QB more concerned with family issues

Originally Published: October 28, 2003
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Washington Redskins: Preoccupied by family issues, and seriously contemplating the end altogether to his football career, quarterback Danny Wuerffel has turned down a contract offer to rejoin the Redskins.

Wuerffel was with the team in 2002, and again in training camp this summer, but was released in the final roster reduction before the start of the season. With the release last week of backup Rob Johnson, the Redskins had no backup on the roster with any regular season experience, and offered Wuerffel a deal through this season, worth $305,000. It would have been a minimum-salary deal prorated over the team's remaining nine games.

But agent Mike Moye informed the team that Wuerffel, the former Heisman Trophy star who played for Washington coach Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida, chose not to accept the Redskins' proposal.

The career backup has been in New Orleans performing ministry work and his wife is pregnant as well. Spurrier hinted that Wuerffel may soon retire, but sources close to the quarterback said no determination has been made in that regard.

Wuerffel's decision means that, beyond starter Patrick Ramsey, the Redskins do not have a quarterback who has taken a snap in a regular-season game. The club signed free agent Tim Hasselbeck, a former Boston College starter, last week after releasing Johnson. The Redskins may also promote seventh-round draft pick Gibran Hamdan, who knows the offense better than Hasselbeck at this point, from their practice squad.

In related news, it appears starting halfback Trung Canidate and top reserve Ladell Betts will miss this weekend's game at Dallas, which would leave third-down specialist Chad Morton and fullback Rock Cartwright to split the ball-carrying load. The Redskins have released offensive lineman Mitch White, signed last week, and re-signed Brad Bedell.

The Redskins also signed cornerback Calvin Carlyle and released linebacker Orantes Grant.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Linebacker T.J. Slaughter was cut Tuesday, a day after he was arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at two men passing him in a car.

Slaughter, a fourth-year veteran, is free on bond while prosecutors decide whether to charge him. He could face a felony charge of aggravated assault, or a misdemeanor charge of improper exhibition of a firearm.

The men told police they drove up alongside Slaughter on a highway Sunday night and tried to complement him about his wheel rims. That's when, the men said, Slaughter rolled down his window and pointed a handgun at them.

Slaughter denied showing the gun, but told police he did carry a gun in the center console of his vehicle, authorities said.

A third-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2000, Slaughter started 29 games but opened this season as a backup. He had 18 tackles and one sack for the Jaguars this season. Last year, he was suspended four games for violating the league's steroid policy.

--Associated Press

Houston Texans: After starting the first 23 contests of his young NFL career, it appears Texans quarterback David Carr will be forced to the sideline by a high ankle sprain. Carr, the only starting quarterback to date in franchise history, suffered the injury to his right ankle in Sunday's loss at Indianapolis.

A Monday re-evaluation of the ankle, which included an MRI exam, indicated the ankle is not as severely damaged as originally believed. Carr insisted on Tuesday that he will try to play, and is receiving near-round the clock treatment, but the odds that he will be sufficiently recovered to face the Carolina Panthers are remote.

"I want to be 100 percent when I come back," said Carr, who will be listed as "doubtful" on the official injury report that will be posted Wednesday morning. "I will be very, very surprised if I'm not back by the Cincinnati game [on Nov. 9]."

Assuming that Carr cannot play, journeyman veteran Tony Banks will start and rookie Dave Ragone will serve as the primary backup. Banks has started 75 games during his eight-year career. But he did not take a snap at all in 2002, has played sparingly in '03, and has not started a regular-season game since the 2001 finale with Washington.

St. Louis Rams: The surging Rams, now tied for the lead in the NFC West, figure to see their ranks boosted for this weekend's game at San Francisco, with the anticipated returns of tailback Marshall Faulk and strong safety Adam Archuleta. There is also a chance that cornerback Travis Fisher will be back in the lineup and that free safety Jason Sehorn, who has not played yet this year after suffering a fractured foot in training camp, might be able to participate in some situational circumstances.

Faulk has missed the past four games with hand and knee injuries, but the Rams have been able to maintain a balanced offense with backups Lamar Gordon and Arlen Harris at the tailback spot. Archuleta has missed two games with a sprained ankle. He is the Rams best tackler in the secondary.

"I'm getting tired of being the assistant running backs coach, standing around and just watching the other guys," said Faulk, who has been able to participate in some segments of practice the last two weeks. "It's time to get back out there."

St. Louis could be without defensive linemen Leonard Little (torn pectoral muscle) and Damione Lewis (ankle sprain) for the game.

Oakland Raiders: Raiders signed defensive tackle Sean Gilbert on Tuesday to bolster their depleted defensive line.

The 33-year-old Gilbert hasn't played in 2003 after spending the previous five seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The Raiders, reeling at 2-5, have worked out several players in recent days.

Defensive tackle John Parrella has a torn groin muscle and it's unclear when he will return or whether his injury will require surgery. DT Dana Stubblefield is recovering from an ankle injury and defensive end Sam Williams' knee is hurting.

