got good toughness," Nolan said. "I've never questioned that about him. In the long term, Alex is part of the solution here. ... Any time you're injured, it does something to you, but the communication needs to be better than it has been."

The 49ers still aren't certain whether Smith's injuries will keep him out for the season, though Smith has entertained the possibility. So with newly revealed fractures in a locker room that usually seems united under Nolan's leadership, the 49ers will turn to Dilfer as they attempt to stop their skid Sunday at home against the St. Louis Rams (1-8).
"There's no time for me to be sympathetic [toward Smith]," said Dilfer, who has a close relationship with the former No. 1 draft pick. "My job is to go out and play the best football I can play. ... My relationship with Alex won't change, but I don't have time for that drama or any other type of drama."

Dilfer got his first snaps since 2005 after Smith was injured on the third play of San Francisco's loss to Seattle on Sept. 30. Dilfer went 47-of-90 for 463 yards with three touchdown passes and five interceptions for the 49ers.

Though Smith's 57.2 passer rating is the worst among all quarterbacks with enough snaps to qualify, it's still higher than Dilfer's 55.0. Those struggling quarterbacks are just two reasons San Francisco's offense is last in the league in several categories.

"I have some major things I need to improve on from the last time I played, so it's time for me to do that," Dilfer said.

Smith, who sat out practice for the second straight day, acknowledged a bit of regret for airing his communication problems with Nolan in public before discussing them fully with the head coach.

"This is like a family, it's so tight," Smith said. "Mike and I have been close ever since I was drafted. You're going to have disagreements. It's going to happen in any family. It's working through this. Could I have done anything differently? Yeah, maybe. He said I need to communicate better, and I need to."

Smith will be in uniform Sunday, but Nolan hasn't decided whether Smith or third-stringer Shaun Hill will be the backup QB. Before Dilfer threw down with Brown, Hill hit his finger on a teammate's helmet Thursday -- so receiver Arnaz Battle, a former quarterback at Notre Dame, took the last few practice snaps for the scout team.

Smith said he might travel to Alabama to meet with Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist who has reviewed the results of his recent MRIs, but doesn't have any current plans to do so. Smith realizes he could be done for the season.

"It will have to do with what the doctors think is best for the long term," Smith said. "I think the point is to come back when you're functional."

Ricky Williams to rejoin Dolphins

By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
November 15, 2007

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Ricky Williams stood at a window in the Miami Dolphins' player lounge and watched the start of practice as he chomped on an apple, so close to an NFL return he could taste it.

Coach Cam Cameron decided Thursday to welcome Williams back, and he'll be on the field starting with Monday's workout. His first game in nearly two years could come a week later, Nov. 26 at Pittsburgh.

"He'll be a member of this team," Cameron said. "He's a Miami Dolphin."


Williams has tested positive for marijuana at least four times since the Dolphins acquired him in 2002. Miami's franchise-record playoff drought began that same year.
But it's difficult to imagine how Williams could sabotage a team that's 0-9, and so the long, strange trip continues. Cameron said his players favored Williams' return from a 1 1/2 -year suspension, and the 2002 NFL rushing champion embraced yet another fresh start.

"I'm at a place now where it's easier for me to appreciate being a football player," he said. "I hated being a football player before."

As part of the NFL drug program, Williams underwent therapy for the past 5 1/2 months in Boston. He declined to discuss the treatment, but said he was confident drug testing won't derail his latest comeback.

"If I wasn't confident, I wouldn't have even tried," he said. "I wouldn't have made the effort."

Cameron said his faith in the treatment program and in commissioner Roger Goodell was a factor in allowing Williams to return.

"I have a lot of respect for the commissioner and how he has handled a lot of situations in this offseason, and this situation in particular," Cameron said. "I know how thorough everything was done as it relates to Ricky. For him to be reinstated by our commissioner, knowing what he stands for, that impacted me tremendously."

When Williams' most recent suspension was lifted, he quickly flew to South Florida and met Thursday morning with Cameron.

"The meeting was positive," Cameron said.

For months, Miami's first-year coach had been mum regarding whether he would want Williams. In May, when discussing Williams' latest relapse, the coach said it's difficult to salvage the careers of troubled players.

He conceded an 0-9 record altered his perspective.

"Circumstances have changed," Cameron said. "However, you still rely on the leadership of your locker room and quality professionals like we have, and you get their input, and that was the major part of the decision."

Those endorsements of the decision were as quirky as Williams.

"I don't know if I had a daughter if I'd want her to date him," linebacker Channing Crowder said, "but as a football player, as a teammate, I love him."

Added linebacker Zach Thomas: "He won't be a cancer in the locker room. He has always had a good work ethic. He's always been a good person and a good teammate. Everybody deserves a second and third chance."

And fourth and fifth, apparently, at least in this case.

Other teams were buzzing about Williams, too. Fellow University of Texas alum Cedric Benson, a third-year pro with the Chicago Bears, described Williams' comeback as "awesome."

"We've got this thing that when he gets in the league we're going to compete to see who's the better running back," Benson said. "We always wanted to see who's the better running back."

Ricky's return created a familiar circus-like atmosphere at the Dolphins' complex. Photographers and cameramen began a stakeout across the street at 7 a.m. and awaited the arrival of the elusive running back. He showed up around 11, riding in a team van.

Cameron's daily news conference was almost all about Williams, with not a single reference to rookie quarterback John Beck, who'll make his NFL debut Sunday at Philadelphia.

Williams followed Cameron to the microphones and wrestled with the first question.

"My motivation for coming back to the NFL? Could we start with an easier question?" he said with a chuckle.

"My motivation is to get my life going again. Being out of football in the situation I was in makes it difficult, you know? I want to create a better life for myself and for my family, and being a football player, for me, is a big part of that."

Williams, who has played in only 12 games since retiring in the summer of 2004, said he has been working out for about six weeks and is in "pretty good shape." He offered no prediction regarding when he might play, and offered no pledge that his latest chapter with the Dolphins would end on a high note.

"I'm not necessarily looking for it to end on a high note," he said. "It's just going to help me get to where I want to be. I want to get on with my life. I want to go back to school and pursue a profession outside of football. Playing football is the best way for me to get there."

The Dolphins were thinking more in terms of Williams getting them to the end zone. Maybe that will happen, too.

AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.

Titans cornerback 'Pacman' Jones gets plea deal in Las Vegas strip club triple shooting

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press Writer
November 15, 2007

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A judge accepted a plea deal Thursday reducing felony charges against suspended NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones to a gross misdemeanor that will get him probation in return for his testimony about a strip club triple shooting.

The Tennessee Titans cornerback did not appear before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo, who accepted the written agreement and waived Jones' preliminary hearing on two felony coercion charges.

Abbatangelo scheduled Jones to plead no contest Dec. 5 in state court to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct.

Jones will be sentenced later to one year of probation, Clark County prosecutor Victoria Villegas said after a brief hearing. Two charges of coercion, a felony carrying a possible sentence of one to six years in prison, will be dropped.

"The goal is to find the shooter," Villegas said.Las Vegas police have not linked Jones to the Feb. 19 gunfire that left three people wounded outside the Minxx Gentlemen's Club at the end of NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. No one has been charged in that case.

But police called the 24-year-old Jones "an inciter" of a melee that broke out after he showered dancers inside the strip club with dollar bills pulled from a black plastic trash bag -- a stunt known as "making it rain."

Witnesses told police that Jones and members of his entourage threatened people while they were being ejected, and that Jones spoke outside the club with a man who was suspected of opening fire minutes later.

Defense attorney Robert Langford declined to say if Jones knew the identity of the gunman. He cited the ongoing police investigation.

Las Vegas police Lt. George Castro declined to say what information police believe Jones can provide.

Under the Las Vegas plea deal, Jones will received a suspended one-year jail sentence. He also must attend an anger management program, complete 200 hours of community service within a year and submit to random drug testing.

Langford said the probation and community service requirements might be fulfilled near Jones' home in Tennessee. Jones already is subject to the NFL's drug testing program.

The three people who were wounded -- club employee Tommy Urbanski, co-worker and bouncer Aaron Cudworth and club patron Natalie Jones -- have each have filed civil lawsuits seeking damages from Jones.

