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Dolphins win, but QB picture still muddled

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 22, 2000

MIAMI -- Without stepping on the field, Jay Fiedler might have gained ground on Damon Huard in the Dolphins' quarterback competition.

Huard failed to lead the first-team offense to a touchdown for the third preseason game in a row, but the Dolphins scored with 25 seconds to play to beat injury-riddled Green Bay 17-14 on Monday night.

The game featured four fourth-quarter touchdowns and four missed field goals by Miami's Olindo Mare.

Mare, a fourth-year player who set the NFL single-season record with 39 field goals last year, missed from 33, 50, 48 and 51 yards.

Dolphins rookie Ben Kelly returned a punt 73 yards with less than a minute to play, setting up a 2-yard scoring pass from Mike Quinn to Deon Dyer.

Huard played three quarters, completing 16 of 23 passes for 138 yards. But without a touchdown in three games, he seemingly left room for Fiedler to take the starting job before the season opener.

Fiedler, who had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right hip on Aug. 3, returned to practice Saturday and should play in Miami's exhibition finale Friday against New Orleans. His performance could be an important showing in the race to replace Dan Marino, the NFL's career passing leader.

The Packers (1-2), playing without quarterback Brett Favre and running back Dorsey Levens struggled to move the ball for much of the night.

Favre sat out with lingering tendinitis in his throwing arm but expected to return to practice Wednesday. Levens had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week and is expected to be back in 3-4 weeks.

Court sides with Moss

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss does not have to pay restitution to a man he beat up while both were in high school, a Kanawha County circuit judge ruled Monday.

Ernest Roy Johnson had asked Judge Charles King to follow through on an Aug. 1, 1995, bench ruling requiring Moss to pay for damages stemming from the beating.

Johnson was hospitalized with injuries to his spleen, liver and kidney and sustained a concussion after the 1995 fight. Police and school officials at the time said the fight was racially motivated. Moss and the other student charged are black and Johnson is white.

Moss publicly apologized for the fight, pleaded guilty to battery and was placed on probation. His probation was revoked and he served jail time after a failed drug test showed marijuana use. His sentence was eventually reduced to time he had served and he was released Aug. 5, 1996.

King's order Monday said neither prosecutors nor Johnson ever asked for a specific amount of restitution, so none was ordered.

Also, King's initial restitution order was a condition of Moss' probation. When his probation was revoked, so was the requirement to make restitution.

Restitution was not part of his final sentence, King noted.

LIONS: Hall of Fame linebacker Joe Schmidt had heart bypass surgery.

Schmidt, 68, a former player and coach for Detroit, was in fair condition at Beaumont Hospital, according to a nursing supervisor.

"He's doing great now," friend Tony Versaci said. "He'd been experiencing some problems. He had some warnings, so he had surgery."

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