Rams decide to stick with Bulger

Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Marc Bulger will lead the St. Louis Rams, at least for next week, while healthy quarterback Kurt Warner watches from the sideline.

Coach Mike Martz picked Bulger over the two-time MVP on Monday, a day after Bulger played well in the second half of the Rams' 27-24 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

''Marc Bulger will be our quarterback this week,'' Martz said. ''Where that goes, who knows? How long that is, let's not worry about it.''

Warner sustained a concussion in the first half of the opening 23-13 loss to the Giants, but has not missed any practice and ran the scout team last week.

Martz said he made the decision in the ''best interests'' of the team.

The overriding factor: Bulger moved the team. He lost two fumbles in the first half, but was 15-for-17 for 155 yards the rest of the way.

Bulger is 7-1 as the Rams starter the past two seasons. Warner is 0-7 in that span and fumbled six times in the opener.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Wide receiver Joe Jurevicius has a torn ligament in his right knee and will be out four-to-six weeks. The injury will not require surgery.

Jurevicius was hurt in a collision with Bucs fullback Mike Alstott during Tampa Bay's 12-9 overtime loss to Carolina.

Coach Jon Gruden said Monday he will explore the prospect of signing a receiver. Andre Rison worked out for the Super Bowl champions last month, but Gruden would not say if he planned to contact him again.


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Michael Vick's return to the field is still at least a month away.

The target date for the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback to make his regular-season debut is Oct. 13 at St. Louis. But coach Dan Reeves said it's more realistic that Vick would play the week after when the Falcons host New Orleans.

''I know he couldn't put a shoe on to take the team picture on Saturday, so if you can't put your shoe on, I don't know what that means with how long that's going to be before he can play,'' Reeves said.

''It doesn't sound good, but if it's been four weeks and they're saying six weeks then he's going to have to make a miraculous recovery in the next few weeks.''

Vick broke a bone in his lower right leg during a preseason game Aug. 16.

Outside linebacker Will Overstreet had his left arm in a sling Monday because of a staph infection that developed from a cut on his elbow.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis will have surgery Wednesday for his torn left Achilles' tendon and most likely is out for the season.

Grasmanis was injured in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 31-10 loss to New England on Sunday.

It was the latest injury for a Philadelphia defense already decimated by injuries.

All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins, Pro Bowl cornerback Bobby Taylor, and defensive ends Brandon Whiting, Derrick Burgess, Jamaal Green and Jerome McDougle have all missed game with injuries. None played Sunday. Burgess (Achilles' tendon) and Green (leg) are out for the year.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Defensive end Kavika Pittman will miss the rest of the season with torn knee ligaments, an injury the Panthers contend stemmed from a chop-block by Tampa Bay's Keenan McCardell.

McCardell denied any wrongdoing.

''I remember it clearly, it was a cut-off block, and seriously, it wasn't meant to be that way,'' McCardell said Monday. ''It happened. It's my job to cut him and I did. There wasn't a flag. Even when they look at, it's not illegal. It's a cut-off block.''

The Panthers are also sending in a clip of an exchange between Tampa Bay's Kenyatta Walker and Carolina's Julius Peppers. Carolina says Walker hit him in the face several times.


DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Miami Dolphins backup quarterback Brian Griese has resumed throwing on a limited basis but won't practice this week, coach Dave Wannstedt said.

Griese has been sidelined since sustaining ligament damage in his left big toe during a preseason game Aug. 22.

The protective boot Griese was wearing came off last week, and he threw during warmup drills before Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) Jets cornerback Donnie Abraham underwent tests on his injured right shoulder and his status is uncertain for this weekend's game against New England.

Coach Herman Edwards said Abraham had an MRI and CT scan. Edwards did not know the severity of the injury but said surgery is possible. Though test results were not available, it is possible Abraham could be out four-to-six weeks.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee got mixed news when a test showed right guard Benji Olson didn't tear a ligament in his right knee, but defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth might miss two weeks with a dislocated left elbow.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Olson has a third-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his knee but no damage to the anterior cruciate ligament. Whether he is able to play next week against New Orleans remains to be seen.