The lawsuit by Urbanski, who was paralyzed from the waist down, also seeks damages from the NFL, the Titans and the owners of Harlem Knights, a Houston strip club that hosted events at the Minxx club.
Urbanski's wife, Kathy, expressed anger this week about Jones' plea deal and said she wants the shooter identified and charged. She declined comment Thursday.

Two co-defendants in the case also are taking plea deals, said Langford, who represents all three.

Jones' bodyguard, Robert "Big Rob" Reid, 37, of Carson, Calif., is scheduled to plead no contest Dec. 5 to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and receive one year probation. Reid faced one felony coercion charge.

Sadia Morrison, 25, of New York, will plead no contest to a felony battery charge in return for dropping other felony charges. Morrison faced five charges, including coercion, felony assault with a deadly weapon and battery. She is expected to receive up to three years' probation, and her conviction would be reduced to a gross misdemeanor if she stays out of trouble, Langford said.

Jones' Atlanta-based attorney, Manny Arora, has said he believed Jones could beat the coercion charge, but a trial might hurt Jones' chances for reinstatement to the NFL. Arora did not immediately respond Thursday to messages seeking comment.

Jones has been arrested six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2005 from West Virginia, and has other criminal cases pending. A felony count of obstruction in Georgia from a February 2006 arrest has been postponed, and August 2006 public intoxication and disorderly charges in Tennessee were delayed pending the outcome of the Las Vegas case.

Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones for the 2007 season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL Players Association is asking Goodell to reconsider.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Colts sign DE Rice as Freeney could miss 4 games

November 13, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts have claimed defensive end Simeon Rice off waivers, expecting him to fill in for injured Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney.

The announcement was made by team president Bill Polian on his weekly radio show Monday night and later posted on the team's Web site.
Rice, released by Denver on Friday, played one season for Colts coach Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. He has 121 career sacks, second among active players to Michael Strahan of the New York Giants.

The Colts (7-2) are uncertain how much time Freeney will miss. Dungy said earlier Monday he had not yet met with the doctors and he did not anticipate it to be season-ending.

But Polian said Freeney could miss four or more games because of a left foot injury that caused him to be carted into the locker room during Sunday night's 23-21 loss at San Diego. The Colts have not yet released details of the injury.

"We anticipate that Dwight will miss some significant amount of time," Polian said.

The Colts signed Freeney in July to a six-year deal, paying an average of $12 million. He has 32 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks on the season.

The 33-year-old Rice was deactivated for two games in October and has six tackles and five assists on the season. He signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Broncos on Sept. 3.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Houston Texans Offensive Lineman Fred Weary Sues Houston - Racial Profiling - ESPN & AP

Weary sues city of Houston, two officers over Taser arrest

ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans offensive lineman Fred Weary is suing the city and two police officers for a November 2006 arrest in which he was shot with a Taser gun during a traffic stop.

In his lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, Weary is accusing the city and the officers of excessive force, assault, racial profiling, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

"I have to put closure on this situation and this is my first step to closure," Weary told KRIV-TV in Houston. "It's really taken a toll on my life and my family. I didn't know last year that it would affect me the way it has. It's my right that I need to do something about it.

"I feel my rights have been violated that day last year," Weary told KRIV-TV. "I have had to deal with that for this whole entire year. I've thought about it a lot. It's been on my mind constantly."

The two officers said they stopped Weary because he didn't have a front license plate and was driving "suspiciously."

According to the police report, the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Weary became angry and uncooperative after being stopped in an area near Reliant Stadium, where authorities were on alert because of criminal activity. Weary was coming from a team practice when he was stopped.

Police said Weary was shot with a Taser after he pushed one of the officers away and then tried to come toward them after being told to put his hands on his vehicle.

A misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was later dismissed because of insufficient evidence.

Weary's attorney, Joe Walker, told KRIV that his client's lawsuit doesn't specify a dollar amount.

"I will leave that to the sound discretion of the jury," Walker told KRIV.

The officers "clearly used race as a factor for reasonable suspicion and making a traffic stop of Mr. Weary," Walker said.

Walker said Tuesday that Weary would not have filed the lawsuit if he had received letters of apology from Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt.

He had also asked for monetary compensation, which would have been donated to a police charity, and that the city review its policies regarding racial profiling and the use of Tasers.

"He never got his letter of apology or a concrete review of tasering," Walker said. "He asked for a copy of [taser] policies and they sent him a policy that was completely blacked out, censored."

Walker said the city's policy on Taser use needs to be re-examined because some reviews done by local media and advocacy groups show that in more than 350 of the first 900 police Taser incidents, no person was charged.

Weary's taser incident renewed controversy over the stun guns' use, prompting White to call for a study of how officers have used the devices. The study, being conducted by the University of Houston Center for Public Policy, is set to be done by January.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Monday, November 12, 2007

COMMISSIONER GOODELL Q&A - NFL Fall Meeting - Philadelphia, PA, 2007

NFL Fall Meeting
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – October 23, 2007

Roger Goodell: We had a very productive day. We had a long day of meetings, but let me give you the highlights of some of the things we talked about and then I’ll take your questions and answer anything you have outside of this. We began the day with a report on the game. We always do that with a focus on the game and the key factors we look at with respect to the game; points scored, length of the game, pace of the game, and number of penalties. All of that was very positive.

We did a report, within the context of that, on the draft and the changes to the NFL Draft for next year, which I believe you have a release on. We also did a report on the Pro Bowl and some of the changes we’ve been contemplating to try to bring back some excitement to that game. Then we had a very long discussion on the NFL Network. We have the chairman of the NFL Network, Jerry Jones, here who will be happy to answer any questions also. The importance of this to us is as a strategic asset and our future plans with respect to media.

We also had some important votes on the NFL.com business model. It is an important step for us to make our site and all 32 sites, the clubs and our league site, better for our fans and we made some very big steps in that regard today.

We had some discussion on the Buffalo-Toronto proposal. Ralph Wilson addressed the ownership. We had a report on it. We did not take a vote on that, but we will have further discussion.

Then we had a vote on lowering the debt ceiling. All of you are aware of the current market conditions and the credit markets. We as a league like to make sure we are making prudent decisions about our business structure and what we are doing to respond to those credit markets. We have agreed to reduce the debt ceiling by $30 million per club over the next three years. I think that hits the key points and I’ll be happy to take your questions.

Q: Length of Ralph Wilson’s proposal:

RG: It is a five-year proposal. One regular season game and I believe three preseason games.

Q: Any objections?

RG: No. There were a number of issues that we raised for the membership that we would like to address. This is still relatively fresh for all of us so we as a league have a responsibility to look into a number of issues. It was made clear by Mr. Wilson and by the Bills’ people that the county and the state had passed their agreement that they could go forward on this. We don’t have agreement that I know of with respect to the parties in Toronto so we want to see all that and look at all of those issues.

Q: Speaking with Mark Cohon, CFL Commissioner about the proposal…

RG: I did. I believe it was last Friday. I assured him that we continue to have a great interest in the CFL and their continued viability. That is one of the issues that was raised today with respect to this. We would certainly want to understand the impact and have greater discussions with the CFL and the promoters of the games in Toronto to make sure that we do it in a way that is responsive and continues to promote CFL football because we think that has a great heritage. We have been very active in continuing to support that.

Q: Belichick and spying incident…

RG: I do a normal report to the membership which takes 15 minutes or so and then we start focusing on the game with our Competition Committee, but in the context of that we spoke about the integrity of the game and how important it is that all of our fans understand that our game is being played by the same rules. We continue to make sure that all of our clubs and the league are doing everything possible to make sure that our games are played within the rules that we’ve established and that our fans have that confidence. I think that they do and I just reassured them that if they have issues with respect to things that are happening in our game that they contact us so that we can pursue them.

