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Chiefs' Douglas could avoid surgery on left knee

Posted: Friday August 01, 2003 7:37 PM
Updated: Saturday August 02, 2003 12:23 AM

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- Kansas City wide receiver Dameane Douglas will be out at least six weeks, but he might not require surgery on his injured left knee.

Douglas was injured Thursday when Minnesota Vikings cornerback Rushen Jones threw him to the ground during a joint practice.

"The decision has to be made whether you operate to repair it or you let it heal without the operation," Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said Friday. "I think our medical staff leans, I think, towards letting it heal. It's about the same amount of time for rehab."

Douglas caught a short pass from quarterback Jonathan Quinn during Thursday's 7-on-7 passing drill and was wrapped up high by Jones, who then swung Douglas to the ground, where his left knee buckled under the weight of his own body.

Vermeil said he was upset by the incident, but chalked it up to the risks of playing football.

"It could have happened to one of our guys accidentally hitting one of their guys when they weren't quite expecting it and they go down with some goofy thing," he said. "That's all part of the game. I wish it hadn't happened, that's all."

Networks can get instant rule interpretations from NFL

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL will have one of its two officiating supervisors available every week this season to instantly answer rules questions from the television networks.

Mike Pereira or Larry Upson will be on duty in the league office for assistance, NFL spokesman Joe Browne said Friday.

Browne said the system has been in effect for years with ABC on Monday night and ESPN on Sunday night. He said that in response to questions, the league reminded FOX and CBS that they can also get quick answers from Pereira or Upson.

Other media covering games regularly get information on officiating controversies from league officials at the game or from game officials, who can be interviewed by a pool reporter. In one game with a series of confusing calls in the 1980s, Art McNally, then the supervisor of officials, grabbed the press box microphone to explain what had happened.

The issue became more urgent with the networks after the confusion on the final play of last season's playoff game between the New York Giants and San Francisco. After the game, Pereira acknowledged the officials blew a call that would have given the Giants a second chance at a winning field-goal attempt in their 39-38 loss.

Cris Collinsworth, one of the FOX announcers at the game, incorrectly said holder Matt Allen could have spiked the ball. That would not have been allowed, but the officials missed a pass interference call against the 49ers on the play.

Kearse's agent hoping to resume contract talks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The agent for Jevon Kearse said on Friday he is eager to resume negotiations on a long-term contract for the Tennessee Titans defensive end.

Drew Rosenhaus traveled to Nashville to watch Kearse work out against the Miami Dolphins.

Both sides agreed earlier this year to delay contract talks for Kearse, who is entering the fourth and final year on his current deal, until the three-time Pro Bowler proved he was healthy after a second surgery on his left foot.

"If we don't get a deal done with the team before the season, we'll be disappointed," Rosenhaus said. "What we wanted to do was get into training camp and allow Jevon to show he's healthy. I thought he looked great today."

Kearse broke the foot in the season opener last year and missed 12 games. During the offseason, doctors grafted bone over a new screw in the fifth metatarsal of the foot.

Re-signing Kearse is a top priority for the Titans, but they also want to ensure that he truly is healthy and the foot will not bother him again.

Rosenhaus said they have done their best to prove Kearse is ready for the season by not holding out of training camp.

"We need to have him healthy in order to get the kind of deal that we're interested in," Rosenhaus said.

Kearse was the third NFL player to start his career with at least 10 sacks in each of his first three seasons, following Reggie White and the late Derrick Thomas.

Wife, daughter of Cowboys assistant injured in crash

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The wife and daughter of Dallas Cowboys assistant Gary Gibbs were injured when their sport utility vehicle swerved off the highway, killing another person in the car.

Jeanne Gibbs, 49, of Norman was hospitalized in serious condition and Whitley Gibbs, 22, of Norman was listed in fair condition, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. Both were hospitalized in Oklahoma City.

Austin McKaig, 22, of Norman was killed and his mother, Janis McKaig, 48, of Norman, was seriously injured.

"We just heard that his wife is out of surgery and his daughter's injuries were not as bad as they could've been," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday afternoon in San Antonio, where the team was holding training camp. "We're grateful of that."

Gary Gibbs, the former football coach at Oklahoma, left the Cowboys' training camp to be with his family.

"I know very little about the situation," Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said Friday. "I transmitted a message telling him to take as much time as he needs."

The crash on Interstate 35 in southern Oklahoma happened Thursday night when the SUV driven by Jeanne Gibbs swerved to miss a small animal on the road, the highway patrol said. The car rolled, throwing McKaig from the vehicle.

Patriots sign running back, release cornerback

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- The New England Patriots signed running back Frank Moreau and released cornerback Ben Kelly on Friday.

Moreau, 26, has played in 14 games in two NFL seasons with Jacksonville and Kansas City, with 75 carries for 206 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot, 223-pound fullback out of Louisville carried the ball 99 times for 462 yards and two touchdowns for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe this spring.

Moreau carries an NFL Europe roster exemption, meaning he does not count against the Patriots' 80-man roster limit.