Fisher said quarterback Steve McNair had swelling in his right ring finger, which he dislocated just before halftime Sunday. That might limit him in practice, but Fisher said McNair didn't further injure his sprained left knee.

Tight end Frank Wycheck is still having headaches as the result of concussions and hasn't made much progress. He said he made a mistake by playing in the Titans' season opener.

''I could be 100 percent, go out there and start running sprints and be back to square one. You've just got to be really patient with it, and it's one of those things,'' Wycheck said. ''I learned my lesson. I came back too soon, and I put myself in a deeper hole.''


DENVER (AP) Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer and running back Clinton Portis are expected to practice this week after missing the second half against San Diego.

Plummer's right shoulder was still sore, but tests Monday showed no ligament damage, coach Mike Shanahan said. He said Plummer still had fluid in his shoulder but treatment had reduced much of the swelling.

Shanahan expects Plummer to be completely healthy by the time the Broncos play Oakland on Monday night. Plummer slightly separated his shoulder when he dived for a first down midway through the second quarter of Denver's 37-13 win on Sunday.

He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to tackle Cooper Carlisle two plays later but was replaced by Steve Beuerlein on the next series and didn't return.

Portis was injured on Denver's last possession of the first half when Chargers safety Kwamie Lassiter's helmet hit him under the pads. He had 129 yards on 12 carries but didn't come out of the locker room for the second half.

Portis said he had a hard time breathing after the hit, but X-rays Sunday night were negative.


NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) Three more defensive starters were injured in Sunday's win over the Houston Texans.

Linebacker Sedrick Hodge has a hairline fracture in his right knee and it's not yet known if he will need surgery or how long he will be out, coach Jim Haslett said.

Cornerback Dale Carter suffered a concussion and a fracture of the bone around his right eye and will have surgery this week. He will be out up to a month.

No. 1 draft pick Johnathan Sullivan has torn cartilage in his left knee and will have surgery that will sideline him two to three weeks.

The Saints already lost starting defensive end Darren Howard for three months and starting safety Mel Mitchell for the season.


HOUSTON (AP) Nose tackle Seth Payne will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Payne was hurt during the Texans' 31-10 loss to New Orleans on Sunday when he and teammate Jerry DeLoach sacked Aaron Brooks.

Coach Dom Capers said that Terrance Martin, a rookie free agent from North Carolina State, will start in place of Payne, who has played all 18 games in Texans history.

The Texans signed free agent defensive tackle Steve Martin, an eight-year veteran who played for the Patriots last year.


ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions released injured cornerback Chris Watson.

Watson was signed as a free agent from Buffalo during the offseason, but missed the entire preseason with a back injury and was placed on injured reserve before the season opener against Arizona.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Linebacker Keith Mitchell underwent more tests on his injured neck Monday, one day after being taken from the field on a stretcher.

Mitchell was expected to be released from the hospital later Monday.

''The signs are good,'' Jaguars spokesman Dan Edwards said.

Mitchell made a hit on Buffalo running back Travis Henry and briefly lost feeling in his extremities in the first quarter of Sunday's 38-17 loss to the Bills.

Mitchell regained feeling shortly after and X-rays showed no broken bones, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said.


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Versatile and vocal defensive back Michael Hawthorne signed with the Packers after being waived last week by New Orleans.

After his first practice in Green Bay on Monday, Hawthorne ripped the Saints for dismantling a solid roster over the last few years and proclaimed he could be the Packers' answer not only in the defensive backfield but maybe at wide receiver, too.

''I have the skills to play on both sides of the ball,'' he said.


ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Rod Woodson still can't run on his repaired left knee, so it's unlikely he'd be ready to play next Monday night at Denver.

The 38-year-old free safety underwent a procedure last Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in the knee and he missed Oakland's 23-20 win over Cincinnati on Sunday.

Woodson hurt his knee four days before the team's first preseason game, but tried to play through the pain.

Woodson has been riding a stationary bike for a couple of days, but isn't running yet. He wasn't sure when he would be able to practice.

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