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NFL Notebook: Schiano denies manipulating vote on Bucs captain

The SportsXchange

Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano told the Tampa Bay Times that he did not fix the results of the team's voting for team captain to prevent quarterback Josh Freeman from being honored.

Freeman was a captain for the last three years. Rumors circulated that Schiano rigged the voting after Freeman was not elected this year.

"I know there's a story out there," Schiano said. "It's 100 percent false. If there was such a thing as 102 percent, this would be it."

Freeman said during a radio show Tuesday that his votes for captain went to wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph, according to ESPN.

"Everybody wants to make it out like it's a demotion," Freeman said. "I don't look at it like that. They don't look at it like that. Essentially, the conversations, the day-to-day actions are the same."

---Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley missed his second practice in a row Thursday with a shoulder injury.

Fairley was pegged in preseason by defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham as a breakout player, showing up to training camp slimmed down and with a "professional focus" the team hadn't seen. He had a promising start against the Minnesota Vikings with 1.5 sacks before leaving last week's game injured.

C.J. Mosley would start alongside Ndamukong Suh if Fairley isn't active Sunday and Justin Bannan and Isreal Idonije, who can also play elephant defensive end, would work as the top backups.

---Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is supporting veteran quarterback Chad Henne's drive to claim the starting job for good with former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert sidelined yet again by an injury.

Henne said Wednesday that he wants to nail down the starting job. It's not known how much time Gabbert might miss with a laceration on his right hand that required 15 stitches.

Henne started six games last season. He signed with the Jaguars last year after being drafted by Miami in the second round in 2008. During his career, he has 42 touchdown passes and 48 interceptions and a career passer rating of 74.9.

---The New York Giants were awarded linebacker Allen Bradford off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

To make room for Bradford on the 53-man roster, the team placed linebacker Dan Connor on injured reserve. He started the season opener at middle linebacker last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys but will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury.

Connor started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys last year and had 56 tackles.

---Linebacker Lavonte David was fined by the NFL, adding insult to injury for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker who helped set up the New York Jets' winning field goal by shoving quarterback Geno Smith to draw a penalty flag Sunday.

David was fined $7,875 or the unnecessary roughness infraction. Safety Dashon Goldson was also fined by the league for a late hit against the Jets.

The Jets had the ball at their own 20, trailing 18-17, before a 25-yard completion from Smith to Kellen Winslow gave the Jets a shot with 15 seconds left. After a spike on first down, Smith scrambled 10 yards and had already stepped out of bounds when he was aggressively shoved by David. That earned the Buccaneers a 15-yard personal foul and turned a 63-yard attempt field goal into a 48-yarder.

---Oakland Raiders rookie left tackle Menelik Watson will miss several weeks with a torn lateral meniscus in his knee.

Watson had surgery to repair the injury and will be replaced in the lineup by Khalif Barnes.

---Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots from Tampa Bay.

To make room on the roster for Jones, the Patriots released rookie offensive lineman Josh Kline.

Jones, 23, was a sixth-round pick (198th pick overall) of the Houston Texans in April. He was released by Houston on Aug. 31 and claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 1. Jones was inactive for the season opener last week against the New York Jets and waived Tuesday.

---Former Denver Broncos quarterback Frank Tripucka died Thursday morning after battling a long illness. He was 85.

Tripucka, who is in the team's Ring of Fame, threw the first touchdown pass in American Football League history on Sept. 9, 1960. His No. 18 jersey was retired by the team, but he allowed Peyton Manning to wear it when he joined the Broncos in 2012.

Tripucka had success in the AFL, leading the league in passing yards in 1960 and 1962. He retired after the 1963 season. His survivors include his wife Randy, his son, former NBA All-Star Kelly Tripucka, and his grandson, free-agent long snapper Travis Tripucka.
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