September 1, 2002
HOUSTON -- An MRI on Texans rookie quarterback David Carr's bruised right knee revealed no damage Saturday, and the rookie should be ready for the season opener.
Carr, the first pick in the draft, was injured when his knee hit Bucs offensive lineman Chester Pitts' helmet in Friday night's 17-13 preseason loss.
Carr put a scare into the Texans when he went down after the hit, but the bruised knee should not keep him out of Houston's first regular-season game against the Cowboys on Sept. 8.
Coach Dom Capers is excited about having Carr, who was 5-of-9 for 58 yards before he was injured, in charge of the offense.
"A rookie quarterback is going to go through some growing pains," Capers said. "I think we all know that. The physical ability is there. The mental approach is there. He is just going to continue to get better as he has more of a repertoire to draw from."
The Texans cut 19 players, including veteran Kent Graham, who had been signed to be the starter while Carr was groomed. Graham fell to No. 3 on the depth chart.
TRADES: The Chargers traded tight end Steve Heiden to the Browns for an undisclosed draft pick. Heiden, San Diego's third-round selection out of South Dakota State in 1999, had 14 catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons with the Chargers. ... Troy Edwards, a 1999 first-round pick who had fallen out of the Steelers receivers rotation, was traded to the Rams for a sixth-round pick.
BRONCOS: Tight end Desmond Clark, the team's second-leading receiver last season, was released. A free agent at the end of the season, Clark was expected to miss the first few games after breaking his forearm in camp.
CARDINALS: Backup quarterback Chris Greisen and 13 other players were waived. Greisen, who spent the past three seasons as the third-string quarterback, was listed at No. 2 behind Jake Plummer in training camp after Arizona didn't re-sign Dave Brown. Greisen's release leaves rookie Josh McCown as the No. 2 quarterback.
COLTS: Fullback Jim Finn will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a sprained right foot. Finn, injured Friday in a 25-21 loss to New Orleans, had been the team's primary running back for most of the preseason as starter Edgerrin James eased back into action after knee surgery. "There's no fracture in there, really just a sprained foot," coach Tony Dungy said of Finn. "But that throws a little monkey wrench into things." James is expected to start Sept. 8 against Jacksonville.
COWBOYS: Russell Maryland, the top pick in the 1991 draft who helped Dallas win three Super Bowls, re-signed with the team so he could retire as a Cowboy. Maryland, a 6-foot-1, 310-pound run-stuffing defensive tackle from Miami, played 10 years in the league, his first five in Dallas. In 1995 he signed with the Raiders as a free agent, then went to Green Bay for his final season in 2000.
FALCONS: Running back Maurice Smith and free safety Keith Lyle were among 13 players waived. Smith, who started the last 12 games last season after Jamal Anderson tore a knee ligament, became expendable when former Buc Warrick Dunn signed a $28.5-million free-agent contract in March and T.J. Duckett was drafted No. 18 overall the next month. Also, Linebacker Fred Perry was placed on injured reserve with a jammed neck.
JAGUARS: Holdout receiver Jimmy Smith agreed to terms, which were not available. In four preseason games, Mark Brunell and the first-team offense didn't manage a touchdown. Receivers Bobby Shaw and Patrick Johnson had trouble getting open, and Brunell showed little confidence in his new pass catchers. The big question is whether Smith will solve the problems. He is the most prolific receiver in the NFL the past six years, although his big-play ability waned last season when he made just four plays of 30-plus yards and scored eight touchdowns. Smith's contract, which would have paid him $2.75-million this season, did not put him among the 10 highest-paid receivers in the league. He was seeking a deal that would have paid him about $12-million over the next two years, or basically doubled his money. But the Jaguars were reluctant to hand over that much money to a 33-year-old receiver with a history of health problems. On Friday coach Tom Coughlin refused to speculate about how quickly Smith could get back into the starting lineup. He did not, however, rule out Smith being ready in a week.
PATRIOTS: A former Providence police officer is suing the team after his season tickets were revoked when his wife tried to auction their seats on eBay. John Reis, 47, is an 18-year season ticket holder with three seats in Gillette Stadium at the 50-yard line. He is involved in two separate court actions with the team: He's suing the Patriots in federal court for the return of his tickets and damages, and has filed a criminal assault and battery complaint against Patriots security chief Mark Briggs.