NFL: Payton to attend Saints' game

The SportsXchange

Suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton plans to attend Sunday night's game against the San Diego Chargers, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Payton, who is serving a season-long suspension, is forbidden from having contact with the team, but a league spokesman said that a postgame meeting is being arranged between Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, who requested that Payton, GM Mickey Loomis and assistant Joe Vitt be invited to the game.

Brees has thrown at least one touchdown in 47 straight games and will break Johnny Unitas' all-time NFL record with a scoring strike against the San Diego Chargers, his former team.

Loomis and Vitt have declined the invitation and won't attend, a league source told Schefter, based on their feelings toward the NFL, the source said.

Brees signed with the Saints before the 2006 season, as he was recovering from a serious right shoulder injury. The Saints are 0-4 this season, and Brees has struggled with a 57.6 completion percentage, his lowest since 2003.

---New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore will not play in Sunday night's game against the Chargers because of a hamstring injury.

Moore was downgraded to out on Friday. He'll likely be replaced in the lineup by Devery Henderson.

Moore is tied with Marques Colston with 19 receptions. They're behind the team's two leading receiver Jimmy Graham (24 receptions) and running back Darren Sproles (23).

Henderson came back from a concussion to play at Green Bay last week. He has six receptions for 74 yards but has been a starter and key contributor in the Saints' multiple-receiver packages since quarterback Drew Brees joined the team in 2006, which was Henderson's third season. The nine-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Saints.

He averages 18.1 yards per catch with 19 touchdowns in his career.

---Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray wants a more physical defense, regardless of the implications.

Gray told the Tennessean that he's tired of seeing wide receivers run over his team's secondary, and wants his guys playing with reckless abandon, even if it could lead to a fine or an injured opponent on Thursday. On Friday, he said he regretted his choice of words.

"If you are worrying about that, you aren't going to go out and try and blow the guy up," Gray told the paper. "Great football players have to put that out of their mind. You have to say, 'This is my territory between the numbers, and if you throw the football, you better bring the Gator truck.' And that's how you have to play. You can't play timid in the NFL."

The Gator is used to cart injured players into the locker room.

It was Friday when Gray learned the NFL would look into his comments, which caught traction nationally in the climate of "player safety" the league continues to preach in the aftermath of the NFL's hardline anti-bounty stance.

"This is football, but my choice of words under the circumstances was probably bad," he told ESPN. "If I could take that part of it back, I would. I don't want guys thinking about injuring people and, when you say 'Gator Truck' that's probably what comes up. I just want our guys to be tougher.

The Titans rank 31st in yards allowed and last in points allowed. Tennessee (1-3) also has just six sacks and one interception in four games.

"Have we blown anybody up? ... Maybe we are playing too timid," Gray told the paper. "We can't give up touchdowns as soon as we get off the bus. We didn't do that last year. You can't give up touchdowns in the first quarter and expect to get sacks and expect to get turnovers."

---Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline may turn his fast start into a long-term deal, according to an NFL.com report.

The NFL leader in receiving yards can become a free agent after the season. The Dolphins and Hartline have begun preliminary contract talks.

Hartline hauled in 12 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He has 455 total yards on 25 catches in four games. The four-year veteran's best season came in 2010, when he had 615 yards receiving.

---Miami Dolphins cornerback Richard Marshall was ruled out of Sunday's game at the Cincinnati Bengals with a back injury he has been dealing with for two weeks.

Nolan Carroll, the team's third best cornerback, has been nursing an Achilles injury that has hindered his play and practice participation, although he was listed as probably Friday. And Jimmy Wilson, a cornerback Miami converted to safety this offseason, has been forced to switch back because of the team's need.

To compensate for all of the injuries, the Dolphins promoted cornerback De'Andre Presley from the practice squad, and he might have to play on Sunday.

Marshall, 31, has committed a team-high four penalties and was torched on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Kolb to Andre Roberts in last Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. There's concern his back injury has been impacting his play.

The Dolphins have been working R.J. Stanford into the cornerback mix because of Marshall's absence, and the unit's lack of productivity.

Stanford, whom the Dolphins claimed off the waiver wire last month, played 13 games for the Panthers last season, contributing eight tackles and one interception. The coaches are hoping he could help the unit tighten up.

"He has been diligent assignment wise, scheme wise. I think he has made a good contribution so far," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "Obviously he doesn't have a lot of reps in the games but I think he's making progress, picking up the scheme, understanding what we're asking in the job requirements of the position. I like his development."

---Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson missed practice Friday because his girlfriend is having a baby, according to a report in The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

This will be Richardson's third child.

