NFL notebook

Limbaugh gets rushed out door

Group bidding for Rams drops him

Associated Press / October 15, 2009

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Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group seeking to buy the Rams.

Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a bid led by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts, but Checketts said in a statement yesterday that Limbaugh’s participation had complicated the effort. The group will move forward without him.

Checketts said he will have no further comment on the bid process. Limbaugh did not immediately respond to an e-mail sent late yesterday seeking comment on Checketts’s decision.

Limbaugh said on his radio show earlier yesterday that he had been inundated with e-mails from listeners who supported him in the bid.

Limbaugh’s bid ran into opposition from within the image-conscious NFL Tuesday when Colts owner Jim Irsay said he would vote against the radio personality. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the commentator’s “divisive’’ comments would not be tolerated from any NFL insider.

In 2003, Limbaugh was forced to resign from ESPN’s Sunday night football broadcast after saying of Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb: “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.’’

Vinatieri has surgery
One day after Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri had arthroscopic surgery to remove a piece of cartilage in his right knee, the team signed veteran Matt Stover to fill in. Vinatieri is expected to miss 1-2 months. To clear a roster spot, the Colts made a surprise move by waiving starting defensive tackle Ed Johnson. “Last week, Adam felt his knee was giving him a little bit of a problem, so he had an MRI,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said about the league’s best clutch kicker and a former Patriot. “They saw some loose cartilage in there and we felt we wanted to get that done now with the bye week.’’ Johnson now has been released twice in the past 13 months by the Colts, the first time in September 2008 after Johnson was arrested on a drug possession charge. He re-signed in May as the team tried to beef up its undersized defensive line, and the 6-foot-2-inch, 296-pounder won back his starting job in camp. But Caldwell said Johnson was not performing well enough . . . Peyton Manning’s sore left knee is no longer an issue for the Colts. The three-time league MVP, who said he needed medical treatment on the knee Sunday night, gave himself a clean bill of health after yesterday’s practice. “No concerns,’’ he said. “It feels fine. It’s a non-issue.’’ Manning said he hurt the knee in the first half of Sunday’s victory at Tennessee, on a play Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was called for roughing the passer.

Battle lines drawn
Giants quarterback Eli Manning (sore right heel) is only taking the snaps his coaches think are most important to get him ready for a showdown at New Orleans Sunday. Coach Tom Coughlin is being cautious as New York prepares for a battle of undefeated teams in the Superdome, a few miles from the Uptown neighborhood where Manning grew up. The Giants (5-0) are off to their best start since 1990. The Saints, the NFL’s top scoring team, had a bye last weekend after winning their first four games . . . Ex-Giant tight end and current Saint Jeremy Shockey said the matchup is not about him, or his unhappy, injury-plagued last season in New York, or any kind of payback. “There’s already been some references about vendettas and stuff like that,’’ Shockey said. “It’s about two teams. It’s two great teams playing against each other.’’ . . . With a black glove supporting his left hand, Bengals QB Carson Palmer went through a full practice, an indication that his sprained thumb won’t be a problem this week. Palmer hurt the thumb on his nonthrowing hand in the fourth quarter of a win over Baltimore Sunday.

Steelers lose Smith
Playing for a month without Troy Polamalu was difficult enough for the Steelers. Playing the rest of the season without Aaron Smith might be an equally big challenge for one of the NFL’s best defenses. On the same day Polamalu returned to practice after missing four games with a knee injury, the Steelers scrambled to replace Smith, the run-smothering defensive end who was placed on the injured reserve list with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder . . . Vikings receiver Percy Harvin was kept out of practice because of a shoulder injury . . . Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery missed practice because of a hamstring injury and his status for the team’s game against Buffalo is uncertain. Cotchery sat out two days of practice last week but played at Miami Monday night and had one catch for 4 yards . . . After losing one starter after another on defense, the Bills were buoyed after safety Donte Whitner and linebacker Paul Posluszny returned to practice. Both have a chance to play Sunday. The team placed linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs on IR this week . . . The Chargers released starting strong safety Clinton Hart to sign defensive tackle Ian Scott.

Window still open
At their meetings in Boston, NFL owners tabled discussions until the winter meetings next March about creating an offseason window when teams can negotiate with free agents even before the players actually become available. Such a window could ease concerns about teams making early contact with those players, which constitutes tampering - something the Titans intimated the Redskins might have done with Albert Haynesworth last winter . . . In Minneapolis, the NFL asked a full federal appeals court to hear the case involving two Vikings players, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, who violated the league’s anti-doping policy, saying the issue has to be settled to avoid different standards for players in different states . . . 49ers coach Mike Singletary said rookie receiver Michael Crabtree, who signed recently after a prolonged holdout, will make his debut at Houston Oct. 25 following the team’s bye week . . . Punt and kick returner and Dallas native Allen Rossum signed with the Cowboys, two days after being released by the Niners to make way for Crabtree . . . Lions quarterback Matt Stafford returned to practice after missing Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh with a knee injury. It’s not clear whether he will play against Green Bay this weekend . . . Seahawks defensive back Ken Lucas is home in Mississippi to bury his father, who died unexpectedly last week, but he plans to play Sunday against Arizona.

Status quo on Quinn
Benched as Cleveland’s starting QB 10 quarters into the season, Brady Quinn said he has not asked coach Eric Mangini to trade him and that he only put his suburban home up for sale because he wants to downsize and shorten his commute. Although the Oct. 20 trading deadline is looming, Mangini said he has no interest in dealing Quinn . . . Still reeling from a 41-0 loss at Seattle, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew lashed out at the team’s play-calling, its lack of offensive identity and its constant shuffling of offensive linemen . . . Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse said he didn’t stick around to watch the game against Indianapolis after being a healthy scratch, visiting with family instead. And if he’s deactivated again? “It just depends on how I’m feeling,’’ he said. Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t fine Kearse and insists the issue is over as his team prepares to play the Patriots Sunday.

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