NFL notebook

Accused Taylor shooter named by grand jury

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Associated Press / December 5, 2007

The 17-year-old suspect in the death of Sean Taylor was accused yesterday of firing the shot that killed the Washington Redskins safety.

A Miami-Dade County grand jury identified Eric Rivera as the gunman in its indictment.

Rivera and his three co-defendants were indicted by the grand jury on charges of first-degree felony murder and armed burglary.

Charles Wardlow, 18; Jason Mitchell, 19; and Venjah Hunte, 20; were ordered held without bail during brief court appearances via a videoconference from Miami-Dade jail. The three, who stood silently during the hearing, will remain at the jail under suicide watch after Judge John Thornton Jr.'s ruling.

Rivera was being transported from Fort Myers, Fla., to Miami-Dade and will make a court appearance today. One of his attorneys said the grand jury's identification of Rivera as the gunman was expected.

"This does not come as a surprise," said Sawyer Smith, who along with his father Wilbur represents Rivera.

The 24-year-old Taylor died Nov. 27, a day after he was shot in the bedroom of his home. Police have said he was a victim of a botched burglary.

Henry wins appeal

Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry won his appeal of a one-year suspension over a failed drug test.

The NFL informed Henry in September he had failed a test for marijuana. He disputed the results and sued the NFL to avoid a suspension. He contended the league violated its substance abuse policy by not allowing an expert of Henry's choosing to be present for the testing.

Henry's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, said he wasn't surprised by the decision. "I'm thrilled," Steinberg said. "I always thought we should prevail. I knew that if we got a fair shake, based on the evidence, we'd win. Travis knows and he's absolutely thrilled and relieved and very happy."

Goodell reviewing case

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is reviewing the players' union appeal of his decision last month not to ease the season-long suspension of Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.

The NFL Players Association needed only two days to announce its appeal of Goodell's decision Nov. 6 to reject Jones's request for leniency. The union had hoped to convince Goodell to change his mind, but the date of the appeal has not been announced.

Thomas done for year

Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas was placed on injured reserve after missing the past five games because of migraines. He was involved in a car crash following a loss to the Patriots in October and has had recurring migraines since. "I'm disappointed with the decision," Thomas said in a statement released by the team. "I expected to come back this season, and still think I can. However, I respect the team's decision and look forward to playing next year." . . . According to a report on, even though San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is still facing season-ending surgery on his right shoulder, he will do some light throwing today and tomorrow, then be reevaluated . . . The Denver Broncos waived veteran defensive tackle Sam Adams. Adams, in his 14th year in the NFL, signed with the Broncos as a free agent June 4 after spending the previous season with Cincinnati . . . An average of 10.1 million viewers watched Thursday's matchup between the Packers and Cowboys on the NFL Network. That was more than any of the baseball playoff games that aired on TBS, which is available in more than twice as many homes.

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