Kansas City, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel acts like he’s ready to play. He hasn’t missed a practice this week. He knows the game plan. He’s said the right things, that he feels good enough to go.
Now, it’s up to the coaches.
“As long as I’m able to walk and get out there, I will be ready to go,” Cassel said Thursday. “It’s up to them to pull me back.”
So does that mean Cassel will play Sunday against Baltimore? Too early to tell.
Cassel sprained his left knee in Kansas City’s third preseason game Aug. 29. He returned to practice Monday and was on the field the past two days. Though he’s getting better every day, Cassel’s been limited in what drills he can participate in, leaving the coaches with a hazy plan against the Ravens and their rugged defense.
“I think this is something that will go down to the wire with the quarterback,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. “On game day, we’ll still be trying to figure it out.”
Cassel talks like he’ll be able to play, given the chance. He’s been wearing a brace since returning to practice and has gradually become involved in more drills. He’s also eager to show everyone what he can do after signing a six-year, $63 million contract in the offseason.
Haley’s decision isn’t just limited to Cassel. He still doesn’t know if Brodie Croyle or Tyler Thigpen will start if Cassel isn’t able to play.
Madden to be adviser
New York — Hall of Fame coach John Madden will serve as a special adviser to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The league said Thursday that as part of his unpaid position Madden will chair the coaches group in the competition committee. Madden also will participate in meetings of a general managers committee and be part of a weekly call with Goodell or another NFL official to discuss issues from the previous week’s games.
Online replays offered
New York — NFL fans whose local teams’ games are blacked out will be able to watch replays online for free — though not until after midnight.
Vikings drop WR Wade
Eden Prairie, Minn. — Bobby Wade agreed to dock his pay last week. Then came the bigger cut. The Minnesota Vikings released the seventh-year veteran wide receiver Thursday and signed free agent Greg Lewis instead, preferring Lewis’ versatility in the offense and on special teams.
Raiders re-sign DT Joseph
Alameda, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders re-signed defensive tackle William Joseph on Thursday while Richard Seymour remained a no-show four days before the team’s season opener. Joseph was cut by the Raiders on Sunday after the team acquired Seymour from New England in exchange for its first-round draft pick in 2011.
Sabbatini, Marino tied
Lemont, Ill. — Two days after being left off the Presidents Cup team, Rory Sabbatini had seven birdies in a round of 5-under 66 to share the lead with Steve Marino in the BMW Championship.
Among those one shot behind was Marc Leishman, who qualified for the third playoff event by making an eagle on his final hole last week. Tiger Woods opened with a 3-under 68 and was two shots behind.
Meche probably finished
Kansas City, Mo. — Royals starter Gil Meche probably is done for the year with a shoulder problem, and fellow right-hander Brian Bannister is flying to New York for a second opinion on his shoulder.
Royals manager Trey Hillman said on Thursday that Meche would most likely be shut down for the final weeks of the season. He declined to speculate on whether Bannister would need surgery. Meche is 6-10 with a 5.09 earned-run average, and Bannister is 7-12, 4.73.
Del Potro reaches semis
New York — Juan Martin del Potro reached the the U.S. Open semifinals Thursday, thanks to a wind-swept 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 quarterfinal victory over 16th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia.
What the sixth-seeded del Potro still did not know by the end of the night, however, as rain washed over Flushing Meadows: the opponent he will have to beat to reach his first Grand Slam final. That’s because the quarterfinal between six-time major champion Rafael Nadal and 2007 Australian Open runner-up Fernando Gonzalez was postponed by showers during the second set.
Nadal won the opening set in a tiebreaker. The second interruption came at about 10:20 p.m., with Nadal holding a 3-2 lead in the second-set tiebreaker.
St. James, Mo. — Britain’s Mark Cavendish withdrew from the Tour of Missouri on Thursday because of an infection his team said had spread to his lungs. Cavendish, a sprint specialist widely considered one of cycling’s fastest riders, had been second overall after winning the first two stages and finishing fifth Wednesday. Argentina’s Juan Jose Haedo edged Norwegian Thor Hushovd with a powerful uphill kick to win the stage.
Grizzlies sign Iverson
Memphis, Tenn. — Allen Iverson says he has one goal in signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. He wants to win. The Grizzlies announced they had signed the former NBA MVP and 10-time All Star on Thursday.
Refs bracing for lockout
NBA referees are prepared to be locked out for the start of the season after negotiations with the league on a new contract broke down this week when David Stern ended the latest bargaining session. No further talks are scheduled — and when they do resume, it’ll be without the commissioner.