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NFL Notebook: Hall of Fame candidates

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …CANTON, Ohio ó Defensive end Bruce Smith, defensive back Rod Woodson and tight end Shannon Sharpe are among first-year candidates for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The list includes 110 players, seven coaches and 16 contributors, including former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jerry Jones, Art Modell and Ralph Wilson.
Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will be announced later this month as semifinalists. The field will then be narrowed to 15 by a mail ballot.
OBITEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó Karl Kassulke, a former Pro Bowl safety with the Minnesota Vikings whose career ended when he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, has died from a heart attack. He was 67.
Kassulke spent all 10 years of his career with the Vikings from 1963-72. Considered one of the hardest-hitting defensive backs in franchise history, Kassulke started in the 1970 Super Bowl loss to Kansas City and was named to the Pro Bowl the following season.
CHARGERSSAN DIEGO ó Without a sack or interception in the last nine quarters, the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and replaced himwith inside linebackers coach Ron Rivera.
Cottrell had become a popular target of fan ire as the Chargers (3-5) lost three of their last four games, including a 37-32 loss to former teammate Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in London on Sunday.
STEELERSPITTSBURGHó The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t further punish wide receiver Santonio Holmes for being charged last week with a marijuana-related offense and plan to start him Monday night in Washington.
Holmes, who led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season, was benched for the Steelers’ 21-14 loss Sunday to the New York Giants and was not in uniform. He was allowed to return to the team after speaking to his teammates and issuing a public apology on Monday.
SEAHAWKSSEATTLEó Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said Tuesday a doctor has not cleared him to play because of a leg problem stemming from bulging disk in his back.
Hasselbeck told KIRO Radio he does not need surgery. He said he failed tests in Los Angeles and was unable to walk on his heels. He says there’s no pain in his back or right leg, just a “dead leg” feeling.
JETSFLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó The New York Jets placed running back Jesse Chatman and rookie quarterback Erik Ainge on injured reserve Tuesday.

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