Q: Reaction to charges that this incident is being swept under the rug…

RG: First, we were the ones who brought it out so if we’re sweeping it under the rug…we’re the ones who raised it. I don’t agree with that assessment. I think we dealt with it forcefully, aggressively, and effectively. The thing that you want in discipline is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and the other clubs understand that there are very significant consequences if policies are violated. I think that message was sent. We also want to send that message to our fans so they understand that all teams are playing by the same rules. The inference that you make in regards to us destroying the tapes, that was our intention from the get-go. There was no purpose for those. We said that we wanted those materials destroyed because we didn’t want anyone to have that material or the notes that could’ve come out from that. We went ahead and did that as we expected to do. Everything that we found was consistent with what we thought.

Q: Shortening on the draft and discussions about moving it to Friday night…

RG: We’ve talked about that. We at this point don’t think that it’s the right move. We think that Saturday is still the better time for us. I don’t anticipate that in the short term but we have evaluated that.

Q: Situation with San Diego…

RG: When I get through here I am going to meet with Dean Spanos and the team people. I haven’t gotten an update because I’ve been in a meeting all day but I understand that there are thousands of people at Qualcomm Stadium and of course public safety is our number one concern. We certainly don’t want to interfere with anything in that area. Of course we also have to work with the local officials to tell us whether the facility is going to be available. In the meantime I think you’re aware that the team is on its way or about to go out to Arizona. They will be working out in that facility for the week. We’ll have to make a decision on the game as soon as we have more information.

Q: Pro Bowl…

RG: The big issue is how we can bring more focus to the Pro Bowl, to our star players, and to the event itself. We have discussed everything, including moving the time of the game to prior to the Super Bowl so that it is in advance and part of the buildup of the Super Bowl. We have also talked about whether we would alter the location on some kind of rotating basis to some site here in the United States, particularly around the Super Bowl or in the Super Bowl site. Hawaii would probably be part of that rotation in some fashion but I would expect some decisions would be made. This isn’t for this year’s Pro Bowl; this is for 14 or 15 months from now.

Q: Debt ceiling…

RG: It was very simple. One of the reasons that the NFL is one of the most admired businesses and sports leagues is because we manage our business properly. When you look at the amount of debt that is out there and where the markets are it is just a prudent business decision.

Any discussion today on the disability issue?

RG: No. We’re doing that first thing in the morning, Paul.

Q: Vote on funding…

RG: There very likely will. There is a resolution on the floor. I would expect a vote, yes.

Q: What the proposal calls for…

RG: The proposal is essentially a one-time funding to allow us to put some additional funds into the alliance that we’ve created so that there is sufficient funding and that we’d be able to handle issues in an ongoing manner. It is not pension related. It is for medical needs for people that have a specific need that we can take care of.

Q: Joint replacement?

RG: Joint replacement is one of those programs. Also cardiovascular screening and possibly assisted living.

Q: Future of games internationally…

RG: A year ago is when we passed the resolution allowing the regular season series. As you know we are playing in London this week and every indication is that we’re going to have a tremendously successful event. I think it is a logical step for us. Next year would be to add a second market. We’re going step-by-step but the reaction that we’re getting is extraordinary.

Q: Advantages of Bills playing in Toronto…

RG: The key point that was made by Ralph Wilson, and I share this, is that this is to make the team viable in the Buffalo market. It is an extension of the regionalization that they started 10 years ago that I actually had some involvement with, so I understand what they are trying to accomplish. That is to reach out to the broadest audience by regionalizing and the southern Ontario, Toronto area is an important market to them. They are selling more and more tickets there and I think this is an important opportunity to bring more fans to Buffalo from the southern Ontario area.

Q: Just to confirm, is it one preseason and one regular season game every year for five years?

RG: No. It is one regular season game for the next five years and three preseason games starting next year and the third and fifth year.

Q: Regular season games would start next year also?

RG: I believe so, yes.

Q: Alternatives for Chargers game…

RG: I’d be able to give you better information on that in about a half-hour from now. Our staff is working on that. They go everywhere from San Diego to Los Angeles to Texas to Arizona, and in between.

Q: Is scheduling more attractive games one of the options for the NFL Network, i.e. Patriots vs. Colts, in order to have more leverage over cable companies…

RG: First, we believe as it relates to the cable operators that we have a very compelling product outside of our games. We think that the production quality and content that we have on the NFL Network on a year-round basis is in great demand and the consumers want it. That is the issue that we are having with our cable operators. They are trying to restrict the distribution of that to a point that we’re not comfortable. We think that it should be available to a broader audience and that is really the fundamental aspect of our broadcast policy. As it relates to the games, we have a very attractive series of games this year. We are fortunate to have the Cowboys on twice; we have Cowboys and Packers on the second game of the year. We think all of our games are attractive but we have some great matchups that fell in place for us when we set our schedule last April.

Q: How much leverage do these attractive matchups give you right now with the cable companies?

RG: The bottom line is that consumers are the ones who should win here. The consumers should get the product and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to make sure that our consumers understand that we have a great product, we have some great games that are going to be on, and some of them won’t get to see it because the cable operators are not distributing it. We have one cable operator that happens to be close to here which has taken us from nine million homes to one million homes. That is a significant difference. They have the right to put is in nine million homes. It is not a matter of negotiation. It is just a decision that they made.

Q: Ongoing talks…

RG: There are very little talks that are going on with Comcast right now. We’ve had some discussions with Time Warner recently but right now we don’t see that this is going to get resolved and that is a concern for us. Let me have Jerry speak now.

Q: Assuming the Dallas-Green Bay was on FOX, how much of the country would see that?

RG: There are really only two games that go on a national basis -- NBC’s game on Sunday night and ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Most of our games on Sunday afternoon are regionalized, so if it had been a Sunday afternoon game it would be regionalized like the rest of our Sunday afternoon package and go to a smaller percentage of the country.

We have some games that to go six or seven percent of the country, and that’s one of the reasons why we think the NFL Network is so valuable here. This gives us a chance to bring more football to more fans 365 days a year.

This takes a game that might have gone to 10 or 12 percent of the country to a broader audience now, if it’s fully distributed. That’s our issue.

Q: What is the current number of subscribers, and what could it be if you got the cable companies to go your route?

RG: It’s a tough question to answer. The first part of your question is 35 million. The tough part to answer is it would depend on what you negotiate in terms of distribution levels with those cable operators. They all have different amounts of homes. Comcast, for example, is nine million homes. They were at eight million last year, and their digital package penetration has gone up one million, so the network would have been available in nine million homes this year. People who got that last year don’t have that now. The only way to get that back is to spend $5 to $10 per month for a sports tier.

Q: Any ongoing conversations with Comcast?

RG: We discontinued discussions with them back in August because we weren’t getting anywhere. It was clear they were telling consumers that we were in negotiations, and we weren’t. We were disappointed in the fact that they tiered us, that they took this away from consumers, and now they’re charging consumers more money to get it back again. We thought that was inappropriate.

Q: Same with Time Warner and Cablevision?

RG: From time to time, there are discussions that go on, but I would say that right now we’re not optimistic a deal is going to get done.

Q: When NFLN was first created, did you have an estimate of how many homes you’d be in by this point?

RG: Yes, we’re slightly below that. We were hoping we’d be closer to 50 million homes right now.

Q: Aside from DirecTV, what are the other options you can suggest to fans in an area like Philadelphia, which is monopolized by Comcast?

RG: Telephone companies are now getting in the business of video distribution. Verizon, AT&T – they are now building up these services, which carry the NFL Network.

Last game of the season on NFLN, if the Patriots enter that game 15-0, who would fans be angriest at? The NFL or the cable companies?

RG: I think the reality is they’d probably be angry at all of us. Comcast is a perfect example of that. Last year, eight million people would have been able to see that game. They’re not going to get to see that game this year unless they pay Comcast $8 a month for the next 12 months. We think that’s wrong, and that’s why we’re taking the position we’re taking. We are not going to take our distribution down. We know our fans want to see us. The last time I looked, 95 of the top 100 cable shows in history are NFL games. We know we are the most popular programming on cable television. That’s been proven by the facts.

# # #

Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28- Steelers Continue to Role Against Divisional Foe

The Browns lead for the majority of the game, but their inexperience glowed towards the end of the game.

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
November 11, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Cleveland Browns appear to be closing the gap between themselves and the rival Steelers.

They're not there yet, though, not with Ben Roethlisberger able to beat teams two different ways in the same week.

