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Teams warned about faking injuries

Associated Press / September 22, 2011

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The NFL sent a memo yesterday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions, and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game. Yet several players admit its an accepted practice, and some coaches hinted they are not above condoning phony injuries.

“I’ve been places where it has been [taught],’’ said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita. “I’ve been places where it’s one player who has been designated. Maybe I’m getting everyone in trouble, but I’m just being honest.’’

In the memo obtained by the AP, the NFL reminded teams of league policy that calls on coaches to discourage the practice.

Two days after there was speculation the Giants’ Deon Grant faked an injury against the Rams during Monday night’s game, the NFL warned of disciplinary action.

“It’s always been in the game,’’ Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed said. “It’s all tactical stuff you need to use. Whatever it takes . . . If you’re tired, you’re tired. You get a break however you can.’’

Added 49ers running back Frank Gore: “Hey, I feel if it helps, do it. I’m bound to do it. Whatever it takes to win.’’

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Tuesday the team notified the league office that it suspected the Giants were feigning injuries. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said it was obvious the Giants were just buying time with St. Louis running a no-huddle offense.

“They couldn’t get subbed, they couldn’t line up,’’ Bradford said. “Someone said, ‘Someone go down, someone go down,’ so someone just went down and grabbed a cramp.’’

Grant was adamant about not having faked anything.

“I could see if I was walking and fell,’’ he said yesterday. “When you see after I made that tackle and bang my knee on that play, you see me bending my knee as I am walking . . . [Teammate Justin] Tuck is walking behind me and saying, ‘D, don’t run off the field. Just go down.’ As I am walking, they line up, and knowing that I can’t get back in my position because of the knee injury, I went down.’’

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was coy about the tactic when asked if he ever instructed a defense to do it.

“I can’t say I have,’’ Shanahan said. “But I won’t say I haven’t, either.’’

Gabbert to start Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio named Blaine Gabbert his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at Carolina, switching signal-callers three days after Luke McCown threw four interceptions against the Jets.

“He’s a big strong kid who’s really been kind of a star quarterback his whole life,’’ Del Rio said. “We think he has a chance to be a franchise-type quarterback. He’s getting a chance now to be our starting quarterback and become that guy.’’

The transition was inevitable since the Jaguars selected Gabbert with the 10th pick in April’s draft. Del Rio had hoped to take it slow with the former Missouri standout, even planning to give him a year to watch and learn.

McCown wanted a chance to redeem himself, but understood the decision.

“Who’s to say what one deserves,’’ McCown said. “It would do me or this team zero good to sit and say I deserve another chance. I didn’t perform last week and that’s just the blunt fact of it.’’

Charles placed on IR The Chiefs placed running back Jamaal Charles on injured reserve after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of last Sunday’s blowout loss to the Lions. He is the third Chiefs player to sustain the same injury in recent weeks: Tight end Tony Moeaki went down in their preseason finale and safety Eric Berry in a season-opening loss to Buffalo . . . 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards underwent a surgical procedure on his injured right knee and will be out for a while, according to coach Jim Harbaugh. Edwards limped off after making a 21-yard catch on the 49ers’ third play from scrimmage in a loss to the Cowboys last Sunday . . . Giants receiver Domenik Hixon will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee for the second straight year. Hixon was hurt Monday night making a juggling touchdown catch in a win over the Rams . . . Eagles quarterback Michael Vick took part in the morning walkthrough, but didn’t practice yesterday afternoon because of a concussion suffered last Sunday night against the Falcons. There is a chance he will play against the Giants on Sunday. Head trainer Rick Burkholder said Vick doesn’t have “a whole lot of concussion symptoms,’’ and would undergo further testing, including seeing an independent neurologist in the next day or two . . . Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold has a high ankle sprain and his right foot is in a boot, but he’s still preparing as if he’ll play against the Raiders at Oakland on Sunday. “It’s coming along,’’ Mangold said after sitting out practice . . . Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan said the league fined him $7,500 for a late hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco last Sunday, and he plans to appeal.

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