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NFL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2000


Harrison's helmet hit very costly

SAN DIEGO -- Chargers strong safety Rodney Harrison is used to doing the hitting. The NFL hit back Thursday, and Harrison felt singled out.

Harrison was fined $40,000, one of the biggest penalties in league history, for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Raiders tight end Jeremy Brigham.

"Obviously it has to be personal, I feel," said a defiant Harrison, who wondered why the league was trying to take the violence out of a violent game.

It was the seventh time Harrison has been disciplined, and he didn't understand why the amount more than quadrupled since his last fine, $7,500 for a hit on Saints quarterback Jeff Blake on Sept. 10.

"It's kind of ridiculous. I'm laughing at it, to be honest with you," Harrison said.

He plans to appeal.

While the NFL took umbrage, one of Harrison's teammates, Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, called it "an entertaining hit."

Harrison was fined because Brigham was in a defenseless position, NFL spokeswoman Leslie Hammond said. The large dollar amount also was due, in part, to the fact Harrison has been fined several times before.

Moss fined for grabbing official

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Vikings receiver Randy Moss was fined $25,000 for making contact with an official in the Vikings' loss to the Bucs.

Moss said he was trying to get field judge Lloyd McPeters' attention when he grabbed the official's arm. Moss was ejected with 1:54 remaining.

Moss also will have to pay $15,000 as part of an agreement he made after last season. He was fined $40,000 for squirting an official with a water bottle in the Vikings' NFC divisional playoff game against St. Louis last season, but that penalty was reduced to $25,000 on the condition that Moss have no further problems with officials.

Moss was fined $10,000 last November for abusing an official in Chicago.

BILLS: Quarterback Doug Flutie will start his third straight game in place of Rob Johnson, whose injured right shoulder hasn't recovered fully.

BROWNS: President Carmen Policy guaranteed that coach Chris Palmer's job is secure for at least another season.

"We haven't even considered the fact that he wouldn't be here next year," Policy said.

The Browns have a six-game losing streak.

COWBOYS: Quarterback Randall Cunningham will start Sunday against the Eagles because Troy Aikman missed his second straight practice with a back injury. ... Defensive tackle Chad Hennings has begun to look into spinal surgery to resume his career. "Surgery would not end his career," owner Jerry Jones said, adding that "we think he's going to miss the rest of the season." Hennings, 35, will seek a second medical opinion today for what is being called a "nerve irritation in the neck." He played Sunday against Jacksonville.

GIANTS: Kickoff returner Ron Dixon sprained his right foot in a collision Wednesday with safety Sam Garnes. Cornerback Andre Weathers, who just returned to the lineup after reconstructive knee surgery, needs another operation and was placed on injured reserve.

JETS: Linebacker John Abraham is scheduled to have surgery today on an abdominal strain diagnosed as a "sports hernia" and will be out seven to eight weeks.

PACKERS: Dorsey Levens missed a second straight practice and is questionable for Monday night's game because of a bruised right kneecap. The team has begun talks with his agent, Hadley Engelhard, in hopes of restructuring Levens' contract, which calls for him to make $6-million next season.

PANTHERS: Reggie White responded to criticism from Rams coach Mike Martz who questioned his performance in his comeback season.

"You know when it's all over, my record speaks for itself," the 38-year-old White said. "So it doesn't make a difference what anybody says."

Martz said Wednesday that the NFL's career sacks leader was "very inconsistent" this season and is "a guy that is at the end of his career."

REDSKINS: Jeff George will start Sunday's game at Arizona after Brad Johnson missed his second straight practice with a sprained knee ligament.

Just before practice, George received word his newborn baby apparently has recovered from breathing problems. After practice, as George hurried to the hospital to be with his wife and 1-day old son.

Turner said there were concerns about the baby's "irregular breathing." George spent part of his lunch hour on the phone with his wife and was the first player off the field following practice.

SEAHAWKS: Running back Ricky Watters missed his second straight practice, and is questionable for Sunday's game.

Watters, hobbled by an injury to the big toe on his right foot, last missed a game on Christmas Day 1993. Since then, he has started 106 consecutive games, the longest current streak among running backs. Shaun Alexander practiced with the first team, and will start if Watters is unable to play. Quarterback Brock Huard (concussion) also did not practice.

AWARDS: Colts running back Edgerrin James was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter (defense), Titans kick returner Derrick Mason (special teams) also won awards. In the NFC, Rams running back Marshall Faulk won the award for offense, with Saints defensive tackle La'Roi Glover (defense) and Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica (special teams) taking honors.

CARRUTH TRIAL: Eleven jurors have been chosen for the murder trial of Rae Carruth, leaving one more juror and four alternates to be picked before testimony begins.

Carruth, 26, a former wide receiver for the Panthers, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cherica Adams, 24.

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