NFL notebook

Lions' Millen given the ax

Associated Press / September 25, 2008
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The Detroit Lions fired Matt Millen seven-plus years after the acclaimed TV analyst and Super Bowl-winning linebacker took over as team president for one of the NFL's mediocre franchises and made it the worst.

"I have relieved Matt Millen of his duties effective immediately," Lions owner William Clay Ford said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

Messages seeking comment were left on Millen's cellphone.

Millen's teams won a league-low 31 games since he took over in 2001, but his boss refused to get rid of him until now. Bill Ford, son of the team owner, said Monday he would fire Millen if he had the authority.

Detroit was routed in its first three games this season going into its bye week.

"I am very disappointed with where we are as a team after our start this season," Ford added. "Our sole focus now is preparing for our next game against Chicago."

The 0-3 record dropped Millen to 31-84 overall, giving the Lions at least 10 more losses than any other NFL team since 2001, one of the worst stretches in league history.

Fans were excited. "I've been a season ticket-holder for 28 years and because they fired Matt Millen, I'm going to renew," said Eddie Gates. "This is the happiest day of my life."

Burress suspended

Less than a month after handing the man who caught the winning pass in the Super Bowl a new $35 million contract, the Giants (3-0) suspended Plaxico Burress for a game for missing a practice and not calling to explain his absence.

Burress's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, insisted the nine-year veteran had an undisclosed family emergency Monday and will appeal the ban to the NFL Players Association.

Burress will not be allowed to practice until after the Oct. 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks (this is the Giants' bye week). He will miss two weekly paychecks, totaling $235,294.12 of his $2 million annual base salary.

Taylor saga

If not for an emergency procedure following the Redskins' 24-17 victory over the Cardinals Sunday, Jason Taylor's career could be over. Taylor was kicked in the calf in the second quarter but didn't think it was anything serious until pain and numbness set in later that night. At 3 a.m., he went to Virginia Hospital Center, where a mass of blood near his ankle was diagnosed as compartmental syndrome and surgery was urged. "I was a little scared about that and didn't quite understand why it had to be done so suddenly," Taylor said. Doctors cut a 6-inch incision into Taylor's calf to drain blood that, left untreated, might have led to nerve or tissue damage and even paralysis, limb loss, or death . . . Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish will miss 4-6 weeks after having surgery to repair ligament damage in his right thumb . . . Cornerback Al Harris has a "serious" spleen injury that requires a cautious approach, but he hasn't been ruled out for the rest of the season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Huard gets nod

For the third week in a row, winless Kansas City is making a change at quarterback. Coach Herm Edwards said that Damon Huard, the 12-year veteran backup, will get the nod against the Broncos. Tyler Thigpen is headed back to the bench . . . Jets coach Eric Mangini expects quarterback Brett Favre (sore ankle) to play Sunday . . . Matthew Tryson Bryant, the 3-month-old son of Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant, died yesterday. "I don't have a lot of details," coach Jon Gruden said. "It's just a horrible tragedy." . . . Dick Lynch, 72, who starred at cornerback for the Giants in the late 1950s and early '60s and was a longtime radio analyst for the team, died. He had been treated for leukemia.

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