Safety signs five-year extension

Chicago Bears: The Bears today signed safety Mike Green to a five-year contract.

Green would have become an unrestricted free agent at the end of
the season. Instead, the deal extends Green's contract through the
2008 season.

Over the last two season, Green has been the Bears
second-leading tackler -- behind Brian Urlacher -- with 206 stops.

So far this season, Green has 38 tackles despite missing last
week's game with a groin injury. In 2002, he led the Bears
defensive backfield in tackles with a career-high 138 in his first
full season as a starter.

St. Louis Rams: Rams coach Mike Martz named Arlen Harris the starting running back for Sunday's game in San Francisco, the St. Louis Dispatch reports.

"I feel very comfortable about that, and where Arlen is right now in terms of helping this team win as a runner, and as a blocker," Martz told the paper. "He catches the ball very well. He does all those things that we would ask that position to excel at. He's a real physical runner down inside, too."

Marshall Faulk, in his second week of practice since returning from hand and knee problems, will get some work against the 49ers, but Harris will assume more of the burden in the backfield.

Also: Safety Adam Archuleta and
cornerback Travis Fisher are expected to return from injuries and
play Sunday against San Francisco, providing much-needed
reinforcements in the secondary.

"It's the right time," Fisher said Friday. "If we can have
all of our guys back, it's a plus for us."

Fisher, a second-year player who also started some as a rookie,
missed last week's victory over the Steelers with a groin injury
although he had been available for emergency duty. He was listed as
probable, although he said he was totally healthy after being
injured against the Packers two weeks ago.

Archuleta has missed two games with a sprained ankle and was
listed as questionable. He's stepped up his workload each day in
practice this week.

"I'm made a lot of improvements over the last week, so I'm
getting that confidence back," Archuleta said. "It's a
significant injury and it's natural to try and favor it, so it's
probably going to take playing on Sundays to get that out of you
and just rely on your natural abilities."

Rookie DeJuan Groce started in place of Fisher last week, while
Rich Coady has been filling in for Archuleta.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings activated Michael Bennett from the physically unable to perform list on

Bennett is expected to make his season debut Sunday night
against the Green Bay Packers, but coach Mike Tice said he's not
sure how much Bennett will play.

Bennett broke a bone in his left foot while running on a
treadmill in March, and he had to have a second surgery in July. He
began running again earlier this month, and rejoined the team for
practice last week.

Kickoff specialist Jose Cortez was waived on Tuesday, clearing a
roster spot for Bennett, who rushed for 1,296 yards last year and
played in the Pro Bowl.

New Orleans Saints: Veteran linebacker Darrin Smith has returned to practice after a one-day battle with vertigo. He said he expects to
play Sunday.

"I didn't know what was going on," said Smith, who showed
symptoms Tuesday afternoon. "Every time I moved my head, the room
would spin. It was constantly spinning. The doctors did some
maneuvers that helped me, and today I felt much better."

Saints head athletic trainer Scottie Patton called the condition
"benign positional vertigo."

Teammate Orlando Ruff had another diagnosis. "He's got
Pittman-itis," Ruff teased, a reference to Buccaneers running back
Michael Pittman, who leads Tampa Bay with 465 rushing yards.

Meanwhile, defensive end Darren Howard had pins removed from his
fractured right wrist and could return to practice next week.
Haslett said Howard is still three to four weeks away from playing.

Detroit Lions: The Lions signed cornerback Doug Evans on Friday to bolster their injury-depleted secondary.

Starting cornerback Dre' Bly did not practice Friday because of
a left hamstring injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday's
game against Oakland. Bly has intercepted four passes and scored
two touchdowns this season.

"He was in getting some rehab and treatment, and he's still
hoping to play," Detroit coach Steve Mariucci said.

Cornerbacks Jimmy Wyrick (chest) and Rod Babers (shoulder) are
listed as doubtful.

The Lions signed cornerback Jacoby Shepherd on Wednesday. Both
Evans and Shepherd could play for the Lions (1-6) against Oakland
(2-5) Sunday.

Detroit has lost three of its top four cornerbacks -- Chris Cash,
Andre Goodman and Chris Watson -- this season to injuries.

Seattle cut Evans three weeks ago after he was used sparingly in
two games. Evans, who has 27 interceptions in 154 games, was
drafted by Green Bay in 1993.

Otis Smith, 38, has started the last four games at cornerback
for Detroit. Smith signed with the Lions after New England cut him
during training camp.

