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NFL notebook: Jones fails Carolina physical

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers may have to use an inexperienced, fumble-prone duo to return punts in the season opener.
Attempts to bring back last year’s return man, Mark Jones, were derailed Monday when he failed a physical. Jones was cut by Tennessee last week after being slowed by a hamstring injury in the preseason.
The Panthers were looking for an upgrade after Kenny Moore and Captain Munnerlyn struggled fielding punts in exhibition games. Munnerlyn is a rookie, and Moore is a second-year pro out of Wake Forest who has never appeared in a regular-season game. Each fumbled in Carolina’s preseason finale.
Rookie Mike Goodson is expected to return kickoffs Sunday against Philadelphia. The Panthers released their return man from 2007, Ryne Robinson, last week.
Jones was signed before last season and averaged 11.4 yards on punt returns, seventh best in the NFL. His 24-yard average on kickoffs was the best for Carolina since Steve Smith averaged 25.6 yards in 2001.
The Panthers on Monday did fill seven of their eight slots for the practice squad. Quarterback Hunter Cantwell, receiver Jason Chery, defensive tackle George Hypolite and linebackers Mortty Ivy and Kelvin Smith were with Carolina in the preseason. Center Dustin Fry was among Cleveland’s final cuts, and cornerback Marcus Walker was waived Saturday by Minnesota.
BRONCOS
LITTLETON, Colo. ó Rookie tight end Richard Quinn, a second-round pick out of North Carolina, has been arrested on harassment and domestic violence charges.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department says Quinn was arrested Monday afternoon after a woman called 911. The woman told deputies that her live-in boyfriend, Quinn, grabbed and shook her to the ground during an argument and grabbed the phone from her while she was trying to dial 911.
The 22-year-old woman told deputies that Quinn also grabbed her cell phone. She says she ran to another house in the suburban Denver neighborhood to call police.
Deputies say Quinn told them he grabbed the woman only after she started hitting him in the face, but he had no visible marks on his face. Quinn was being held in jail without bond. He was due in court this morning.
CHARGERS
SAN DIEGO ó Shawne Merriman said he did not harm reality TV star Tila Tequila at his home early Sunday and added he was concerned for her safety because she appeared to be intoxicated.
Merriman was arrested and accused of choking and throwing Tequila to the ground as she tried to leave his home. Tequila signed a citizen’s arrest warrant charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.
Merriman spent about 21/2 hours in the downtown jail before posting bail.
Merriman practiced Monday, then said he’s convinced he’ll be cleared. It will ultimately be up to the District Attorney’s office to decide if he’ll be charged.
LIONS
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó Matt Stafford has won Detroit’s starting quarterback job.
REDSKINS
ASHBURN, Va. ó The competition between Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas to be the team’s No. 2 receiver is the one lineup cliffhanger that remains for coach Jim Zorn’s team.
Zorn said Monday he wasn’t sure who the starter would be against the New York Giants.
SAINTS
METAIRIE, La. ó Despite the looming possibility of four-game suspensions for Will Smith and Charles Grant, coach Sean Payton intends to play the starting defensive ends against Detroit ó unless the NFL soon says otherwise.
n The Saints have signed rookie linebacker Stanley Arnoux to a four-year contract and placed him on injured reserve. He will miss the 2009 season. Drafted in the fourth round out of Wake, he tore his left Achilles’ tendon during his first practice of rookie camp in May.
RAIDERS
ALAMEDA, Calif. ó Richard Seymour did not report to the Raiders a day after being acquired in a trade with the Patriots.
Raiders coach Tom Cable said Seymour had to resolve some things with the Patriots before the deal for a first-round pick in 2011 could be finalized.
BEARS
LAKE FOREST, Ill. ó Cornerback Charles Tillman practiced for the first time after undergoing back surgery and hopes to be ready for the opener at Green Bay.
CHIEFS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó Quarterback Matt Cassel appeared on the practice field for the first time since injuring his left knee on Aug. 29, but his status for Sunday’s opener at Baltimore remained unclear.

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