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Peppers out for final four games

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Star rookie defensive end Julius Peppers of the Panthers was suspended Tuesday for the final four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Peppers' agent, Marvin Demoff, told the league Tuesday morning that he was withdrawing an appeal of the suspension. Demoff said last month that the league told him Peppers tested positive for a banned substance in a dietary supplement.

"It's disappointing for me, the Panthers and the fans and everybody," Peppers said in a conference call. "I wish I could finish the season. I'm just going to get over it and come back next year and be even stronger."

The 22-year-old defensive lineman ranks third in the NFL with 12 sacks but will end his season short of Jevon Kearse's rookie record of 141/2. He will be eligible to play in the Pro Bowl if selected.

Demoff wouldn't say what supplement Peppers had taken.

"We didn't want the suspension to affect some of the 2003 season," Demoff said. "Julius did not want to do that. Julius is going to stand up and admit he made a mistake, although unwittingly, and learn from it."

Dolphins' Taylor says he ripped away gun

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Miami defensive end Jason Taylor told jurors at his adoptive father's assault trial that he ripped away a handgun strapped to his father's ankle during a scuffle last year.

Anthony Taylor, 43, is charged with a felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm. The elder Taylor faces a prison term of three to five years.

"I yelled, 'He's got a gun' and I tried to take it off him," Taylor said, describing the Dec. 17 struggle at his Davie home. "I put my whole hand on his and started pulling."

Taylor said he has a strained relationship with his adoptive father. The two had not spoken during the elder Taylor's visit along with the football player's mother and three half-siblings.

Jason Taylor said he approached his adoptive father to discuss the family's plans for the holidays when the elder Taylor appeared to have a seizure -- "like someone was electrocuting him."

Anthony Taylor fell out of his chair, knocking over a metal bar stool. Jason Taylor said after his father hit the ground, he knocked his legs out from under him and struck him in the nose.

DOLPHINS: Third-string quarterback Dave Dickenson was released, one day after Jay Fiedler was cleared to start Monday against the Bears.

EAGLES: Punter Sean Landeta was put on injured reserve and Jason Baker was signed to take his place.

JAGUARS: Tests on quarterback Mark Brunell's throwing hand showed he sprained his middle finger, but did not break any bones in Sunday's game. ... The team added another chapter to their comedy of kickers, cutting Richie Cunningham after one game to make way for the team's fourth kicker of the season. Cunningham made both his extra points and a 23-yard field goal Sunday against Pittsburgh, but he didn't execute an onside kick correctly, and he struggled with the depth of his kickoffs. Adding insult was that Steelers rookie Jeff Reed went 6-for-6 on field goals. The Jaguars had given Reed a tryout in October when they cut their first kicker.

STEELERS: Tommy Maddox will start Sunday against Houston, coach Bill Cowher said. Maddox was playing too well before getting hurt Nov. 17 to lose his job to an injury, Cowher said. ... Tight end Mark Bruener is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

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