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Around the NFC

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000

BEARS: Brian Urlacher, the ninth overall pick in this year's draft, was replaced in the starting lineup by Rosevelt Colvin after Tuesday's practice. "It's because I didn't play very well and Rosie was playing better," Urlacher said Wednesday. The Bears named Urlacher the starter on the strong side almost immediately upon drafting him out of New Mexico. Coach Dick Jauron said Urlacher will get plenty of playing time, mostly in nickel and dime packages.

CARDINALS: The NFL upheld its one-game suspension of running back Mario Bates for violating its new anti-violence policy. Bates pleaded guilty June 9 to misdemeanor charges for slapping his girlfriend in the face. The league's policy mandates suspension without pay for a conviction or guilty plea for violent crimes. Bates appealed. "Mario is going to accept the consequences and move on," Jim Steiner, Bates's agent, said.

EAGLES: The team went after Brad Culpepper after the Bucs released him Monday. Coach Andy Reid called the defensive tackle to explain what a perfect fit he would be. Culpepper agreed to terms with the Bears on Tuesday and signed Wednesday. The Eagles were "right there" in salary, Culpepper's agent, Tim Irwin, said. But, Irwin said, "As a former player, I can tell you the surface at Veterans Stadium is the most hated surface in the National Football League. As guys get into their 30s, playing on grass is a real issue for them. Now that guys have a choice, they don't want to play on turf. Especially that turf." ... Defensive end Greg Jefferson was put on injured reserve, one day after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee.

GIANTS: After spending most of training camp at his college position of tackle, rookie Cornelius Griffin has spent the past week working primarily at end. That's where he will play in Friday's preseason finale against the Ravens.

LIONS: Walter Rasby and former San Diego Charger Alfred Pupunu are the only healthy, experienced tight ends, leaving coach Bobby Ross uneasy with the season opener 10 days away.

PACKERS: Brett Favre did light throwing during practice. It was Favre's first extended practice time since he developed elbow tendinitis two weeks ago. He was held out of scrimmage drills involving long downfield throws. The Packers aren't sure whether Favre will play in Saturday's preseason finale against the Browns. "Our timetable is really set to 11 days, when we start the regular season against the Jets," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said.

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