Thursday, January 31, 2002

NFL notebook

Injury has Pace out of practice

The Associated Press

        NEW ORLEANS — St. Louis Rams All-Pro offensive tackle Orlando Pace won't practice until Friday due to a knee injury from the NFC Championship Game.

        Pace also will wear a brace in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

        “I'm going to take a couple days off and rest the leg,” Pace said. “I'll be ready to go on Friday and I'll definitely be ready to go Sunday.

        “It's pretty precautionary, just to keep the swelling down.”

        Pace strained a ligament in his right knee in the first half of the Rams' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He missed only a series, surprising coaches by insisting on finishing the game.

        On Wednesday, Martz gave Pace the offensive game ball.

        “It was a testimony, really, to his great courage,” Martz said.

        Pace, the first overall pick of the 1997 draft, said it was never a question whether he'd play the second half against the Eagles. He neutralized Hugh Douglas before and after the injury.

        “I really couldn't miss that game,” Pace said. “I've never really been hurt in my career, so I don't even know how to handle this whole situation.

        “I just wanted to contribute.”

        Pace was wearing the brace at a news conference Wednesday.

        “It's a huge brace,” he said. “But it'll give me some stability.”

        Rod Jones, who strained his groin in the NFC Championship Game, was expected to practice Wednesday. Jones started last week at right tackle in place of Ryan Tucker, who has a sprained ankle but is expected to start in the Super Bowl.


        Wide receiver Terry Glenn sued the NFL, saying it discriminated against him for a disability that prevented him from following certain rules in the league's substance abuse policy.

        The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan alleges that since at least 1999 Glenn has had chronic depression, a disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

        Glenn, a first-round draft pick in 1996, argues that he should not have been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for violating the substance abuse policy by missing a drug test.

        NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league hasn't seen the lawsuit, but, “based on our understanding of the allegations, we do not believe this represents a serious challenge to the suspension or our programs” regarding substance abuse.

        Glenn left the Patriots without permission the day the NFL suspension was announced, and he then was suspended for the season by coach Bill Belichick.

        An arbitrator overturned that suspension, and Glenn returned for the fifth game and caught seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers. He missed the next six games because of a knee injury, was suspended for the next game and caught seven passes the next three games.

        The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, saying Glenn has suffered from lost employment, pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment and damage to reputation.


        The team re-signed quarterback Alex Van Pelt, rewarding the longtime backup for filling in for injured starter Rob Johnson with a five-year contract worth about $6 million.

        The contract also includes incentive clauses that would almost triple its value should Van Pelt become the Bills' starter and meet certain goals, such as playoff appearances.

        “They covered a lot of bases there to make sure that they would have a happy quarterback whether he was a backup or a starter,” Van Pelt's agent, Eric Metz, said.

        Van Pelt earned the veteran's minimum of $477,000 last season and was eligible to become a free agent.

        After seeing little action his past six years in Buffalo, Van Pelt enjoyed a breakthrough season, taking over after Johnson's season ended when he broke his collarbone Nov.11. Going 2-6 in starting the Bills' final eight games, Van Pelt more than doubled his career numbers, completing 58 percent of his passes for a team-leading 2,056 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also threw 11 interceptions.

        • St. Louis quarterbacks coach John Ramsdell will interview with Buffalo for its offensive coordinator job. He has been with the Rams seven seasons, serving as tight ends coach from 1995-97 and quarterbacks coach the last four seasons.

        The Bills fired offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard after the regular season.


        Linebacker Richard Jordan and cornerback Central McClellion agreed to two-year contracts.

        Jordan attended training camp with the Chiefs last year and appeared in 35 games with Detroit from 1997-99. He has 48 career tackles and one interception.

        McClellion played the last two seasons with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe, where he had 38 tackles and one interception.


        Kurt Schottenheimer, the younger brother of Chargers coach Marty, was hired as defensive coordinator.

        Schottenheimer has spent 15 years coaching in the NFL. His experience includes time with Washington (2001), the Kansas City Chiefs (1989-2001) and the Cleveland Browns (1987-88).

        SUPER FLAG:

        An American flag that survived the collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers will be featured during the singing of the national anthem at Sunday's Super Bowl.

        It was the only U.S. flag flying at the World Trade Center on Sept.11, authorities said. The 12-foot-by-8-foot flag was recovered from the rubble by rescue workers three days later, torn along some of the stripes but otherwise intact. It has become a symbol of patriotism and triumph — and the thousands of lives lost that day.


        Former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells and his wife, Judith, were granted a divorce Jan.16 by a judge in Monmouth County, N.J. The couple agreed to an undisclosed property settlement in December. They have three grown daughters.

        According to court documents, Judith Parcells complained her husband of nearly 40 years had grown “cold and distant,” the New York Post reported in Wednesday's editions.


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