Valet imposter reportedly steals receiver's SUV

Originally Published: December 31, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Washington Redskins: Rod Gardner's SUV was stolen Thursday night when the Redskins receiver gave his keys to someone impersonating a valet outside a Washington, D.C., nightclub, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Gardner denied the incident when asked about it, but law enforcement officials confirmed to the Post that Garnder had filed a report with them.

Gardner's black GMC Envoy Denali was recovered a few hours after reportedly being stolen. Polic recovered the vehicle at FedEx Field, where the Redskins play their home games, though several items were missing from the SUV, including its tires.

Gardner said police must have confused him with someone else with the same last name.

"I don't know where that [report] came from," Gardner told the paper when asked about the robbery. He said the information was incorrect and that police had confused him with someone named "Derrick Gardner."

However, police said Gardner gave his name to authorities, listed FedEx Field as his address and listed his occupation as a football player

Seattle Seahawks: Mike Holmgren said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck isn't 100 percent because of his elbow injury but will start Sunday against the Falcons. Hasselbeck handled most of the snaps Friday.

Holmgren also said that Walter Jones will start at left tackle despite an ankle injury that has him listed as questionable. Cornerback Bobby Taylor did some work on his sore knee but he's expected to wait until the playoffs to return.

Fullback Heath Evans (ankle) is questionable but he will be available.
-- ESPN.com's John Clayton

San Francisco 49ers: Niners quarterback Tim Rattay was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, the Providence Journal reported.

Ken Dorsey will start for San Francisco against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Rattay was plagued by injuries throughout his first season atop the 49ers' depth chart at quaterback. He started just nine games, sidelined by a strained forearm suffered in training camp, a separated shoulder sustained in the season opener and torn muscles in his foot suffered earlier this month, according to the Journal.

Rattay passed for 2,169 yards and 10 touchdowns but was intercepted 10 times and sacked 37 times. He had surgery Tuesday to relieve stress in his forearm but is expected to be healed in time for minicamps.

Dorsey will make his seventh start of the season.

Rattay is the 11th player placed on injured reserve by the 49ers. The others are five prominent defensive starters -- linebackers Julian Peterson and Jamie Winborn, cornerbacks Ahmed Plummer and Mike Rumph and defensive end Andre Carter.

Chicago Bears: The Bears agreed to a five-year contract extension with punter Brad Maynard on Friday.

Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

Maynard, an alternate for the Pro Bowl this season, is averaging a career-high 38.8 yards per punt and has dropped a league-leading 31 punts inside the 20-yard line. Since entering the NFL in 1997, Maynard leads all punters with 239 punts inside the 20, including 116 since joining the Bears in 2001.

Maynard punted for the Giants from 1997-2000.

Cleveland Browns: Browns interim coach Terry Robiskie is advising his players to take a break from football after the season ends.

For four years under ex-coach Butch Davis, Browns players reported to offseason conditioning more than a month before the official program kicked off in March.

"I've never been on a team where guys come back so early," Robiskie said. "We've got guys last year who came back the last week of January and were lifting, running. I've never been anywhere where guys did it so long so hard."

Robiskie didn't blame Davis' strict regimen on the team's chronic injuries. But he didn't rule it out as a possible cause, either.

"There's only so much a body's got in it. There's only so many lifts, so many pumps, so many jogs," Robiskie said. "There's only so many days your body can take it."

The Browns rank second in the league with 15 players on injured reserve. Eight of them are starters. In the four seasons under Davis, the Browns averaged 13 players on injured reserve.

Robiskie said if he were the full-time head coach, shortening the offseason program would be high on his list of changes.

  • Quarterback Kelly Holcomb had a good practice Friday and will likely start against the Houston Texans in the Browns' season finale Sunday.

    Holcomb tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes in his last start, a 58-48 loss at Cincinnati on Nov. 28, but sustained cracked ribs. Rookie Luke McCown started the past four weeks.

    "We're going to go with a veteran guy, go with Kelly and see if he can give us a lift and help us try to win the game," Robiskie said.

    Holcomb will try to snap Cleveland's nine-game losing streak. He has practiced the last two weeks and plans to wear a protective pad on his left side that attaches to his shoulder pads.

    Atlanta Falcons: Tight end Alge Crumpler practiced for the first time Thursday since injuring his knee against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 18, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

    Crumpler is among five Falcons listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he is considered the least likely to play.

    Cornerback Jason Webster (groin), running back T.J. Duckett (knee), defensive tackle Ed Jasper (hand) and quarterback Michael Vick (shoulder) all practiced, were also listed as questionable but are expected to play, according to the paper's report.

    Baltimore Ravens: Ravens coach Brian Billick disputed reports Thursday that offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh had been fired, the Baltimore Sun reported.

    Baltimore-area television stations reported Wednesday that Cavanaugh would be let go at the end of the season. A team source told The Sun that no decision had been made but that Cavanaught was "unlikely" to return.

    "The reports that say Matt Cavanaugh is now fired, that there's a specific timetable to it, are wrong," Billick told The Sun.

    Cavanaugh declined to comment to the paper while walking off the practice field Thursday.

    "There is one and only one source with regards to the status of my coaches," Billick said. "I've made it very, very clear that we will address that issue at the end of the season."

    Carolina Panthers: Linebacker Mark Fields was fined $5,000 by the NFL for unnecessary roughness in last weekend's victory over Tampa Bay.

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the fine was issued this week.

    Fields' sack of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese resulted in unnecessary roughness. He grabbed Griese's face mask and unnecessarily twisted his head, said league spokesman Michael Signora.

    The play came with one minute left in the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Fields blitzed and sacked Griese for an 11-yard loss, but he was flagged for a 15-yard face-mask penalty that gave Tampa Bay a first down.

    The Panthers beat the Buccaneers 37-20.

    Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals placed offensive tackle Leonard Davis on injured reserve Friday and moved cornerback Clarence Curry from the practice squad to the active roster.

    Davis has been bothered by torn cartilage in his left knee. He has started the past 15 games for Arizona at left tackle.

    Curry, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Villanova, was with the Cardinals in training camp. He was released on Aug. 22 and signed to the practice squad on Nov. 30.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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