Roethlisberger scrambled 30 yards for a key touchdown during Pittsburgh's second-half comeback, then set up his own go-ahead 2-yard TD pass to Heath Miller with an important third-down run as the Steelers rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Cleveland 31-28 Sunday.

Roethlisberger's big second half, with two TD passes and some important scrambles, overcame Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson's huge first half and two long Joshua Cribbs kickoff returns.

Pittsburgh (7-2) beat Cleveland (5-4) for the ninth consecutive time. Barely. Phil Dawson could have tied it, but was short on a 52-yard field goal attempt with 6 seconds remaining.

elying on Roethlisberger's ability to shrug off blitzes and gain yards on plays that appeared to have broken down, plus his two TD passes, the Steelers took a big step toward making the playoffs after going 8-8 last season. Only six days before, Roethlisberger's five touchdown passes led the Steelers to a 38-7 Monday night rout of Baltimore.

"All I ever hear is about (Tom) Brady and Peyton (Manning), but this guy we have here is very special," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He makes plays those guys don't make and that's what makes him so special. He can get out of the pocket, he can create, he's a beast and we're glad he wears black and gold."

Cleveland led 21-6 in the first half as Cribbs' 90-yard kickoff return led to one of Anderson's three touchdown passes. But with the Browns offense managing only a single first down and no points in the second half, Roethlisberger's TD scramble put the Steelers up for the first time at 24-21 early in the fourth quarter.

"I was ready to slide ... but Hines (Ward) was downfield blocking and when I get that close to the end zone, I'm trying to get it," Roethlisberger said.

Still, the Browns were in position to beat Pittsburgh for only the second time in their last 16 games after Cribbs' improbable 100-yard kickoff return touchdown with about 11 minutes remaining. Cribbs fumbled the ball near the goal line and was forced to take off down the Steelers sideline out of desperation.

"We had him stacked up -- it was a fluke and it just happened," the Steelers' Larry Foote said. "It definitely tested our character."

A fluke? Cribbs finished with more yards on kickoff returns (204) than the Browns offense had total yards (163).

"It was a couple of inches from going into the end zone and I had to make a decision and live with it," Cribbs said of his 100-yarder.

With the Steelers down 28-24, Roethlisberger (23-of-34, 278 yards) calmly led the decisive 78-yard scoring drive that lasted 8 minutes and featured All-Pro guard Alan Faneca challenging his teammates in the huddle to win it.

Roethlisberger kept the drive going with a 20-yard completion to Miller on third-and-18 and his own 10-yard run to the 2 on third-and-9 before Miller made a one-handed catch for the go-ahead score.

"Their whole philosophy was don't give up the big play, see if Ben could read defenses and take what the defense gave them," said Ward, who had a 12-yard TD catch. "Ben did a tremendous job of it."

The Steelers, playing six days after their 38-7 Monday night rout of Baltimore, quickly fell into a bad habit: trading field goals for touchdowns.

They settled for three Jeff Reed field goals in the first half and fell behind 21-9 as Anderson threw TD passes of 4 yards to Kellen Winslow, 2 to Lawrence Vickers after Cribbs' 90-yard kickoff return and 16 yards to Braylon Edwards.


LB James Harrison, who had two forced fumbles on defense and another on special teams Monday, had two more forced fumbles. ... The Steelers are 4-0 in the division and 5-0 at home. ... Willie Parker, who ran for a club record 223 yards against Cleveland last season, had 105 yards on 25 carries, the seventh running back to gain more than 100 against the Browns. ... Roethlisberger has 22 touchdown passes, four more than his previous career high, with seven games to play.

Green Bay Packers Beat Minnesota Vikings - Surprising Performance

I must admit how surprised I am that the Mike McCarthy-led Green Bay Packers are doing so well. I'll have to review the growth of the Packers coach.

Running the show

Balance roughs up, blanks border foe


Posted: Nov. 11, 2007

Green Bay - Eleven years ago, when the Green Bay Packers were kicking butt and taking names en route to Super Bowl glory, they spanked the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, 38-10, in a display of dominating football at Lambeau Field that still can be remembered vividly for its utter ferocity.

Ever since then, the Vikings always showed up at Lambeau in a foul mood, often played over their heads and generally raised holy hell against anyone wearing dark green and gold.

On Sunday, another Green Bay-Minnesota game was played in the National Football League's smallest city, where the home team once again has realistic Super Bowl aspirations. And this time, with eerie parallels to the game in 1996, the Packers buried the Vikings, 34-0.

As NFC contenders Detroit, the New York Giants and Washington were falling, the Packers responded with easily their finest performance of the season. For the first time, there's breathing space between Green Bay and Dallas, both 8-1, and the rest of the NFC, where just six teams have winning records.

One of the vanquished Vikings, safety Darren Sharper, wasn't around for the championship in 1996 but was the dime back on the Packers' runner-up team in '97. The Packers and Cowboys meet Nov. 29 in Dallas, and Sharper is picking Green Bay.

"Dallas is a beatable team," said Sharper, a Packer until 2004. "We showed that. If they can slow down Marion Barber . . . man, that guy can play.

"If they (the Packers) get home field, I could see it happening. It all comes down to home field. They're going to be tough to stop. When it gets cold, you've got to give them games here as a lock. I could definitely see them 14-2."

His fellow safety, Dwight Smith, started for Tampa Bay in its Super Bowl title drive five years ago.

"The Packers looked like one (Super Bowl team) today because they were able to run the football," Smith said. "That was their Achilles' heel. That's the thing I thought was hindering them from being one of the best teams."

Smith also gives Green Bay the edge over Dallas, which was at home Oct. 21 in a 24-14 victory over Minnesota.

"I don't like Dallas' corners," Smith said. "Their D-line is good but I don't know if it's better than Green Bay's. Green Bay has rush ends, cover corners and linebackers who can run. That's all we had in Tampa."

Masterful coaching. Razor-sharp execution. Superior athleticism. Keener emotion.

The Packers had it all Sunday, extending their winning streak in the series to four games for the first time since 1987 and '88. Unlike predecessors Dennis Green and Mike Tice, Vikings coach Brad Childress can't even get his players up for this bitter border rivalry.

"It was Football 101," Childress said. "The tempo was set in the first half. We were not ready to play, and that is my fault."

What probably hurt the Vikings (3-6) more than anything was the shattering of their supposedly impregnable run defense. Operating behind an offensive line that had been upbraided all last week by Mike McCarthy and his staff, Ryan Grant pounded for 119 yards in 25 carries that drained the life from Minnesota defenders.

"I thought the guard play was very good today," McCarthy said. "The core of our running game is a stretch-and-cut mentality. Offensively, we wanted to establish our run game."

Yet, unlike San Diego a week ago - which tried in vain running LaDainian Tomlinson into the A gaps and awaiting behemoths Pat Williams and Kevin Williams - McCarthy actually came out throwing. Then, when the Vikings were sufficiently softened, he unleashed Grant on wide stretch plays, tosses and draws away from the big boys.

Over the last season and a half, the Vikings had allowed 64.5 yards per game and 2.83 yards per rush. In five games against Minnesota since the arrival of the immovable Pat Williams, the Packers had rushed for infinitesimal averages of 41.0 and 1.92.

Green Bay's rushing output of 120 yards failed to compare to the 233 that Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens ripped the Vikings for in the '96 regular-season finale. But it still was the third-highest rushing total against Minnesota in the last 25 games; Dallas had 128 last month, including 96 by Barber.

"Generally, when one team runs that well on another, they are inflicting their will on the other team," Childress said. "I am not used to seeing the ball being run on our defense like that."

The beneficiary of rare offensive balance, Brett Favre annihilated a similar type of Cover-2 scheme that had unsettled him early in the season.

Favre smartly directed scoring drives of 82, 69, 75, 72, 69 and 96 yards, part of a 488-yard onslaught that took up 40 minutes 40 seconds.

Operating almost equally from underneath center and shotgun, Favre overcame some poor throws early and four dropped passes to forge a passer rating of 115.4. The Vikings sorely missed the injured Antoine Winfield, their best cover man.

