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Tagliabue to coaches: Stop the illegal hits

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 4, 2002

NEW YORK -- Commissioner Paul Tagliabue sent a letter to all coaches putting them on notice to end illegal hits that resulted in $125,000 in fines to two players last week.

As part of a crackdown on on-field violence, Tagliabue sent the memo Friday after a long discussion of hits on receivers and quarterbacks at league meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

The letter asks coaches to reinforce the league's position on helmet-to-helmet hits and other plays that can result in injuries.

The league fined Dallas' Darren Woodson $75,000 for a hit on Seattle receiver Darrell Jackson, and fined Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins $50,000 for a hit on Giants receiver Ike Hilliard.

Jackson was hospitalized after having a seizure in the locker room. Hilliard separated his shoulder and is out for the season.

CBS said Tagliabue told owners that coaches could face fines for condoning those hits and that teams could face sanctions if they pay the fines for disciplined players. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the commissioner did not mention any such fines in his letter to coaches.

Woodson returns, Bryant hurt

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson returned for the Raiders, starting against San Francisco after missing seven weeks with a broken right shoulder.

Woodson had not played since he was injured Sept. 15 at Pittsburgh. He was listed as probable two weeks ago but was held out against San Diego and Oct. 27 against Kansas City.

Also, Oakland defensive end Tony Bryant was carted off with a spine injury. He fell hard 5:50 into overtime but was able to move his arms and legs. He was taken to a hospital for observation, and the team said he had feeling in his extremities.

BROWNS: Quarterback Tim Couch cut his right hand on a face mask in the second quarter. Couch spent a long time getting treatment but returned. ... Running back Jamel White injured his right shoulder midway through the third quarter and didn't return. Kevin Bentley (hyperextended elbow, broken right hand), Kenard Lang (ankle) and Gerard Warren (foot) also were injured.

CARDINALS: Receiver and kick returner MarTay Jenkins was lost with a broken shoulder blade in the first quarter.

CHARGERS: Strong safety Rodney Harrison served a one-game suspension without pay for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland's Jerry Rice two weeks ago.

COLTS: Ricky Williams didn't get a chance at his first start. Williams, an undrafted rookie and no relation to the Dolphins running back, was expected to replace Edgerrin James as a starter but was sidelined after aggravating a hamstring injury. He was placed on the inactive list. Jim Finn, the last pick in the 1999 draft, started. He had not carried the ball in the team's first seven games.

RAVENS: Cornerback Chris McAlister left early in fourth quarter with a sprained ankle.

SEAHAWKS: Coach Mike Holmgren said linebacker Chad Brown will miss the rest of the season. He broke his right foot in the second quarter against Washington and is scheduled for surgery today. ... Jeff George, who signed last week, was inactive but suited up as the emergency quarterback. ... Safety Marcus Robertson left with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit against Darnerien McCants on Washington's first score. Holmgren said he could return for this weekend's game at Arizona.

TITANS: Safety Lance Schulters separated his left shoulder late in the third quarter and is questionable for this weekend's game against Houston. ... The team waived defensive end Kevin Aldridge and signed linebacker Brad Kassell. Both are undrafted rookies released by the team Aug. 31 and signed to the practice squad. Aldridge was activated a week later.

VIKINGS: The team lost receiver Derrick Alexander to a knee sprain.

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