Richardson has rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns for the Browns (0-4). The No. 3 overall pick in this year's NFL draft, Richardson leads the Browns with 15 receptions for 122 yards.

---St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola is scheduled to undergo more tests on his right shoulder Friday, after suffering an injury during Thursday's game, according to an ESPN report.

Amendola was hurt on a diving attempt in the second quarter. Tests to determine whether he suffered a broken collarbone were inconclusive, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported.

Amendola had his right arm in a sling after the game, but he didn't speak to reporters.

The team won't know Amendola's diagnosis until Friday, Rams general manager Les Snead told ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha. He said Amendola's clavicle doesn't appear to be broken, and he expects him to play again this season.

---The New York Jets quarterback drama is destined to continue, regardless of what is said by any of the team's decision-makers.

Head coach Rex Ryan hasn't been pushed to start the popular backup QB over the struggling starter, general manager Mike Tannenbaum told reporters Thursday.

"Rex, (owner) Woody (Johnson) and myself, we talk all the time," Tannenbaum told the Star-Ledger. "We have a great relationship and we have a good, robust debate about what's best for the team, but playing time is always going to be driven by Rex. We'll talk to (owner) Woody (Johnson) about what we're going to do ... but Rex is in charge of who plays."

Sanchez is on shaky ground after posting a 69.6 quarterback rating in four games, and the Jets are ranked 27th in passing offense and 24th in scoring offense.

Sanchez doesn't fear that a change is coming.

"I don't feel threatened to lose my job at all," Sanchez told reporters. "It's no different whether it's Tim or Mark (Brunell) or Kellen (Clemens). It doesn't change. I'm really not worried at all."

Tebow is a sexy choice to step in because of his work last season in Denver, when he replaced Kyle Orton and led the Broncos to the playoffs.

"If we didn't want (Tebow), we wouldn't have traded for him," Tannenbaum told reporters. "Rex, Woody and I felt good about that transaction. Tim hasn't had a lot of opportunities ... but we'll see how the next few games play out."

---Seven players who have started for the New York Giants this season will be out Sunday when the Cleveland Browns visit MetLife Stadium.

Included in the list of the wounded are wide receivers Hakeem Nicks (knee) and Ramses Barden (head). Safety Kenny Phillips is also out with a knee injury and offensive lineman David Diehl, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, linebacker Keith Rivers and rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley were all downgraded Friday and won't play against Cleveland.

Phillips, coach Tom Coughlin said Friday, isn't considered a candidate for short-term injured reserve "at this point." He was hurt attempting an open-field tackle against Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.

---Defensive end Glen Dorsey (calf) and running back Peyton Hillis (ankle) have been ruled out of the Kansas City Chiefs' home game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

"He's got a muscle strain," head coach Romeo Crennel said of Dorsey. "He's trying to work through it, and it's getting better. But it won't be this week."

---The Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the extension the team was granted by the NFL and announced a sellout for Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins, meaning the game will be broadcast locally on television.

"We had a very good week of sales and we thank our fans for their support," said Andrew Brown, Bengals ticket sales manager. "We also want to thank Local12 (WKRC-TV) for their help in getting us over the top. We are looking forward to a great atmosphere with a full house."

---Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes were each fined $21,000 by the NFL Friday, ESPN.com reported.

Greenway was fined for making contact with Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the head and neck area last Sunday.

Spikes was fined for unnecessary roughness against Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler during an interception return last Sunday.

New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji and Arizona Cardinals placekicker Jay Feely were each fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness in games last week.

Jenkins grabbed the facemask of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and poked him in the eye; Raji struck Saints long snapper Justin Drescher with his knee; Feely made a late hit on a Miami Dolphins player during a kickoff return.

---Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, who is serving a six-week suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, had three more weeks added to the punishment on Friday from an August drunk driving arrest.

The Denver Post reported that the three extra weeks tacked on to Williams' suspension means he cannot return to the team until Nov. 12. He will miss games against the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers.

Williams was eventually convicted of driving while ability impaired. It was his second drunk driving offense since he joined the team in 2004.

His initial suspension came after the league said he provided a "non-human" urine sample during a drug test last year.

He filed a lawsuit against the league to get the punishment overturned, but it was dismissed by circuit and appeals courts. His appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court has not been addressed yet.

The Broncos are 2-2 without Williams, who is on the "reserve/suspended" list. That does not count against the 53-man roster. Wesley Woodyard and Keith Brooking have split time filling in at Williams' inside linebacker spot.
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