"He's kind of been MVP," Sharper said, referring to Favre. "He's being more patient, playing a lot smarter, than he was before. He's just being methodical down the field.

"If they don't hurt themselves, they have a good enough defense where they'll be in every game. And they'll make a play eventually because (Greg) Jennings and (Donald) Driver are playmakers. He doesn't have to (force) because he's got playmakers on offense."

On defense, the Packers didn't have to deal with the full force of rookie sensation Adrian Peterson because the Vikings fell behind early and then Peterson went out with a sprained knee late in the third quarter. He finished with 45 yards in 11 carries.

Coordinator Bob Sanders brought safety Atari Bigby into the box on the first five plays before backing off and playing normal defense. His front four proved stout enough so that Sanders never had to compromise the integrity of his scheme by adding a fifth lineman or a ninth player to the box.

"We talked as a team," McCarthy said. "It was time to shut somebody out. Just an excellent effort by our whole defense."

Not only were the Vikings down to their third quarterback in Brooks Bollinger but their most dangerous receiver, Sidney Rice, had to sit out with a hamstring pull. By the time Bollinger was able to complete his first pass to a wide receiver, 2 minutes remained in the third quarter and it was 27-0.

The Vikings were so inept that two fourth-down completions by Bollinger to Robert Ferguson in the final 4 minutes came up short of the marker.

"They're playing with confidence," said Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, a Packer from 1997-2005. "The guys I still talk to, they love McCarthy. They really buy into his program.

"From the first time we played them (Sept. 30) until today, they definitely believe now that they should be 8-1. They're playing with confidence. They're playing really, really well."

San Francisco 49ers Takes On Seattle Seahawks Tonight - Without Nolan

The San Francisco 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks supposedly without Head Coach Mike Nolan, who lost his father, Dick Nolan, Sunday.

Wait. This just in - Nolan will coach this evening.

Dallas 31, NY Giants 20 - Tony Romo and T.O. - Terrell Owens Lead Win

T.O. Finally hits stride with Dallas Cowboys. Makes mark as elite receiver.

Dallas 31, NY Giants 20

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Once they stopped beating themselves with penalties, the Dallas Cowboys took command of the NFC East by riding their biggest stars: Tony Romo and Terrell Owens.

Romo hit Owens on two of his four touchdown passes and Dallas opened a big lead in the division by ending the Giants' six-game winning streak with a 31-20 victory on Sunday.

"If you want to call it swagger, yes we have the confidence that we know we can go out and beat teams," said Owens, who broke the game open with second-half TD catches of 25 and 50 yards. Owens finished with six catches for 125 yards, his third straight 100-yard game.

T.O. As Giant Killer

Terrell Owens continued his dominance Sunday of the New York Giants, picking up his 11th TD catch in nine career games and pushing his yards-per-game average to 97.9 against the team.

"Obviously today, we had more penalties than we would like and we have to eliminate those," T.O. added. "That was everybody's emotions running high. There was a little trash-talking by them. We came here. The game was played and I feel like we made a statement."

With the win, the Cowboys (8-1) opened a two-game lead over the Giants (6-3), a three-game edge on Washington (5-4) and a four-game margin on Philadelphia (4-5). Dallas also swept the season series with New York, so it has the tiebreaker should they finished tied.

"It's another step along the journey that we're trying to go through to get where we want to go," said Romo, who completed 20-of-28 for 247 yards. "A win like tonight just adds to your confidence. When you do something like this, you have a chance to do something special."

The last time the Cowboys started a season at 8-1 was 1995, the last time they won the Super Bowl.

With seven games left, the Cowboys also are tied with Green Bay for the best record in the conference. The two will play in Dallas on Nov. 29.

For the Giants, their best hopes for a playoff berth seemingly are a wild-card spot.

"It does put us behind the 8-ball," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "If you ever play pool, I've seen people make shots from behind that 8-ball. That's what we are looking at."

Romo also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tony Curtis in the first quarter and a 20-yarder to Patrick Crayton just before halftime, starting a string of three straight touchdown drives.

Nick Folk added a 44-yard field goal.

Eli Manning threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey, who tied his career high with 12 catches for 129 yards. Reuben Droughns scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes kicked field goals of 40 and 26 yards.

The second field goal came after New York had Brandon Jacobs' potential tying touchdown run early in the fourth quarter nullified by a questionable holding penalty on guard Chris Snee against Roy Williams.

"I didn't think I held him, but you have to go with the call," said Snee, who originally thought Dallas was being called for a penalty.

Until that point, the Cowboys were the ones hurting themselves with undisciplined errors. Four penalties in the first half gave New York 10 points and had Dallas heading to the locker room tied at 17.

The Cowboys were called for three penalties on the Giants' opening TD drive. The one everyone will remember was a taunting call against linebacker Kevin Burnett with the Cowboys ahead 17-14 in the waning seconds.

Jacobs had just been stuffed on a run from his 35 and Burnett yapped at him. The 15-yard walkoff moved the ball to the 50 with 12 seconds to go. Manning found Shockey for 29 yards to set up a 40-yard field goal by Tynes that tied the game.

"Once it's over, you have to learn from your mistakes," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "We couldn't harp on that. We just told them it was nothing-nothing. We've done it all year. The second half is ours."

The Cowboys' defense, which sacked Manning five times and intercepted him twice, stopped the Giants on the opening possession of the half and then Romo and company took over.

The go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass came on a play where T.O. ran past cornerback Sam Madison and was wide open. It capped a 12-play, 86-yard drive on which the Cowboys converted three 10-plus-yard situations, the last a 13-yard pass to Crayton on third-and-11 from the New York 38. Owens scored on the next play.

Owens ran by safety Gibril Wilson on the long pass.

"If he gets moving, he's tough to catch up to," Romo said. "I just tried to give him some air and let him go get it."

Romo's other touchdown passes were just as easy against an improved defense that gave up 45 points in Dallas in the opener.

His 15-yard pass to Curtis on the opening series came after he broke containment on a pass rush. Just before reaching the line of scrimmage, he saw a wide-open Curtis in the corner of the end zone.

Manning, who was 23-of-34 for 236 yards on a day he threw mostly short passes, tied the game with his TD pass to Shockey.

Folk's field goal gave Dallas a 10-7 lead before Wilson's interception set up a 60-yard drive Droughns capped with his run.

Crayton gave the Cowboys a 17-14 lead with 20 seconds to go with a 20-yard catch and run after breaking a tackle by cornerback Aaron Ross.

Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid Get Much-Needed Win v. Redskins

McNabb, Westbrook lead Eagles over Redskins - ESPN and AP

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid soothed the feelings of a season of turmoil with an extra-long embrace after the Philadelphia defense stopped the Washington Redskins for the last time.

"There was a lot of love there," McNabb said. "A lot of love."

McNabb had faced questions all week about his future in Philadelphia. Reid is dealing with personal problems and a possible second losing season in three years. The Eagles would have essentially been buried for the season had they lost Sunday, but a 20-point fourth quarter led by McNabb and Brian Westbrook produced a cloud-lifting 33-25 victory.

Divisional Doldrums

After going 5-1 in the NFC East in 2006, it took until Week 10 for the Eagles to earn their first divisional win this season.
Week 2 20-12 loss vs. Redskins
Week 4 16-3 loss at Giants
Week 9 38-17 loss vs. Cowboys
Week 10 33-25 win at Redskins

"Controversy just hasn't hit us in one week. It's been all through the year," McNabb said. "In situations like this, it's important to have that confidence in the next guy and trust in him, whatever the situation may be. ... It was a must-win situation."

The Eagles (4-5) have been alternating wins and losses since Week 2 and remained in last place in the NFC East, but they successfully recovered from last week's 21-point loss to Dallas and can pull into the wild-card race if they get on a roll.

"We're in the position now that we need to win every game," Westbrook said.

The Redskins (5-4) looked far from playoff-worthy as they committed 11 penalties, including crucial third-down miscues, and again suffered from questionable clock management and play-calling. Coach Joe Gibbs had no timeouts left in the final crucial minutes, and a conservative call on a late third-and-goal virtually guaranteed the Eagles would have a chance to win.

