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NFL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


Redskins flirting with 3rd noise fine

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has quickly made enemies among a significant number of owners. But Snyder is beginning to irritate the league office as well, and now comes the possibility Washington could be fined a draft pick if Snyder continues what the NFL views as an arrogant disregard for one of its rules.

The Redskins already have been quietly fined twice by the NFL for violating league stadium-noise edicts, and more penalties could be on the way.

What the Redskins did to the Baltimore Ravens last week has the NFL irate with Snyder perhaps more than ever, and his Redskins facing yet another league-imposed sanction.

The Redskins, like many teams, use music and other noise to fire up the home crowd. But league rules state that teams are supposed to cease artificially generated sound once an opposing offense breaks the huddle or approaches the line of scrimmage.

The rule was enacted for obvious reasons: Blasting music can drown out a quarterback trying to give signals to his teammates. Yet the Redskins consistently had their live band play as the Ravens broke the huddle, and even as quarterback Tony Banks started barking the plays.

This is not the first time the Redskins have been accused of cheating. The Bucs and one other team complained about the Redskins' use of similar tactics. The Bucs filed a protest with the NFL after their Oct. 1 game with Washington. Because it was the Redskins' second offense -- it is unknown which organization was the first to complain -- the team was fined $20,000.

The league is investigating the latest possible violation.

If the Redskins are found to have broken the rule a third time, they could be fined again, and a fourth occurrence might lead to the loss of a draft pick.

BRONCOS: Offensive tackle Melvin Tuten was waived, and Denver signed wide receiver Scottie Montgomery from its practice squad.

Montgomery, a rookie cut by the Carolina Panthers, joined the practice squad Sept. 13.

Tuten was cut by the Broncos on Oct. 14 to make room for a backup kicker after Jason Elam's back injury, then re-signed two days later when Elam returned to the roster.

BROWNS: Quarterback Tim Couch had successful surgery on his right thumb at the Cleveland Clinic.

Couch will need seven weeks to heal, doctors said, and will miss the rest of the season.

He fractured a bone at the base of the thumb when his throwing hand hit linebacker Ryan Taylor on the final play of practice Thursday. Couch was placed on injured reserve Friday.

Taylor and running back Travis Prentice said they blame themselves for Couch's injury.

"I feel really bad," Prentice said. "(Taylor) came up the middle on a blitz, and he beat me a little bit. I was trying to push him by. He made a move to the inside, and the next thing I knew, Tim was standing there grabbing his hand."

Taylor said he might feel worse because he was trying to prove himself after he was taken off the team's practice squad last week.

"The quarterback is the main player on your team, and I should've laid off him," Taylor said.

Couch said he doesn't hold Taylor responsible.

"He didn't try to tackle me or hit me or anything," Couch said.

Couch will be replaced by Doug Pederson, an eight-year veteran who started nine games for Philadelphia last season while being booed incessantly by Eagles fans.

Rookie Spergon Wynn will be the backup quarterback, with Kevin Thompson, signed Friday, as the third-stringer.

DOLPHINS: Receiver O.J. McDuffie said he was 80 percent sure he would be able to play Monday against the Jets. McDuffie, who is on the physically unable to perform list, is recovering from surgery on his left big toe. If he is activated, the Dolphins will have to make a roster move to clear space for him. The Dolphins can wait until Monday afternoon to make such a move, and coach Dave Wannstedt said they likely would wait that long.

JETS: Rookie Jake Moreland was signed from the practice squad.

The Jets waived veteran receiver Vincent Brisby to make room for Moreland. Brisby had four receptions for 60 yards in three games this season.

Moreland, a fullback-tight end from Western Michigan, signed with the Jets as a free agent after the draft. He was waived before the season opener, then re-signed and spent the past six weeks on the practice squad.

SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Brock Huard spent Friday's practice with the starting unit and was expected to start unless he aggravated his pulled groin muscle.

"We have to see how he feels (this) morning," coach Mike Holmgren said. "Jon Kitna had two real good days of practice, and if Brock couldn't play, I'd feel comfortable playing Jon, and I told him that. ... But if Brock can play, he will play."

Huard said he didn't foresee anything keeping him from making his third NFL start.

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