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Archive for Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NFL briefs

October 10, 2006

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The New England Patriots signed former Houston Texans wide receiver Jabar Gaffney on Monday to shore up their thin group at that position.

The Patriots also released defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan and cornerback Hank Poteat.

After five games, New England's wide receivers have just 41 catches. The team lost its top two players at that spot when Deion Branch was traded to Seattle after the first game of the season following a lengthy holdout, and David Givens signed as a free agent with Tennessee.

Gaffney, 25, was Houston's second-round draft choice in 2002 and started 50 games in four seasons with the Texans. He caught 171 passes for 2,009 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, Gaffney had a career-high 55 receptions for 492 yards and two touchdowns.

Gaffney signed as a free agent with Philadelphia in the offseason, but was cut in September.

In June, Gaffney was arrested following a traffic stop in New Jersey for unlawful possession of a handgun. Gaffney was registered to carry the weapon in Texas, but not New Jersey. His attorney said Gaffney would apply for a first-time offenders' program in which the charges would eventually be dismissed, but the outcome of the case was not immediately known Monday.

"We really have four receivers on the team," coach Bill Belichick said. "I think that's a little on the light side."

Sullivan, a first-round draft pick by New Orleans in 2003, was acquired before the season for wide receiver Bethel Johnson. Sullivan was inactive for all five games.

Poteat signed with the Patriots before the 2004 playoffs and was released Aug. 29. The Patriots re-signed him Sept. 27 and he started one of the two games he played this season.

Lions

The Lions may have to take on Buffalo without three starting offensive linemen.

With Rex Tucker (knee) and Ross Verba (hamstring) already sidelined, Detroit lost guard Damien Woody to a sprained left foot early in Sunday's 26-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Rod Marinelli said Monday there was a "good possibility" that all three would be out against Buffalo.

Texans

Houston signed fullback Vonta Leach on Monday in the latest effort to jump-start the stalled running game.

Leach played the past two seasons in Green Bay before being released last month and spending 11 days with the Saints. He appeared in one game for the Packers this season and never played for the Saints.

Redskins

John Hall is hurt again, forcing the Redskins to consider auditioning kickers for next week's game against the Titans.

Hall has two injuries in his kicking leg, a strained groin and a strained quadriceps. He complained of a tired leg late last week, and the leg became sore during Sunday's loss to New York.

"Right now we have to list this as something that's a real concern for us," coach Joe Gibbs said Monday.

Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, who has missed two games due to a strained right calf, strained his left calf Sunday. Defensive end Phillip Daniels hurt his shoulder and underwent an MRI, but is expected to play next week.

Titans

Receiver David Givens will miss a second straight game due to his injured left thumb, and left guard Zach Piller likely will miss a third week with his damaged left ankle.

Givens had a pin inserted into his thumb last week, while Piller sought a second opinion for a sprained ankle. Brandon Jones replaced Givens against Indianapolis, and right tackle Jacob Bell moved over as a fill-in for Piller.

Colts

Coach Tony Dungy said Monday he expects injured kicker Adam Vinatieri (groin) to be ready when the Colts host Washington on Oct. 22, meaning Martin Gramatica would be released to open a roster spot.

Dungy also expects defensive back Bob Sanders to play against Washington. Sanders missed the last three games because of a knee injury.

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