Vick recovering from stomach flu

Updated: January 8, 2005, 1:16 AM ET
Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons: Falcons quarterback Michael Vick returned to practice Friday, a day after missing a workout because of the stomach flu.

"He looked really, really sharp," quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson said. "We couldn't be happier with his work today."

Vick, selected last month to his second Pro Bowl, skipped a game two weeks ago at New Orleans because of a bruised shoulder. He started last week at Seattle and directed two scoring drives in three possessions.

Atlanta had a 10-point lead late in the second quarter when coach Jim Mora replaced Vick with rookie Matt Schaub. The Seahawks won 28-26.

The Falcons (11-5) are off until Jan. 15, when they will face Green Bay, St. Louis or Seattle in the second round of the NFC playoffs.

Vick led the NFL with 7.5 yards per carry and rushed for 902 overall, the third-best season for a quarterback.

New York Jets: Jets defensive end John Abraham and receiver Wayne Chrebet were downgraded to questionable Friday, the day before their wild-card game against San Diego.

Abraham and Chrebet had been listed as probable all week, but coach Herman Edwards cast doubt on their situation Thursday when he said the status of both players would be a game-time decision. Abraham has missed the last month with a sprained right knee, and said earlier this week he would only play if he was feeling 80 percent or better.

Chrebet sustained a mild concussion last weekend against St. Louis. The 10-year veteran has a history of concussions, and missed the final eight games of last season with postconcussion syndrome.

Tennessee Titans: Tennessee quarterback Billy Volek had surgery Friday to repair a severely separated throwing shoulder.

Volek was hit in the fourth quarter of the Titans' 24-19 victory over Detroit on Sunday, separating his right shoulder where the joint meets the clavicle. Coach Jeff Fisher said the injury affected Volek's throwing mechanics and rotator cuff.

Volek was to spend Friday night in the hospital, and his recovery is expected to take three to four months. He started eight games this season in place of Steve McNair, who had surgery to graft bone to his sternum last week.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints said they would be willing to push back the deadline the team had set for the state to complete a renegotiation of the NFL club's Louisiana Superdome lease.

After initially setting a Feb. 1 deadline, team officials said in a written statement that they now would be willing to talk with Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration until March 1. But the team said the new date was important because league meetings are scheduled for March 20.

Saints owner Tom Benson has said he would like to bid for New Orleans to host the Super Bowl in 2010 but needs to have a long-term deal in New Orleans before the league will consider bringing the NFL title game back to the stadium that has hosted it seven times.

Blanco expects to present the state's latest proposal to the Saints as early as next week.

An overview released by Blanco's office on Friday afternoon outlined a nearly $170 million renovation of the Superdome, meant to modernize the stadium in a way that will allow the Saints to make much more money there.

Long-time broadcaster Diliberto dies
Saints radio commentator Buddy Diliberto -- better known as "Buddy D" -- who listened to loyal fans praise and berate the team and often offered a little colorful advice of his own for the coaches, died Friday. He was 73.

Diliberto had been in failing health for some time and the cause of death was an apparent heart attack, WWL-TV reported. In 1997, he had bypass surgery following a series of heart attacks.

Diliberto began his career as a sportswriter for The New Orleans Times-Picayune while attending Loyola University in 1950. He also served as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes during the Korean War and suffered shrapnel wounds that earned him a Purple Heart.

He later went on to broadcasting and served as sports director and sports anchors for WVUE-TV and WDSU-TV before joining WWL radio in 1991.

His career was almost as colorful as his commentary. Diliberto was banned from the Saints' team plane for criticism of the organization under their first owner, John Mecom. And it was Buddy D who after a 1-15 season in 1980 established the "bagheads" -- fans who wear paper bags over their heads as a mark of shame. He also promised fans he'd wear a dress if the Saints ever went to the Super Bowl.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press