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Chiefs' Sampson suffers seizure

His condition still uncertain

Kansas City offensive lineman Kevin Sampson was improving a day after being hospitalized in New Jersey following a seizure, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said yesterday.

''He's better, he's coherent," Vermeil said. ''They're not allowing him to speak to anybody. We have no other information, but that seems to be good news."

The coach did not disclose the source of his information about Sampson, but said he was told he was in intensive care.

Vermeil said he did not know where Sampson, in his second year with the Chiefs, was hospitalized. Early reports were that he had been taken to St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken, N.J. However, a spokeswoman said yesterday that Sampson was not at that hospital.

The Jersey Journal in Jersey City reported yesterday that Sampson called 911 about 10 a.m. Thursday complaining of not feeling well. An ambulance came to a Hoboken apartment and Sampson, 24, asked to be taken to a hospital, but collapsed.

Sampson, a 6-foot-4-inch, 312-pound right tackle from Syracuse University, started his first game with the Chiefs on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Martz back to practice

Coach Mike Martz returned to the practice field yesterday, ready to put the attention back on the St. Louis Rams' next game instead of his heart condition.

Martz, 54, missed two days while undergoing tests for a bacterial infection of a heart valve. He said earlier this week that team doctors believe he has endocarditis.

''I appreciate everybody's concern and I'm not trying to minimize this, I'm really not, but everything's fine," Martz said. ''Now it's time to focus on this team and winning a game."

Martz has undergone a series of blood cultures to confirm the diagnosis, but had nothing to add on that front, repeatedly telling reporters to ask him about ''Seattle stuff." The Rams (2-2) play the Seattle Seahawks (2-2) tomorrow in a game for first place in the NFC West.

Until next year

Jets quarterback Chad Pennington underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, and the team is optimistic he will be ready for the 2006 season.

The surgery was performed Thursday by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., the team said.

Andrews repaired a small rotator cuff tear, the anterior capsule and labrum. Pennington will begin rehabilitation immediately.

Pennington was injured Sept. 25 against the Jacksonville Jaguars when he was sacked on consecutive plays.

This is the second straight season the sixth-year player has torn his rotator cuff. Last season, Pennington tore it in November but returned to lead the Jets to the playoffs.

The Jets signed Pennington to a seven-year, $67 million deal before the start of last season. He received an $18 million signing bonus and another $2 million guaranteed, and is due a $3 million roster bonus in March.

McMichael gets a deal

Randy McMichael signed a four-year extension worth a reported $18 million with the Dolphins, making him one of the highest paid tight ends in the NFL.

McMichael is the Dolphins' leading receiver this season with 15 catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns.

His current deal was scheduled to run out at the end of next season, but the new deal will keep him with the team through 2009.

In three-plus seasons with the Dolphins, McMichael has 176 catches for 2,024 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He has never missed an NFL game, playing in all 51 contests with Miami.

Seattle's out pattern

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said injured wide receivers Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson will not play at St. Louis. Jackson is third in the NFL with 29 receptions and Engram is tied for fourth with 27 . . . The Jaguars acquired linebacker Jamie Winborn from the 49ers in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick. Winborn started two of the 49ers' three games this season and had 13 tackles and a pass deflection. Last week, Winborn cleaned out his locker and left the team after coach Mike Nolan abruptly announced plans to trade him. Winborn had lost his job to converted defensive end Andre Carter . . . The Packers might be without running back Ahman Green, tight end Bubba Franks, and left tackle Chad Clifton against New Orleans tomorrow. The Packers completed a short week of practice with Green, Franks and Clifton nursing injuries. All three are listed as questionable for the game . . . Bills starting defensive tackle Ron Edwards will probably miss the rest of the year after having surgery on his injured right shoulder earlier this week, coach Mike Mularkey said.

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