"I always take that to heart myself as a coach," Gibbs said. "Why that jumped out as us today, I don't know. I'll have to take a long, hard look at it."

McNabb battled a sore shoulder throughout the second half and had to keep throwing while on the sideline to keep it warm. Still, he completed 20 of 28 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Westbrook caught two touchdown passes and ran for another score, finishing with 20 carries for 100 yards and five receptions for 83 yards.

By far the highlight was Westbrook's go-ahead touchdown with 3:16 remaining. With the Eagles trailing by five and three rushers closing in, McNabb threw a screen pass to Westbrook over the middle. Lineman Shawn Andrews instantly leveled linebacker Rocky McIntosh, one of at least four huge blocks that allowed Westbrook to scamper for a 57-yard touchdown.

"I just tried to buy time," said McNabb, who broke Ron Jaworski's franchise record for career completions. "Once he caught it, I saw a lot of green. Hats off to our offensive linemen, getting down there, our receivers blocking, our tight ends blocking."

Westbrook's touchdown followed a play-it-safe move by Gibbs. With the Redskins facing a third-and-goal at the 7 and leading 22-20, the coach essentially decided to play for the field goal with a running play to Portis rather than try for the touchdown that likely would have sealed the win. Portis was stopped well short, and Shaun Suisham's 21-yard field increased the lead to five -- keeping the Eagles in the game.

"We felt like they might be playing soft there," Gibbs said. "Felt like we could take a shot at a draw."

The screen play gave the Eagles a 26-25 lead. Westbrook added one more score with 2:18 to play, a 10-yard run the Redskins admitted they purposely allowed so they could get the ball back with a chance to tie.

"That's exactly what they did. They allowed us to score," Westbrook said. "I wish I would have known that. I would have stopped at the 1. As an offensive player, any time you have an opportunity to get into the end zone, you get into the end zone."

Jason Campbell completed 23 of 34 passes for 215 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, including the first touchdown pass to a wide receiver for the Redskins all season. Clinton Portis, who last week ended a 12-game drought without a 100-yard game, made it two in a row with 137 yards on 30 carries.

"We've got to finish games," Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "We're not playing well in the second half. We've got to get it corrected if we want to win."

Denver Beats Kansas City At K.C. For First Time Since 2002

It seems the K.C. Chiefs are always in the game, but can't seem to be the team that wins when it's close. They had the Broncos, but failed to adjust and lost 27-11.

Broncos knock around Huard; Holmes rushes for 65 yards in 1st start

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Nobody is happier than Denver to see Kansas City's vaunted Arrowhead Stadium advantage melting away.

With backup Selvin Young rushing for 109 yards and Denver scoring two touchdowns 9 seconds apart, the injury-weakened Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-11 Sunday for their first win in Kansas City since 2002. It's the third home loss this year for the Chiefs, who came into the season with an NFL-best 104-36 home record since 1990.

"The Chiefs have been so good over the years taking advantage of their home field, with their crowd, and finding a way to win," said Denver coach Mike Shanahan. "They have the best home record in the National Football League over the last five or six years and it's nice to come out with a win."

The Broncos (4-5) might also have helped a new quarterback era get started for Kansas City (4-5).

Whip-armed Brodie Croyle replaced shaken-up, turnover-prone Damon Huard in the third quarter and the second-year pro could start next week in Indianapolis. Croyle was expected to be the starter this year, but coach Herm Edwards turned to Huard when Croyle played inconsistently in the preseason.

"I haven't decided anything," Edwards said. "I'll think about it Monday and then we'll talk about what we're going to do at quarterback on Tuesday."

In the decisive series in the third quarter, Dre' Bly intercepted Huard and set up a 20-yard touchdown run by Young, who was subbing for the injured Travis Henry.

On Kansas City's next play from scrimmage, defensive end Elvis Dumervil crashed into Huard and knocked the ball loose. Linebacker Nate Webster, in the right place at the right time, scooped it up and dashed 17 yards for another touchdown. The Broncos led 20-8 en route to just their sixth win in their last 21 games overall.

Huard was slow getting up and stayed on the bench with an ice pack on his neck while Croyle finished the game, going 17-for-30 for 162 yards, with one interception.

"I did some good things," said Croyle. "We moved the ball for the most part."

He declined to speculate whether he now owns the job.

"I try not to read into anything," he said. "I just go out there and do what I do."

Dwayne Bowe had nine catches for 105 yards for the Chiefs, who lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2004 and were without Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson. Priest Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 65 yards on 20 carries in his first start in more than two years.

"I feel great," he said. "I look forward to running that hill tomorrow and doing the things you have to do to build that base and make yourself better."

Holmes also lost 14 yards on a third-and-2 run from the 5. Clearly, the more effective backup running back in this game was Young, who had his first 100-yard effort and first NFL touchdown.

"I want to be a puzzle piece and try to fit with no space in between," Young said. "I want to step up and not be a dropoff at all, no falloff in one of the most important positions on the team. I felt I've put myself in a position to be able to handle it."

The home team had won the last nine games between these old rivals, and it seemed that would continue as the Broncos stumbled around in the first quarter, dropping two interceptions and getting six penalties.

Jason Elam, whose game-ending field goals produced Denver's first three wins, made it 3-0 in the first period with a 44-yarder. Then Dave Rayner, following Derrick Johnson's interception of Jay Cutler's pass, kicked a 38-yard field goal for KC.

Pollard blocked Todd Sauerbrun's punt through the end zone for a safety just a few seconds into the second quarter. Then Elam kicked his 37th career field goal of 50 yards or more when the ball hit the crossbar and tumbled over from exactly 50 yards.

Cutler, whose availability was in question earlier in the week because of a deep bruise on his left leg, was 17-of-29 for 192 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Graham with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter.

"I felt good the whole game," Cutler said. "The offense put up points when we had to. We've got to keep this level of play up. That's the biggest thing."

Rams Get First Win - St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29

St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29

1:00 PM ET, November 11, 2007
New Orleans, LA - ESPN

Bulger, Holt lead surprising Rams past streaking Saints

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jim Haslett wasn't ready to return to the place where his first head coaching job began with accolades and literally ended in disaster after Hurricane Katrina.

It took about three quarters of, in Haslett's words, "freakin' awesome" football to make the St. Louis defensive coordinator feel a little better about being back in New Orleans.

Five times since 1978, two teams in the same season have started 0-8. Half of those 10 won their ninth game, including the previously 0-8 Rams on Sunday.

His aggressive defense stuffed Drew Brees and the Saints' high-flying offense long enough to get the Rams their first win Sunday, 37-29.

"It really felt strange, being in the dome, period, after everything the dome went through and after everything the city went through," Haslett said.

"To be honest with you, I didn't think I'd ever come back here. I've kind of avoided the city, not the people, but the city," Haslett continued, noting that his wife, Beth, couldn't bring herself to come to the Louisiana Superdome for the game. "I was hoping we wouldn't play the Saints, so I wouldn't have to come back."

It was a surprising performance from the Rams (1-8), who dominated the Saints (4-5), a team that had climbed back into the playoff picture with a four-game winning streak after an 0-4 start.

Marc Bulger finished with 302 yards and short touchdown passes to Isaac Bruce and Drew Bennett. Running back Steven Jackson, recovering from a back injury, rushed for a short touchdown and even threw a 2-yard halfback pass to Randy McMichael for a score.

Torry Holt, meanwhile, had eight catches for 124 yards, torturing the New Orleans secondary with several clutch catches on third-and-long plays.

Of course, Bulger, Holt, Bruce and Jackson all have had big games before. It was probably a matter of time before they'd start clicking again.

The difference was the Rams' blitz-happy, play-making defense, which intercepted Brees twice, thwarted a scoring threat with a third-down sack, forced an intentional grounding penalty and piled on Brees for another drive-ending loss after the quarterback bobbled a high snap.

"To me, the guy that makes the whole thing go is the quarterback," Haslett explained. "We figured we're not going to let the quarterback sit back there and pick us apart. We were going to take some chances, come after him and try to disrupt him."

Haslett guessed that he called blitzes on about 16 of the first 18 plays the Saints ran.

"Defensively, I think they had a plan for us. They executed that plan very well," Brees said. "They did a great job of getting pressure and their offense really helped the defense out by staying on the field."