New York Jets: ESPN.com has learned that defensive tackle Josh Evans, suspended by the league indefinitely, will meet with NFL officials next week and likely will be reinstated. Evans, twice suspended earlier in his career, could be back at practice with the Jets by next week.

The return of Evans, who led New York defensive linemen with 58 tackles last season and also collected a career-best six sacks, would be a significant boost for a Jets unit that has again struggled versus the run. It would permit a solid three-man tackle rotation that would include Jason Ferguson and first-round draft choice Dewayne Robertson.

Evans has been working out regularly in the hope he would be reinstated around the middle of the season.

Defensive end John Abraham will miss the game against the New York Giants on Sunday with a strained right groin.

The Jets said Tuesday that results from an MRI exam showed the strain. He will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

Tennessee Titans: Oliver Luck, the former Houston Oilers quarterback and NFL Europe League official, will not be joining the Titans' front office, as had been anticipated.

Just two weeks ago, Titans owner Bud Adams announced that he had retained Luck, who is currently the chief executive officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, to wrap up negotiations with the Gaylord Entertainment Center for the arena league team Adams hopes to place there. But in a surprising move, Luck declined to accept the post with the Titans, after much consideration.

There have been widespread rumors that Luck was being groomed to assume the role of Titans team president in 2004. Current team president Jeff Diamond is in the final season of his contract and the consensus is he will not be back with the Titans next year.

Carolina Panthers: Despite a second concussion in two weeks, middle linebacker Dan Morgan is expected to practice this week, even though his status for the Panthers' game Sunday with the Houston Texans has not yet been determined.

Morgan exited last Sunday's game at New Orleans after a collision with Saints wideout Joe Horn in the end zone. Morgan has suffered a spate of injuries since entering the NFL as the Panthers' first-round choice in the 2001 draft, and part of his bad luck might be the reckless manner in which he performs.

"I would like to think it's more a case of bad luck," coach John Fox said. "This is a pretty violent game. It's a physical game and injuries are a part of it. I'm sure it is frustrating for him, but I don't think he is doing wrong, or that we're doing wrong (in playing him)."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Safety John Lynch and receiver Joe Jurevicius are expected to return to practice this week, coach Jon Gruden said Monday in a St. Petersburg Times report.

Lynch missed Sunday's 16-0 victory against the Cowboys with a damaged nerve in his right shoulder. Jurevicius has missed five games since tearing the MCL in his right knee Sept.14.

The status of both was upgraded for Sunday's game against the Saints -- Lynch to probable and Jurevicius to questionable.

Jones a free agent: Offensive tackle Kenyatta Jones, released over the weekend by the New England Patriots, has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team now. That the talented Jones was not claimed on waivers is likely a reflection of the fact he faces assault charges following a recent incident in which he allegedly dumped scalding water on a live-in assistant.

Jones had been on the physically unable to perform list, rehabilitating from surgeries to both knees, and was ready to resume practicing this week.

As a former starter, and at a position that is difficult to fill, Jones probably will generate interest as a free agent. Most teams, however, will delay in working him out until legal charges are resolved. Agent Hadley Engelhard told ESPN.com that he already has fielded inquiries from several teams about his client.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints suspended DT Grady Jackson for one game, meaning he will miss Sunday's game against defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

Saints officials said Jackson was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" but offered no details.

He was suspended without pay.

Jackson and his agent Bus Cook did not return calls from the Associated Press.

Jackson missed Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers after surgery to correct a sprained ligament in small finger of his left hand. Coach Jim Haslett and other team officials believe Jackson could have played with the injury. Jackson had surgery Wednesday to reattach the ligament.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings waived kickoff specialist Jose Cortez on Tuesday.

Cortez was signed Oct. 17 to relieve Aaron Elling of his kickoff duties while the rookie recovered from back spasms. Elling, who kicked for Wyoming in college, continued to handle field goals and extra points, and he was healthy enough this week for the Vikings to let go of Cortez.

The team will decide Wednesday how to fill his roster spot, probably by activating running back Michael Bennett, coach Mike Tice said. Bennett is expected to make his first appearance of the season Sunday night against Green Bay after recovering from a broken left foot.

--Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles: Philadelphia put defensive lineman Hollis Thomas on injured reserve today and signed veteran Jim Flanigan to take his place.

Thomas needs season-ending surgery after tearing his left biceps in the final minute of Philadelphia's victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

Thomas, a key run stopper, becomes the fourth member of the Eagles' defensive line to be lost for the season. Defensive ends Derrick Burgess and Jamaal Green went down in the preseason and defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis was hurt in the second week of the season.

--Associated Press

Buffalo Bills: Safety Lawyer Milloy was fined $25,000 for knocking over an official in Buffalo's 24-7 win against Washington on Oct. 19.

Milloy wasn't penalized for the play, and declined to comment on Tuesday.

The NFL said it happened during a running play in the third quarter in which Milloy made "impermissible physical contact with a game official."

Milloy is the second Bills player in consecutive weeks to receive the same fine. Safety Izell Reese was fined for impermissible contact during Buffalo's 30-3 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 12.

--Associated Press

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