NFL roundup: Vick pleads guilty on state charge
SUSSEX, Va. ó With a steady gaze and another apology, Michael Vick took an important step toward returning to pro football.The former star quarterback pleaded guilty to a state dogfighting charge Tuesday, and the prosecutor dropped an animal cruelty count. Surry Circuit Judge Samuel Campbell accepted the deal and gave Vick a suspended three-year sentence ó far less than the maximum 10-year term he could have faced.The move clears the way for Vick’s possible transition to a halfway house and brings his aim of another chance at professional football closer.
“I want to apologize to the court, my family, and to all the kids who looked up to me as a role model,” Vick told the judge.
ASHBURN, Va. ó Former NFL MVP Shaun Alexander was released by Washington after getting only 11 carries in five games. He ran for only 24 yards, a 2.2-yard average.
The Redskins replaced Alexander on the roster by signing defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti, who adds depth to an ailing defensive line.
Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery is recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury, but he is expected to be available for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.
IRVING, Texas ó Quarterback Tony Romo hopes to soon play without a splint on his throwing hand, but the protective device was still covering his injured right pinkie Tuesday during the portion of practice open to the media.”I can definitely put (the ball) where I want to on the field,” Romo said. “It’s just a matter of, with the splint on, every once in a blue moon, it’ll pop up and affect the throw a little bit. But other than that, it’s been good.”
Terrell Owens insisted there was nothing special about his latest outing, even if his 213 yards receiving were more than his previous five games combined, his most in eight years and the second-most of his career.
It also happened to come right after he complained about the offensive system.
“It was just a game,” he said defiantly. “I play and things happen. It’s not anything unusual for me.”
RENTON, Wash. ó Running back Julius Jones will start at Dallas in the Thanksgiving Day game four days after being benched. Coach Mike Holmgren says he expects Jones to be motivated to play against his former team. STEELERS
PITTSBURGH ó The Steelers, unable to get their running game going recently without Willie Parker, may not have Parker or four other starters for Sunday’s key AFC game at New England.
Defensive end Brett Keisel could miss three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Coach Mike Tomlin also doesn’t know if cornerback Deshea Townsend (hamstring, doubtful), cornerback Bryant McFadden (broken forearm, questionable) and left tackle Marvel Smith (back, status uncertain) can play.
Parker is questionable due to left knee inflammation.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó Jacksonville placed punter Adam Podlesh on injured reserve with a knee injury and signed Steve Weatherford.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó Receiver Michael Jenkins and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux received multiyear contract extensions.
HOUSTON ó The Texans have placed running back Ahman Green on injured reserve after he hurt his left knee against Cleveland.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Offensive guard Ryan Lilja will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.HALL OF FAME
CANTON, Ohio ó Bruce Smith, the NFL’s career sack leader, and versatile defensive back Rod Woodson are among the four first-time eligibles who made the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The other two, tight end Shannon Sharpe and defensive end John Randle, are on a list that will be reduced to 15 before the final vote on Jan. 31.
There will be 17 finalists in all, including senior nominees Claude Humphrey and Bob Hayes. From that 17, four to seven new Hall of Fame members will be chosen.
Also among the 25 is running back Roger Craig, who has been eligible since 1999 but never made it this far. The list also includes three people in the contributor category: former commissioner Paul Tagliabue; Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson and Art Modell, former owner of the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens.