Friday, October 25, 2002

Hit draws suspension for Charger DB Harrison

The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Chargers strong safety Rodney Harrison was suspended without pay for one game by NFL disciplinarian Gene Washington on Thursday for his third serious rules violation in two seasons, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland Raiders receiver Jerry Rice last weekend.

The Chargers plan to appeal. If the appeal is denied, the Pro Bowl player stands to lose $111,764.

San Diego, leading the AFC at 6-1, is idle this weekend and hosts the New York Jets on Nov.3.

Harrison has been fined about $100,000 for various hits during his nine-year career.

"I'm disappointed, but once we go through the appeal process, I'm confident it will be overturned," he said in a statement issued through the team.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer thinks the Chargers can get the suspension rescinded.

"I have looked at it very, very closely and one thing I am certain of is that it was not a foul, it has never been a foul, nor will it ever be a foul under the current playing rules," Schottenheimer said.

The play occurred during the first quarter of San Diego's 27-21 overtime win over the Raiders, on an incomplete pass at the Chargers 9-yard line. There was no penalty.

49ERS: Receivers Terrell Owens and J.J. Stokes practiced, but tight end Eric Johnson missed workouts because of a back injury that could sideline him this weekend.

Johnson, third on the team in receiving with 17 catches for 176 yards, has a bulging disc in his lower back and muscle spasms. He is questionable for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Owens, who had a bruised heel, and Stokes, who partially tore a knee ligament, are expected to play Sunday.

BEARS: Chicago turned to quarterback Chris Chandler for the second consecutive week, naming him starter after trainers ruled out Jim Miller.

Miller, who has tendinitis in his throwing shoulder and elbow, practiced with the first team Wednesday, but the injury flared up.

Chandler, who went 16-of-25 passing for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a loss to the Detroit Lions last week, took all the first-team snaps in practice Thursday. A sore left thumb prevented him from taking snaps earlier in the week, but Chandler said the thumb is fine.

PANTHERS: Linebackers Dan Morgan and Mark Fields returned to practice after being sidelined by groin injuries.

Rookie DeShaun Foster, who sustained cartilage damage and a bone bruise in his left knee in August and has yet to play this season, was downgraded to doubtful.

NFL HIRES SHELL: Hall of Famer Art Shell was hired by the league to handle player appeals of on-field disciplinary action. Shell, a star tackle for the Oakland Raiders who also was the first black head coach in the modern NFL, was appointed as appeals officer by commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Shell, who was unavailable for comment, will decide on appeals of discipline handed out by NFL director of football operations Gene Washington. He will assume his duties next week. For the past year, Shell has worked for the NFL on college relations issues, a job he will continue.

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