Flutie sidelined with injury

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

The Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. - Doug Flutie underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday morning and will miss about two weeks, one of the few injuries of his seemingly endless career.

The 41-year-old quarterback had been bothered by soreness in his left knee and hadn't practiced since Saturday. He tried to return to the Chargers' training camp afternoon session Wednesday, but was pulled out when the pain returned.

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''That kind of stuff just doesn't happen to him,'' said Drew Brees, currently the starter ahead of Flutie and unsigned rookie Philip Rivers. ''He's just not used to that.''

The Chargers are low on arms in camp, down to Brees and Cleo Lemon, a member of the practice squad last year. Rivers remains a holdout.

''We've talked about the possibility of bringing somebody in,'' coach Marty Schottenheimer said about his shortage of quarterbacks. ''But we haven't made any final decisions in that regard.''

Schottenheimer said the team wouldn't sign Quincy Carter, who was released Wednesday by Dallas. He didn't elaborate.

Flutie, who turns 42 in October, has been relatively healthy throughout his pro career, which dates to 1985 and the New Jersey Generals in the USFL. He missed three games in 2000 as a member of the Buffalo Bills with a groin injury.

In his first start last year, a 42-28 win over the Vikings, Flutie rushed for two touchdowns - the only 40-year-old in NFL history to do so.

Including his stints in the USFL and CFL, Flutie is one of just six players to pass for more than 50,000 career yards.



New England has signed yet another veteran to fit in with the younger players on coach Bill Belichick's defense - Dana Stubblefield, the 1997 NFL defensive player of the year.

In 11 NFL seasons, the 33-year-old defensive tackle has played for San Francisco, Washington and Oakland, winning a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers in 1994. He was with the Raiders last season after a second stint with the 49ers.

Last month, Stubblefield was one of three players who was fined three games' salary for testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003.

He will be used to help fill the void left when Ted Washington departed as a free agent after last season and to help break in rookie nose tackle Vince Wilfork, the team's first draft pick, as well as Ty Warren, the No. 1 last season.

Stubblefield has appeared before the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which has been at the center of a steroids controversy in several sports.



Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick pulled up limping during a team drill in the first of four practices between the Falcons and Titans in Nashville on Thursday.

Vick made a sharp cut off his left leg and faked out Titans cornerback Samari Rolle on his way into the end zone. After running into the end zone, he grabbed the back of his right leg, grimaced and clutched his leg as he started limping toward the huddle.

It was the same leg in which he broke his fibula last preseason, keeping him out of 11 regular-season games. He lay on the ground, and trainers immediately worked to stretch his hamstring muscle.

Vick said he was all right and doesn't expect to miss any time.

During practice, a series of fights broke out between the teams, and by the end of the nearly 90-minute session, the Falcons felt as if they stood their ground well.

''Tennessee had to match our tempo,'' Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking said. ''They're a very good football team. We don't have a lot of respect right now, and it's not deserved. We came here to test ourselves against a really good football team.''

Atlanta tight end Jason Rader and Titans rookie tackle Aaron McConnell got into a fight that turned into a scrum with all the linemen moving in, and Titans end Carlos Hall grabbed an Atlanta player and pulled him away from the pile.

In other news, Titans starting tackle Albert Haynesworth hurt his right foot, an injury coach Jeff Fisher said will keep him out at least a week or two.

Haynesworth had just ran through a blocker to the quarterback during a one-on-one drill in the morning session when he said he felt something pop in his foot.

Fisher said an MRI performed on Haynesworth's foot found he had sprained the plantar fascia, a tight band of muscle just below the arch. The Titans plan to treat the swelling and pain, and Fisher hopes to know more about Haynesworth's status within three or four days.



Second-round pick Keiwan Ratliff reached an agreement on a four-year contract. Running back Chris Perry, the team's first-rounder, remains unsigned.

Ratliff's deal includes a signing bonus between $1.2 million to $1.5 million.



Center Matt Birk had a hernia operation this week but is expected to play in the season opener against Dallas.

Birk had minor surgery Wednesday to determine the cause of a pelvic injury that caused him to miss three consecutive practices.

Coach Mike Tice said Thursday the Pro Bowl player would miss three to four weeks, and that he has been guaranteed that Birk will be ready for the opener Sept. 12.



Cornerback Fernando Bryant strained his right hamstring Thursday. Coach Steve Mariucci said he hoped Bryant would miss only a few days.

Bryant, who was a five-year starter in Jacksonville, is being counted on to start, joining Dre' Bly to form a speedy and experienced tandem of corners. He signed as a free agent in the offseason.



Terrell Owens acknowledged he is making too many mistakes, including a drop over the middle, perhaps because he's still adjusting to wearing pads in workouts.

The Eagles use pads in their morning sessions and run more live drills than their new star receiver was used to in San Francisco.

''I've just got to conform to the way they do things here,'' he said. ''Whether I like it or not, it's just the way things are done. From my standpoint, to go live you take a risk at getting guys hurt, especially some of the key guys. I feel like I'm one of the key guys in the offense.''



Center Robbie Tobeck missed Thursday's practice after straining his right calf the previous day, and trainers initially said he could miss up to two weeks.

However, coach Mike Holmgren said the medical staff was encouraged by how Tobeck felt, ''which leads me to believe it's not going to be two weeks.''

Third-string quarterback Brock Huard, who left Wednesday's practice when his back tightened, also sat out Thursday.

''We took pictures of it. There's nothing dramatically wrong with his back,'' Holmgren said. ''It's muscle spasms. It will be a couple of days before we know when he can really come back.''



Forget the silver and blue - at least for one game.

The Cowboys on Thursday unveiled the throwback uniform they will wear for their Thanksgiving Day game against Chicago. Along with blue jerseys, that include white patches with a blue star on each shoulder, the team will wear white pants and white helmets.

It is a replica of the Cowboys' uniform from 1960-63, the team's first four seasons and when Don Meredith was the quarterback.

The Cowboys haven't worn white helmets since 1963.