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NFL: Week 1

Pace, Brown already are down

Big names are out for season

One week into the season, four NFL teams found out yesterday they'll be without key players the rest of the way.

Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace (rotator cuff), Bears defensive back Mike Brown (knee), Cowboys nose tackle Jason Ferguson (biceps), and Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell (Achilles' tendon) have been ruled out for the year.

Pace, a seven-time Pro Bowler who was the first pick in the 1997 draft, tore the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder in the Rams' season-opening 27-13 loss to the Panthers Sunday.

Pace, 31, was injured on the first play after the two-minute warning in the first half while pass-blocking, minor jostling that didn't appear out of the ordinary, but an MRI revealed the damage.

The Bears placed Brown on injured reserve with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. It's the third season-ending injury in four years for Brown, the soul of the Chicago secondary, who was hurt in the fourth quarter of a 14-3 loss to San Diego when Chargers fullback Lorenzo Neal, who was blocking, threw him to the ground.

Ferguson, Dallas's most experienced defender in his 11th season, is set to have surgery Friday.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 312-pound Ferguson was hurt in the first quarter of the Cowboys' 45-35 victory over the Giants.

The injury to Bell, who was hurt in the third quarter of Miami's 16-13 overtime loss to the Redskins, deals a blow to the Dolphins' already thin secondary.

Bruise for Eli Manning

Eli Manning has a bruised right shoulder and it is uncertain whether the Giants quarterback will play against the Packers Sunday. "They have put it in my hands," Manning said. "It's how you heal, and when you start to feel good and when you can make the throws. I hope I'm a fast healer." Manning and coach Tom Coughlin denied an ESPN report that the QB had a separated shoulder and would be out four weeks. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora irritated the cartilage in his left knee in the first quarter and he is day-to-day. Halfback Brandon Jacobs, who sprained his right knee, is week to week. Derrick Ward will start for Jacobs . . . The Jets acknowledged quarterback Chad Pennington has an injured right ankle but wouldn't say how badly he is hurt or how long he will be sidelined . . . Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee has a strained right quadriceps and probably won't play Sunday against Atlanta.

Raiders, Russell agree

JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders agreed in principle to a six-year deal that will guarantee the quarterback from LSU more than $30 million in the richest contract ever for a rookie. The two sides met in person yesterday for the third time in four days and were hashing out final details, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not finalized. The final contract needs to be approved by the NFL, but it will be worth at least $60 million with about $31 million guaranteed, the person said . . . Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard is expected to miss at least one game for the Eagles with a sprained knee ligament. Sheppard hurt his right knee late in the first half of the Eagles' 16-13 loss at Green Bay . . . In the aftermath of a 34-7 drubbing against the Steelers, Browns coach Romeo Crennel didn't rule out rookie Brady Quinn making his NFL debut this week against the Bengals. Quinn served as Cleveland's emergency quarterback Sunday, but after both starter Charlie Frye and backup Derek Anderson failed against the Steelers, the Browns may soon turn to the high-profile Notre Dame product. Ken Dorsey, released Sept. 1, was at Cleveland's training facility yesterday. He served as a mentor for Quinn during camp, and his return could add credence to the Browns getting Quinn ready . . . A urine test indicated Buccaneers receiver David Boston had GHB, a central nervous system depressant, in his system when police found him behind the wheel Aug. 23 in Pinellas Park, Fla., and charged him with driving under the influence . . . The TV lineup Sunday: Colts-Titans on Channel 4 at 1 p.m., Packers-Giants on Channel 25 at 1, and Jets-Ravens on Channel 4 at 4:15.

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