Brees finished with 272 yards and two touchdowns, but most of it came while New Orleans ran a hurry-up offense in a belated comeback attempt that finally ended when the Saints failed to recover an onside kick with a half-minute remaining.

As a rookie head coach in 2000, Haslett led the Saints to the playoffs and was named coach of the year. He never got back there, though, as the Saints hovered around .500 for the next four seasons. They went 3-13 in 2005, when Katrina forced the team to relocate to a makeshift headquarters in San Antonio and play all home games outside New Orleans.

Sean Payton took over the next season, and like Haslett, took New Orleans to the playoffs and won coach of the year as a rookie coach.

Payton was worried about this game, however. Coaches placed rat traps around the Saints' training headquarters during the past week, a ploy to prevent their players from overlooking what they saw as a "trap game" against a winless but hungry and talented team.

It seemed to work early on, as the Saints scored on their opening possession, capped by Bush's 7-yard touchdown run. But the Rams would score the next 34 points from midway through the first quarter to early in the fourth.

Boos rained down from the Superdome crowd, this time validating the play of Haslett's unit.

"I've seen that before," said Haslett, who used to complain publicly about New Orleans fans booing at the first sign of things going wrong.

"I read in the paper last week they booed the kicker before he kicked a field goal. I remember when they booed our quarterback [Aaron Brooks] before the game started," Haslett continued. "That's how they are ... but they are good fans. They know their football, they live and die with it, so you've got to appreciate that."

Colts Hit A Wall With Injuries - Lose To Chargers 23-21 - ESPN

It hurts to see the Cols drop two games like this. One they should have won -- New England; the other they could have won even though they played terribly and lost -- San Diego.

A tough loss -- but a justified one for the Colts

By John Clayton
Updated: November 12, 2007
SAN DIEGO -- On a night filled with head-scratching frustration and dagger-through-the heart disappointment, Tony Dungy ultimately came to one conclusion: Justice was served. The 23-21 loss his Colts suffered to the Chargers didn't feel good, not good at all. But it felt right -- in some sick, twisted way.

"It's a game we probably didn't deserve to win," Dungy said, "and we didn't."

That's because the Colts who showed up to play Sunday night at Qualcomm Stadium did not -- other than a hard, tenacious effort by the defense -- resemble the defending Super Bowl champions. These were not your Dungy Colts. These were not your Peyton Manning Colts. Instead, these were your Rod Dowhower Colts, circa 1986, a throwback to the days when mistakes were the norm and the team seemed more interested in acquiring the top pick in the draft.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images
It was a bad night for Peyton Manning, but he still had the Colts in position to win.
Consider on this night:

• Manning throwing a career-high six interceptions (three to Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie), setting a franchise record in the process.

• Adam Vinatieri, one of the best clutch kickers in NFL history, missing two field goals, including the 29-yard chip shot that would've given Indianapolis a one-point lead with 1:31 left.

• The special teams allowing two touchdowns by San Diego return specialist Darren Sproles -- a kickoff return and a punt return, both in the first quarter.

• Dungy calling a dumb final timeout with 1:34 left before Vinatieri's last field goal attempt. That final timeout handcuffed Manning when he got the ball back with 22 seconds left because he had no way to stop the clock.

Yet despite all that, the turnovers and errant kicks and special-teams breakdowns and all the rest, the Colts still -- remarkably, incredibly -- had a chance to win after rallying from a 23-0 deficit.

The win even seemed to be a foregone conclusion when Colts running back Joseph Addai appeared to have picked up a first down on a 3-yard run to the Chargers' 6 with 1:36 remaining. Officials on the field signaled a first down … but officials in the replay booth challenged the spot. That caused an uproar on the Indianapolis sideline. Dungy had never seen that happen before, a replay challenging a spot in the final minutes.

Referee Gene Steratore reversed the call on the field and set up a fourth-and-1. The next play was, amazingly, even more bizarre and frustrating for the Colts.

Manning was on the field to run off clock time and try to draw the Chargers offside. As tight end Ben Utecht arose from a three-point stance, two other Colts started to motion to a new formation. Indy runs this play all the time, and according to Dungy, the league office said just last week that the Utecht type of shift was legal.

But it wasn't legal Sunday night, at least not to Steratore's officiating crew. Out came the false start flag, the call being that Utecht's move was too abrupt. Dungy complained in vain to officials. Still, he had Mr. Clutch -- Vinatieri -- waiting to give the Colts the lead.

Instead, the kick went wide right … barely. A few minutes later, the loss was official, and all of a sudden Indianapolis finds itself in a mini-crisis mode, with a two-game losing streak and just a one-game division lead over Jacksonville and Tennessee.

Yes, we know what you're thinking, that the Colts had a hangover from last week's tough loss to the Patriots, that they simply couldn't rebound quick enough from that emotionally draining game. To make matters worse, the physical shortcomings were even tougher to overcome.

On the pregame injury report, Indy looked like a team that had traveled to San Diego in an ambulance. The offense was missing three starters -- wide receiver Marvin Harrison, tight end Dallas Clark and left tackle Tony Ugoh. Out on defense were defensive tackle Raheem Brock and linebackers Freddie Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler.

AP Photo/Denis Poroy
Adam Vinatieri isn't used to blowing a chance to nail the game-winning field goal.
Although Dungy preaches to his team not to use injuries as an excuse, Manning's offense was clearly undermanned. The Colts had just 17 active players on offense, and during the game, tackles Charlie Johnson and Ryan Diem were injured. That left Manning with three wide receivers, two tight ends, five offensive linemen and three running backs.

"We don't use injuries as an excuse, but we still had a chance to win the game," Manning said. "We have no choice but to refocus. … To lose two in a row is disappointing. Getting a win is the best remedy for a two-game losing streak."

Manning and Dungy had pained looks on their faces after the game, but few players were seen in the locker room. That's because they were in the training room. Defensive end Dwight Freeney left in the fourth quarter with a lower left leg injury. He left the stadium wearing a boot. Defensive end Keyunta Dawson followed him with what appeared to be a broken or badly bruised hand.

Indianapolis was down to third-stringers along the defensive and offensive line, at linebacker and at wide receiver.

"We certainly have not had a lot of breaks go our way as far as injuries," Manning said. "A lot of those things are out of your control. Hopefully, we can get some guys back. We've got to find a way to get a win, and certainly that starts with me playing better."

Manning blamed his interceptions and misfires on bad throws and bad decisions, but it was clear early in the game that the offense was struggling with Aaron Moorehead and Craphonso Thorpe trying to play the roles of Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez in the three-receiver sets. Thorpe has been around the NFL for four years with four teams but hadn't caught a pass in a game until Sunday night. Utecht and Bryan Fletcher won't be confused with Clark at tight end.

It didn't help that the Colts trailed 16-0 just 10 minutes into the game. Manning, trying to make something happen, was intercepted three times in the opening quarter as he threw to spots in which the pass-catchers weren't present. Thorpe and Moorehead lack the speed and experience to replace the injured Indy starters. In each half, Manning dialed up potential touchdown passes that Reggie Wayne or Harrison would have caught. Thorpe and Moorehead missed getting to them by a step or two.

Then, when LaDainian Tomlinson gave San Diego a 23-0 lead with a 4-yard run midway through the second quarter, Manning was robbed of another offensive weapon. Now, he couldn't balance the offense with runs by Addai.

So Manning (34-for-58, 328 yards) hoped to just chip away at the Chargers defense. He found Wayne for an 8-yard touchdown pass for the Colts' first score. Then he directed a lengthy drive that resulted in Vinatieri's having to rush onto the field in the final 10 seconds of the half. But he could not connect on the rushed 42-yard attempt.

"You're running out there as fast as you can to get things going, and I was just trying to get it off before the clock ran out," Vinatieri said. "It was perfect operation. It was just on me. If I make either one of those two, the game is different, and I let the team down."

The Chargers gave the Colts every chance to come back. Philip Rivers struggled and made turnovers. Norv Turner kept calling Tomlinson running plays and was booed by the San Diego crowd. Manning kept firing passes and was in position to win.

