Tuesday, December 19, 2006

NFL News and Notes

After the NFL fined Terrell Owens $35,000 for Saturday's spitting incident, Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells said Monday the club might penalize Owens further.

"We don't condone that kind of activity, that's for sure," Parcells said, though he added if the Cowboys do punish Owens, they won't make that punishment public.

Owens, who was not ejected from the game against the Atlanta Falcons because officials did not see him spit in the face of defensive back DeAngelo Hall, was not suspended by the league. A suspension would have hurt Dallas (9-5) more because Owens is the team's leading receiver and the Cowboys go into their next game needing a win to lock up the NFC East title.

The Jacksonville Jaguars expect to have rookie running back Maurice Jones-Drew back in the lineup Sunday against New England.

They're not sure about Fred Taylor.

Jones-Drew and Taylor, the duo that has the Jaguars ranked second in the league in rushing, were hurt in Sunday's loss at Tennessee. Taylor re-injured his right hamstring on his second run of the game and did not return.

Quarterback Steve McNair is expected to start Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens, although his injured right hand might affect his practice time this week. McNair played only two series in the Ravens' victory over Cleveland on Sunday. He left shortly after Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis accidentally stepped on his throwing hand, opening up a cut that made it difficult for the quarterback to take snaps from center.

McNair could have returned if needed, but backup Kyle Boller played well enough to make that a moot point.

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan might play for the New York Giants on Sunday in their crucial game against the New Orleans Saints.

Strahan hopes to practice this week for the first time since spraining his right foot against the Houston Texans on Nov. 5. He has missed the last six games, a span that has seen the Giants (7-7) lose five times.

Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden said that seventh-year quarterback Tim Rattay will make his first start of the season, replacing rookie Bruce Gradkowski when the Buccaneers (3-11) travel to Cleveland (4-10) on Sunday.

"It's just common sense right now based on performance and who gives us a better chance to win a football game," Gruden said. "We'd like to finish the season as strongly as we can, and I think Bruce is struggling to a degree right now."

Carolina Panthers all-time sacks leader Mike Rucker will miss the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

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