Kelly, 24, played in nine games for the Patriots in the past two seasons, recording five tackles. He also returned seven kickoffs for 123 yards in 2001.

Kelly was drafted out of Colorado by Miami in the third round in 2000. The Patriots claimed him off waivers in November 2001.

Broncos' Anderson comes up woozy after shot to head

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Broncos were in shoulder pads and shorts Friday morning, so there wasn't supposed to be much hitting.

Tell that to fullback Mike Anderson.

During two-minute drills late in the morning practice, Anderson was hit so hard by safety Nick Ferguson that his helmet flew off.

Anderson stayed on the field for about a minute before trainers helped him to the sideline. He was still a little woozy after practice and unsure of who made the hit.

"They told me. I think they said ... I can't even remember that," Anderson said.

Anderson staggered and smiled as he reached the sideline, leading to some ribbing from his teammates.

Defensive end Trevor Pryce told someone to get some smelling salts and running back Clinton Portis playfully moved his finger back and forth to see if Anderson could follow it. Another player said "You're getting sleepy, you're getting sleepy."

"They are telling me things I don't remember, the way I was laying on the ground, the way I got up, the way I was staggering," Anderson said. "I don't remember any of that. I've got to wait and see the film to see for myself."

It wasn't until reviewing the film that Ferguson realized the hit was helmet-to-helmet.

"I wasn't trying to hurt him. I was just trying to close him down and prevent him from getting into the end zone," Ferguson said.

Salaam expected to miss two weeks after knee surgery

DENVER (AP) -- Denver Broncos starting left tackle Ephraim Salaam is expected to be out two weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday.

Salaam missed part of practice Thursday with inflammation before having surgery to remove bone chips from his knee.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said he hopes to have Salaam back in time for Denver's preseason game against Indianapolis on Aug. 25.

"Hopefully, he will come back in a couple of weeks of practice and three weeks from now actually be able to play," Shanahan said. "At least that's our guess at this time. You never know for sure."

Eason returns to Broncos camp

DENVER (AP) -- Rookie defensive tackle Nick Eason returned to the Denver Broncos' training camp Friday after a three-day disappearance, saying the stress of his first pro camp and personal issues became too much to bear.

"I've been going through some things," Eason said after the morning practice. "I've always been a guy that gave 110 percent and got stressed out with a lot of different things. I kind of felt like I was letting the team down. I had a lot of different things going on in my life and just needed to get away."

Eason, a fourth-round draft pick from Clemson, was with the team for the first four days of camp, but didn't show up for practice Tuesday.

Team officials spent the next two days trying to locate Eason before learning from his family that he was going through some personal problems. Eason explained his absence to Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan on Thursday after returning to the Broncos' training center.

"I was just disappointed he didn't come to me first and tell me about those problems before he took off," Shanahan said. "It is a learning situation for a young guy."

Eason agreed that he had made a mistake.

"I should have gone and talked to coach," Eason said "I know now after I talked to him that he has an open-door policy and always has had an open-door policy. It was just an experience that I had to learn from."

Shanahan said he decided not to fine Eason and allowed him to return to practice after talking with 10 veterans on the team. He said every player agreed Eason should be allowed back.

"It has nothing to do with taking him back," defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "He needed to come back for himself. It wasn't even a decision, really."

It didn't take Eason's teammates long to welcome him back.

Several players hugged and talked to him, and tight end Shannon Sharpe, who grew up in the same area of Georgia as Eason, called him up to lead the team in stretching.

"Nick's a good person and he has a good work ethic, and you don't know what was going through his mind or what happened," defensive tackle Lional Dalton said. "I think it's good to see to someone to give people another chance."

Eason participated in all the individual drills in the morning and worked with the second defense during full-team workouts. Everything seemed to be back to normal, but Eason still knows it will take time to rebuild trust with some of his teammates.

"I want to gain trust back. I don't want it to be just feeling sorry for me," Eason said. "I am the type of guy that I want to gain their trust back. If you guys lost respect, that's fine. I just have to deal with that. But yes, I want to gain it back. I don't want it given to me."

Sore knee sidelines Chargers' Johnson

CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- Raylee Johnson joined fellow defensive end Marcellus Wiley on the sideline at training camp on Friday, not a reassuring sight for a team trying to rebuild the NFL's worst pass defense.

Johnson experienced pain in his right knee, while Wiley has been out with a strained left hamstring.

"It's just tendinitis, so we'll monitor his work," Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer said of Johnson. "He's really had a terrific camp."

Johnson's injury isn't considered serious, and he could return soon.

Wiley's camp has been derailed about a week with his hamstring injury. But Schottenheimer was optimistic Wiley would return to practice over the weekend.

Both players are critical not only to the defensive line's success, but the secondary's as well. If the Chargers are unable to generate a consistent pass rush, they know all too well the result: a secondary that gets picked on.

The Chargers managed just 39 sacks last year, one of the reasons they ranked last in defending the pass.

Wiley's production last year fell from 13 sacks to six, due in part to groin and stomach injuries. Because of his importance, the Chargers have been cautious about getting him back into practice.

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