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Owner supports Jaguars' Coughlin

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 8, 2002

JACKSONVILLE -- Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver strongly supports Tom Coughlin despite the coach's 18-26 mark the past three years.

"I continue to have great confidence in Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff," Weaver said. "Tom has two years left on his contract after this season and, as we always do, Tom and I will sit down and review our performance and determine what changes are necessary to get the Jaguars back to competing at the highest levels.

"We're both committed to winning. That will always be our goal."

Weaver also denied a published report last week that he had contacted Randy Mueller, the former general manager of the Saints who was fired this year, about a position in the organization. "I haven't talked to anybody, and nobody else is authorized to talk to anyone," Weaver said. Any decisions about adding personnel wouldn't be made "until we sit down and talk at the end of the year."

At his news conference Friday, Coughlin said he could understand the fans wanting to blame him for the 5-7 record this season.

"Who else are they going to blame? Let's be honest. Who are they going to blame, okay? I've got big shoulders and I've been blamed before. I'll try to accept it like a man," Coughlin said.

Quarterback Mark Brunell, meanwhile, probably will start today after spraining a finger on his throwing hand last weekend.

Brunell took all the snaps in practice Friday and said his left middle finger felt fine.

"I don't anticipate any problem," he said. "I had zip on the ball and it was pain-free."

BILLS: Defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson, who served a four-game suspension this season for a repeat violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, has tested positive again and will be banned for a year. reported the latest positive test, for cocaine, occurred during the earlier suspension. Because Robertson did not notify his representatives, no appeal was filed and the time limit to do so has expired.

The second-year player has been on the non-football injury list for the past month. The Bills put him there when his first suspension expired.

BRONCOS: When rookie Clinton Portis becomes a 1,000-yard rusher, he'll be the fourth Denver running back to accomplish the feat in Mike Shanahan's eight seasons. The others are Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson.

What makes this accomplishment remarkable is that none of the four was a first-round pick. Portis, who was selected out of Miami in the second round (51st overall) in April, was the highest choice. Gary was a fourth-round pick, and Davis and Anderson were sixth-round picks.

SEAHAWKS: Defensive end Lamar King will miss the final four games after having left knee surgery.

King was the Settle's No.1 draft pick in 1999. This season, King had 17 solo tackles, one sack and broke up five passes despite a nagging injury to his knee.

The nature of the injury was not disclosed, but King would have needed surgery after the season and decided have the operation now.

Also, rookie cornerback Kris Richard will have surgery to repair a hernia and probably won't play again this season.

STEELERS: The Bus had his nose broken in last weekend's victory over the Jaguars, but tailback Jerome Bettis is expected to play today against the Texans wearing a protective visor.

Bettis did have to cancel his weekly television talk show.

"I can't talk," murmured Bettis, who was injured when the finger of a Jaguars player jammed inside his helmet. "I just have to deal with it."

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