But the Colts, taking their cue from Dungy, knew they didn't deserve a victory.

"Usually when you have that many turnovers and you make that many interceptions, you usually don't have a chance," Manning said. "We kept fighting. We had a chance there at the end."

The Colts had the chance, and the way they lost was even more painful -- even if the outcome was justified.

John Clayton, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame writers' wing, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Adrian Peterson Has Torn Ligament After Packers Game - ESPN

Record-setting Vikings back has ligament injury in knee

ESPN.com news services

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will miss Sunday's game against Oakland Raiders with a torn ligament in his right knee, coach Brad Childress said Monday.

Childress said Peterson tore his lateral collateral ligament in the Vikings' 34-0 loss to Green Bay. Peterson will not require surgery, Childress said.

"The good news is that the knee is otherwise stable and the injury is isolated to that ligament," Childress said. "I'm told that's a good healing ligament."

Childress said this is not a season-ending injury, but he did not talk about when Peterson might be back.

Peterson was hurt just a week after he set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards in a victory over San Diego.

Peterson wasn't even sure who tackled him late in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-0 loss to Green Bay. After an 11-yard catch on a screen, he was hit by Packers cornerback Al Harris and went tumbling, his feet high in the air.

Peterson said he believed Harris' low hit was clean. The rookie writhed in pain on the field afterward, fearing he might have torn a ligament, and players immediately called over trainers.

His fears were justified Monday following results of an MRI.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dick Nolan - Coaching Legend of Cowboys, 49ers, and New Orleans Saints Passes Away at 75

Former 49ers, Saints coach Dick Nolan dies at 75 - Canadian News

SAN FRANCISCO - Dick Nolan, the former coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the father of current coach Mike Nolan, died Sunday, the 49ers said. He was 75.
Dick Nolan, a former NFL defensive back who also coached the New Orleans Saints, had been in declining health with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer for several years. He spent the last few months at an assisted-care facility in the Dallas area, near his longtime home with his wife, Ann.
Mike Nolan missed practice with the 49ers on Friday and Saturday, travelling back to Texas to be with his father. Team spokesman Aaron Salkin said Nolan would coach the 49ers on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Dick Nolan played nine NFL seasons before becoming a coach, assisting Hall of Famer Tom Landry in Dallas and going 71-85-3 in nearly 11 seasons with San Francisco and New Orleans. He led the perennially downtrodden 49ers to 56 wins, three division titles and two conference championship games in eight years with the club.
Dick and Mike Nolan were just the fifth father and son to become NFL head coaches, and the first to coach the same team since Bum and Wade Phillips both coached the Saints.
Mike Nolan convinced the NFL to allow him to wear dress suits on the 49ers' sideline last season partly in tribute to his father, who always dressed smartly.
"My father always projected an image of authority, and I wanted to honour him - the way he lived his life and his whole career as a coach," Mike Nolan said.
Born in Pittsburgh and raised in White Plains, N.Y., Dick Nolan played college football at Maryland and went on to a playing NFL career with the New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, mostly as a hard-hitting safety.
"He made himself into not just a good player, he was an extraordinary player," former teammate Frank Gifford told the New York Daily News earlier this year. "He didn't have the physical talent to do it all. He just willed himself. He was smart. He was tough - as good as there comes in that respect."
After retiring in 1962, Nolan spent six seasons as an assistant to Landry, his longtime friend and former teammate with the Giants. The 49ers hired him in 1968 to take over a franchise that had made just one playoff appearance in its 18 NFL seasons.
San Francisco went 7-6-1 in his first season before breaking through in 1970, going 10-3-1 and getting the 49ers' first playoff win at Minnesota before falling to Dallas in the NFC title game.
The 49ers made playoff appearances in 1971 and 1972, losing to the Cowboys both times. Nolan was in charge when the 49ers moved from Kezar Stadium near the Haight-Ashbury district to Candlestick Park on the shores of San Francisco Bay.
But the 49ers slumped to three consecutive losing seasons after their playoff appearances, and the same fans who once hailed Nolan as their saviour booed the Niners and cheered for Nolan's departure.
"That was the toughest time, but that's the life of a coach," Mike Nolan said. "My dad never took it personally, and he didn't take it personally when it happened again in New Orleans."
Nolan then coached the Saints from 1978-80, going 15-29 with the perennially downtrodden franchise, which fired him after the Saints lost the first 12 games of the 1980 season.
Nolan scouted and enjoyed retirement before his health worsened. In his final months, he was visited by many of his former players. In September, 49ers Hall of Famers Dave Wilcox and Jimmy Johnson joined Len Rohde and Ed Beard for an afternoon of reminiscing - and Nolan recognized them.
"My father kind of lit up when he saw them, and he doesn't do that very often," Mike Nolan said.
Nolan is survived by his wife and six children. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Dick Nolan passes away

Report from www.rotoworld.com

Former 49ers head coach Dick Nolan passed away on Sunday, according to FOXSports' Jay Glazer.Nolan is the father of Mike Nolan, who took a leave of absence from the 49ers to be with his dad late in the week. Mike still plans to attend Monday night's game against Seattle. Dick was also the coach of the Saints from 1978-80. He coached the Niners from 1968-1975. Dick Nolan was 75. Nov. 11 - 8:00 pm et

Jaguars RB Taylor eclipses 10,000 yards rushing

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor became the 21st player in NFL history on Sunday to rush for more than 10,000 yards in his career.

Jacksonville Jaguars
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His 15-yard run on the Jaguars' opening drive put him at 10,002 yards for his career.

Taylor, who has never made a Pro Bowl, holds franchise rushing records for a career, season and game. Taylor also has led the Jaguars in rushing seven of the past nine seasons.

The former Florida Gators standout trails only the Arizona Cardinals' Edgerrin James among active running backs in yards rushing. Taylor began Sunday ninth in yards rushing per game (83.2) and 10th in yards from scrimmage per game (101.8) in league history.

Taylor is one of 27 players to have more than 2,000 carries for his career.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Giants defeat Dolphins in a nail biter 13-10

By David

If the NFL’s brain trust had envisioned displaying a sloppy and unentertaining matchup between the league’s perennial loser and one of their most pedestrian team’s, they should have thought twice last summer about marketing their brand on an international basis with the Dolphins and Giants being their spokespersons.

As unfortunate as it played out to be, both squads were relegated to the roll of showcasing their sport in front of 81,176 animated fans at London’s Wembley Stadium. Through the mud, rain, slippery conditions and uncountable forecast big blue prevailed in a squeaker 13-10. It was not the kind of performance coach Coughlin expected from his team that had averaged 33 points per game during the course of the past three weeks. Still, the Giants determined and didactic leader will take a victory whether he receives it state side or overseas as he molds his team into an elite force in the National Football Conference.

Lead by 290 pound running back Brandon Jacobs and former Miami Dolphin Sam Madison the Giants registered their sixth consecutive victory of the year. Jacobs rushed for a season-high 131 yards on 23 carries against the still-winless fins. Quarterback Eli Manning struggled exponentially and recorded his worst start in his brief football career. With 59 yards passing, a completion percentage of 36.4% and one fumble, Manning was unable to capitalize off a Miami defense that ranks towards the bottom of the league in many majors categories.

While the league did a poor job at acclimating Europeans to American football, they succeeded at increasing the attention and notoriety that the United States will receive in the years to come from interested owners who want a Super Bowl to be played outside of the hollow grounds of North America. Also succeeding were the Giants who improve to 6-2 and are now a half game back of the Cowboys for the lead in the NFC East.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NFL Agent Ed Goines - From 49ers Lawyer To Player Agent

For five years, Ed Goines was the Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for the San Francisco 49ers. Now, Ed Goines has stepped over the line to become an Official NFL Players Association Contract Advisor, otherwise known as NFL Agent.

For Ed, it's a logical step. "I have corporate sponsor contacts, and know how the team organization works. I can see the player deal from both the players and the team's perspective. As the 49ers point person for business affairs I was responsible for sponsorship deals and contract structure, and have already worked with many NFL executives."

Ed also has an online show called "Ed Goines On Sports." You can check out his take on the business of sports there and contact him at 415-407-0882.

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