Defensive end Robert Porcher was added to the injury report
Friday, questionable with a hip injury.

Atlanta Falcons: Amid a shakeup of the secondary, the Falcons on Friday activated cornerback
Juran Bolden from the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Bolden has not played since injuring the patella tendon in his
right knee in a playoff loss at Philadelphia last January. He
was placed on the PUP list on August 24 and returned to practice
on October 15.

Under terms of the PUP rule, the Falcons had three weeks to
decide whether to put Bolden on the roster, release him, or put
him on injured reserve.

Bolden, 29, will immediately move in as a starter because Falcons
coach Dan Reeves has benched his entire secondary - cornerbacks
Ray Buchanan and Tyrone Williams and safeties Keion Carpenter
and Gerald McBurrows - for Sunday's game against the
Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta ranks last in the NFL in pass
defense, yielding 266.9 yards per game.

A physical corner at 6-2, 207 pounds, Bolden started six games
last season and tied Carpenter for the team lead with four

Houston Texans: Texans quarterback David Carr probably will miss Sunday's game against the Panthers with an injured right ankle -- even if the team's other two QBs are knocked out.

"David did more light jogging. You can see his ankle has
improved," coach Dom Capers said after practice Friday. "I would
say we probably would not have him be the third quarterback on

Veteran Tony Banks will start Sunday in place of Carr, who was
hurt last weekend at Indianapolis. Rookie Dave Ragone, who never
has taken an NFL snap, will be his backup.

If Banks and Ragone are sidelined, Capers would turn to wide
receiver Jabar Gaffney, who put in a little practice this week
taking snaps. Gaffney played some quarterback in high school and is
1-of-2 for 39 yards and a touchdown on two trick plays with the

Also, defensive end Gary Walker (injured toe) was ruled out of
Sunday's game, and right outside linebacker Charlie Clemons (left
ankle) most likely won't play.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle defensive end Lamar King, a
former first-round draft pick who hasn't played in almost a year,
was activated by the Seahawks on Friday.

He is expected to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

King, on the physically-unable-to-perform list this season, has
not played since last Dec. 1. He had offseason surgery to repair a
microfracture in his right knee.

"I feel real good," King said. "This is the best I've felt so
far this year, and I just look forward to going out and trying to
get a victory."

To make room for King on the roster, the Seahawks placed tight
end Ryan Hannam on injured reserve, ending his season. Hannam will
undergo surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his
right knee against Chicago on Oct. 19.

Hannam, 23, played in five games this season before his injury.
His only career reception was a 16-yard touchdown catch against
Arizona last season.

Although King will make his season debut Sunday, he is not
expected to start. King, the 22nd overall pick in the 1999 draft,
has been plagued by injuries his entire five-year career.

"It's been real tough," he said. "When you can't participate
with your teammates, it's kind of hard. But you have to just put it
behind you and move forward."

Denver Broncos:Tight end Shannon Sharpe sat out today's
practice with a sprained ankle.

Sharpe's was the latest in a series of injuries that have
plagued the Broncos.

Sharpe was listed as probable for Monday night's game against
New England. He was one of 12 Broncos on the injury report.

Coach Mike Shanahan says Sharpe skipped practice mostly as a
precaution. Bad weather forced the Broncos to practice indoors for
the second straight day. Artificial turf tends to be rougher on leg
injuries than grass.

Shanahan says he expects Sharpe to practice at Invesco Field on
Saturday night.

Quarterback Jake Plummer, offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam and
linebacker John Mobley are listed as out this week.

Wide receivers Ed McCaffrey and Chris Cole are listed as

San Francisco 49ers: Defensive end Andre Carter is
expected to miss the Niners' game against St. Louis on
Sunday with a bulging disk in his back.

Carter, the 49ers' first-round pick in 2001, leads the team with
3½ sacks this season despite a constantly sore back. He missed
practice Thursday because of the injury, and coach Dennis Erickson
doesn't expect him to play.

"I think he'll miss this game and the bye (next weekend), and I
think he'll be able to go after that, knowing him," Erickson said.

John Engelberger will move from left end to right end, and Chidi
Ahanotu will move into the starting lineup.

The 49ers also will be without quarterback Jeff Garcia, who will
rest his sprained left ankle.

San Diego Chargers: Chargers owner Alex Spanos is
donating $1 million to the San Diego Fire Relief Fund.

The Chargers collected more than $225,000 dollars at their
game Monday night against Miami.

The game was moved to Tempe, Ariz., because of the Southern
California wildfires.