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Thursday, October 28, 2004
Foster: 'It was within the scheme'

Associated Press

Denver Broncos: Tackle George Foster defended himself Thursday after critics suggested he went out of his way to injure Cincinnati defensive lineman Tony Williams in Monday night's game.

George Foster

"I just want people out there to know that I'm not that type of guy," Foster said. "I would never do anything like that on purpose."

During Denver's 23-10 loss, Foster came back on a play and took Williams out by diving at his legs. Williams had surgery for a broken ankle this week and will be out for the rest of the season.

"It was within the scheme. You want to get the backside people," Foster said. "You want to get the backside people down. That's the only reason for the cut block."

Denver's offensive linemen for years have avoided talking with reporters once the season begins. Foster said the criticism left him no choice but to break the code of silence.

Foster said he was concerned about what happened to Williams. And concern for his own well being.

"My concern would be if somebody takes shots back at me physically," Foster said. "It was something I would not do to anybody intentionally so I would hope they would never do that to me."

The NFL issued a statement that the block was within the rules and that Foster would not be fined.

Green Bay Packers: The club's top three offensive performers missed practice again as quarterback Brett Favre, running back Ahman Green and lineman Marco Rivera were on the sideline.

Favre's right hand is swollen and black and blue after he sprained it Sunday against Dallas.

Rivera has a sprained ankle, and Green a sore Achilles tendon.

Favre decided another day of rest was better than trying to practice, and he only threw on the side.

"They put some tape on it today and he was going to try. He threw a little bit and was thinking about taking some snaps. But I think it's still too tender," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said.

Rossley said the Packers are concerned that taking snaps would aggravate the injury, which could prevent Favre from playing. Favre hasn't missed a start in more than 11 years.

Rossley said it's imperative, however, that Favre practice soon because he needs to get ready for the heavy blitzing the Washington Redskins are expected to employ Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings: Receiver Randy Moss definitely will suit up for Minnesota's game against the New York Giants this weekend despite a hamstring injury, coach Mike Tice said.

Tice still wouldn't say what kind of role Moss would play. Moss strained his right hamstring Oct. 17 at New Orleans. He made a token start last week against Tennessee to keep his consecutive games streak alive at 102, but was limited to two snaps of decoy duty.

But Tice was encouraged by Moss' progress in practice this week. He was held out for portions of practice Wednesday and Thursday.

"Randy looked very good in the things that he approached and the things that he did today," Tice said. "His approach is much more focused and (he'll) definitely suit up this week and not just to keep the string going."

Chicago Bears: Rookie defensive tackle Tommie Harris was fined $5,000 for knocking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese to the ground Sunday during a dead ball situation.

Harris said he plans to appeal the fine, his second of the season.

"I don't understand how the NFL gives me a 15-yard penalty and then fines me $5,000 for that," Harris said.

Harris was offside on the play and officials whistled action dead when he came in unabated toward Griese. Harris pushed Griese to the ground and drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, a penalty that helped lead to a Bucs field goal.

It was the second fine of the season for Harris, who leads the Bears with 2 sacks

He drew a $2,500 fine for an incident on Sept. 26 against Minnesota.

San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback Tim Rattay didn't practice and his status is in doubt for Sunday night's game at Chicago.

Rattay continues having pain in his throwing forearm, an injury that surfaced before the team's Oct. 17 game against the New York Jets.

The soreness remained when he began throwing again after the 49ers returned from their bye week Monday.

Rattay wasn't on San Francisco's injury report Wednesday, but he appeared on that list Thursday as questionable.

Coach Dennis Erickson didn't seem as optimistic as he was earlier in the week that Rattay will be able to play against the Bears.

"It bothered him today," Erickson said. "We just have to wait and see how it is. It's a day-by-day evaluation. If he can play, he'll play. If not, then we go with Ken (Dorsey)."

New York Jets: Defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson has seen his secondary give up way too many big plays this season.

So he decided to fix the situation by working more with the defensive backs this week, during meetings and in practice. A former defensive backs coach himself, Henderson wants to curb the "explosion plays" that have plagued his defense.

"We give up explosion plays, that's our issue," Henderson said. "If we didn't give up explosion plays we'd be sitting up there in the upper echelon of defenses in this league."

As of now, they rank 11th heading into Monday night's game against Miami. In addition to helping the defensive backs more, Henderson has decided to use safety Jon McGraw more often in a rotation with Reggie Tongue and Erik Coleman.

That might help solve the problems. The Jets have given up 19 pass plays of 20 yards or more. In five of the six games, the Jets have allowed a pass play of 40 yards or more. In all, the defense has given up nine pass completions of 30 yards or more, including three for touchdowns.

A big reason is all the new faces. Three of the four starters in the secondary were not with the team when the 2003 season began.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Running back Fred Taylor returned to practice and expects to play at Houston this week.

Taylor sat out drills Wednesday with a strained quadriceps muscle. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

Coach Jack Del Rio said he expects Taylor to start against the Texans.

Taylor suffered the injury in the second half of last Sunday's game at Indianapolis, pulling up at the end of a long run and limping back to the sideline. He returned to finish with 174 total yards: 107 rushing and 67 receiving.

It was his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.