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Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Veteran QB George joins Raiders

Collins also returns to league - with Titans; Jaguars lose running back Jones

August 29, 2006

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Jeff George never doubted he had what it took to be an NFL quarterback, even when he was coaching the run-and-shoot offense last year for his son's fourth-grade team.

The former No. 1 overall pick and strong-armed passer who bounced around the league for more than a decade is back after signing a contract with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, nearly five years after he last threw an NFL pass.

"I always thought I should've been out there - for whatever reason, I wasn't," George said. "I was out last year. It's tough watching TV and seeing the guys ... and you're not part of that. So I'm just very thankful this organization believed in me and allowed me another opportunity, because I don't know where I'd be without them."

George, the top pick by Indianapolis in 1990, previously played for Oakland in 1997-98, and is mostly an insurance policy for the Raiders, who already have Aaron Brooks, Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo on the roster.

Brooks has played well the past two preseason games and will open the season as the starter, and Walter is viewed as Oakland's quarterback of the future.

Walter missed the last preseason game with a sore right shoulder, but practiced Monday and said he felt fine and should play this week. Shell said the main reason to sign George was to get him familiar with the system in case they needed him later this season.

"It's a precaution for us to bring a guy like that in because you can lose a quarterback," Shell said. "And then when you lose one you have to have somebody ready to go. Even if he doesn't stick with us, there'll be somebody out there that knows a little bit about our system."

George made a few throws in the portion of practice that was open to the media, including two sharp passes deep down the middle of the field.

"I've always been intrigued by the guy, to be honest with you," Shell said. "He still has that zip, he still has that quick release and was very impressive."

Titans

Kerry Collins also is back in the NFL.

Collins, who spent the last two seasons with Oakland, signed with Tennessee, which decided it needed more experience after trading away Steve McNair.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Collins met with offensive coordinator Norm Chow for about an hour and would be at practice Tuesday. Fisher said Billy Volek remains the starter for now, with rookie Vince Young backing him up while Collins learns the offense.

"Billy's got some competition," Fisher said. "I've spoken with Billy. Billy's not too awfully pleased with it. But that's life in the National Football League."

Collins went 7-21 as the starter in Oakland the past two years, but became a salary-cap casualty, saving the Raiders $9.2 million. He completed 302 passes for 3,759 yards in 2005 and 20 touchdowns, but was sacked 39 times and threw 12 interceptions.

The 11-year veteran Collins has started 145 of 152 games and played for Carolina, New Orleans, the New York Giants and Raiders. He has thrown for 33,637 yards, 173 touchdowns and 166 interceptions in a career that includes leading Carolina to an NFC championship game and the Giants to a Super Bowl they lost to Baltimore.

Jaguars

Running back Greg Jones will be lost for the season, depriving Jacksonville of the main alternative to injury-prone starter Fred Taylor.

Jones was also the starting fullback, forcing the Jaguars to make adjustments at two positions.

Derrick Wimbush now will become the fullback, and LaBrandon Toefield will move up to No. 2 running back behind Taylor.

"It's unfortunate," coach Jack Del Rio said after tests revealed Jones tore an anterior cruciate ligaments against Tampa Bay on Saturday night. "He's a great football player."

Dolphins

Even after moving to St. Louis from South Florida, Scott Linehan still finds himself dealing with a hurricane threat.

The Rams' new coach monitored Tropical Storm Ernesto on Monday, hoping the storm wouldn't disrupt his team's final exhibition game Thursday at Miami.

Linehan was the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator last year, when Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma struck South Florida.

The Rams are scheduled to fly to South Florida on Wednesday. Ernesto was forecast to hit South Florida late today or early Wednesday.

Browns

Cornerback Gary Baxter practiced for the first time since straining his left pectoral muscle in an exhibition Aug. 10 against Philadelphia, and proclaimed himself ready for the Sept. 10 opener against the Saints.

"I'm pushing it as best I can and I felt really good," Baxter said after coming off the field. "I think, well, I know I will be ready for the first game."

Texans

Wide receiver Derick Armstrong and linebacker Barrett Green were among 13 players cut.

Armstrong spent the past three seasons in Houston. He appeared in 13 games and had nine catches for 115 yards in 2005. He has 45 receptions for 605 yards and two touchdowns in his career.

Green, a seven-year veteran, had recovered from knee surgery that kept him out of six games in 2004 and all but one game last season and ultimately cost him his job in New York.

Seahawks

Injured tight end Itula Mili may be back for Seattle's season opener at Detroit on Sept. 10. Coach Mike Holmgren said initial fears following Saturday night's exhibition loss at San Diego that Mili had cartilage damage in his left knee had been allayed.

Mili, being counted on to start in place of the injured Jerramy Stevens, has a sprained knee. Stevens is expected to miss another month with a knee injury.

Holmgren announced veteran safety Mike Green, acquired from Chicago in April, likely will miss the entire season after tearing ligaments in his left foot against the Chargers.

Also, safety Michael Boulware, who played most of the Super Bowl on a frayed knee, is back with the starters after offseason surgery. And Jordan Babineaux began practicing more Monday at safety.

Former Chiefs starting safety Shaunard Harts was among the 15 Seahawks cut.

Chargers

Backup A.J. Feeley was waived, leaving San Diego with three quarterbacks who have zero NFL starts and one touchdown pass among them.

The Chargers also waived kicker Kurt Smith, a sixth-round draft choice, and offensive lineman Jimmy Martin, a seventh-round pick. San Diego also learned it will be without left tackle Roman Oben for the season's first six weeks after placing him on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Inside linebacker Donnie Edwards, on the trading block since spring, returned to practice after being sidelined for several weeks due to a back injury.

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