Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin Passes At 44 - Shocking News

Crocodile hunter and expert Steve Irwin passed away after being fatally stabbed by a Stingray yesterday. What is shocking about this development -- to me -- is that at 44 years old, you expect him to just be around. Part of the Zeitgeist. But his passing just reminds me of how precious life is and how much we should thank God for every moment we're here.

Here's Steve in action:

SMG Sues 14 Companies Over Superdome Roof Problem

I personally found it hard to believe that stadium managment company SMG thought suing the 14 companies responsible for the construction of the Louisiana Superdome's roof would actually bear fruit.

SMG claims that ""The roof was supposed to insure that the Superdome could serve as a haven of evacuation of last resort for hurricanes which threaten New Orleans; an ark in any storm where residents who could not otherwise evacuate would be safely housed."

I smirked until I learned that "Horizon Group" made a new roof for the complex four years ago, and promised that it would withstand winds of over 200 mph.

Well that did not happen. The roof weakened under the pressure and winds of Hurricane Katrina, and leaked, harming over 20,000 people who took refuge in the giant structure.

"Star Wars" Music Legend John Williams Composes "Sunday Night Football" Theme for NBC

My favorite composer, John Williams -- who developed the now legendary Star Wars theme -- conceived of the military-march that is the theme for "NBC's Sunday Night Football." It doesn't matter what the music, John Williams always makes something you want to hum!

If you've not heard the music, just visit the show website at NFL Sunday Night Football.

Michael Sliver Says NFC East Is NFL's Hardest Division - I Say NFC South

Hmm... Atlanta. Carolina. New Orleans. Tampa Bay. Mike Silver of SI says the NFC East is the toughest division in the NFL. But I'd take the teams of the NFC South any day. They have the best defenses and now the best running back in the league in Reggie Bush.

What? He's not taken a snap?

...Just wait!

Steelers Cut QB Omar Jacobs Then Place Him On Practice Squad

The practice squad move was just announced. The Steelers should place him on the 53-man roster for the game vs. the Dolphins.

Steelers Finish Cuts, Release Morgan, Frazier

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Steelers reached their 53- player roster limit on Saturday, adding wide receiver Quincy Morgan and linebacker Andre Frazier to an initial list of 20 cuts.

Morgan played in all 16 regular season games for the Steelers last season, catching nine passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns and also appearing as a kickoff returner. Morgan, a second-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 2001, also appeared in a playoff win over the Bengals before injuring his right ankle.

Frazier appeared in 11 games with Pittsburgh last season, appearing mainly on special teams.

As previously reported, Pittsburgh parted with an additional 20 players: punter Mike Barr, quarterback Shane Boyd, offensive lineman Tim Brown, tight end Charles Davis, tight end Jon Dekker, defensive tackle Orien Harris, running back Cedric Humes fullback Branden Joe, quarterback Omar Jacobs, fullback John Kuhn, safety Mike Lorello, cornerback Anthony Madison, wide receiver Lee Mays, defensive end Shaun Nua, defensive tackle Scott Paxson, linebacker Richard Seigler, linebacker Ron Stanley, tackle Brandon Torrey, defensive end Lee Vickers, and wide receiver Walter Young.

Jacobs, a 6-4, 232-pound quarterback out of Bowling Green, was vying to make the roster as the team's third-string quarterback, behind Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch. The signal-caller, who completed 22-of-34 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown in the preseason, could be brought back when the team establishes its eight-man practice squad on Sunday.

Davis (5th Round, Purdue), Harris (4th Round, Miami (FL)), and Humes (7th Round, Virginia Tech) were all 2006 draft picks.

Among the notable veterans released was Mays, who played in 48 games with the Steelers from 2002 through 2004, catching a total of 11 passes while also participating on special teams.

Barrett Brooks, a 12-year veteran who injured his quadriceps in the team's final preseason game, was place on season-ending injured reserve.

The reigning Super Bowl champs will open the NFL regular season this Thursday, when they play host to the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

Seattle Seahawks Pick Up FB Josh Parry From Eagles

From Seahawks blog

Hawks pick up Eagles FB

Posted by Jose Romero at 01:50 PM
The Seahawks have made a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for fullback Josh Parry.

Parry, 28, did not start the Eagles' exhibition finale against the New York Jets Friday, though he was listed as a substitute in the final game statistics. Parry, 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, is in his third NFL season.

He has also been a special teams contributor for the Eagles.

Parry apparently lost the starting fullback job to Thomas Tapeh, making him expendable. The Seahawks lost Leonard Weaver, who was projected to be their backup fullback, to a high ankle sprain Friday night. So this move makes sense.

The Seahawks dealt a 2008 conditional draft pick to the Eagles for Parr

Darrell Jackson - Seahawks' WR Still Out With Knee Problem

Darrell Jackson was Seattle's most effective receiver in Super Bowl XL this year.

Inaction Jackson: Hawks' top WR still sidelined
By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

Seahawks wide receiver Darrell Jackson, recovering from knee surgery, hasn't practiced with the team since February.
He's an NFL wide receiver, a position played by some of the NFL's loudest personalities.

But Darrell Jackson has been the silent type the past year, declining most interview requests, and his recovery from knee surgery has quietly hung in the background of the Seahawks' exhibition season.

Coach Mike Holmgren plans to have Jackson practice today. That was also the hope two weeks ago until the schedule was pushed back. With the season opener six days away and Jackson coming off his second knee surgery in a year, the question of how seamless his transition back to the field will be has to be answered.

"Well, that's the question for the ages, I think," Holmgren said after Thursday's exhibition finale.

He was exaggerating, but only a little bit.

Two of the three tight ends on Seattle's regular-season roster were injured in August. Wide receiver Nate Burleson is new to the team. Maurice Mann was on Seattle's practice squad last season. Add Jackson's status to the list of things to ponder.

"I think about it a lot, but I have no say in that and I have no control over that," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "I know Darrell. He wants to play and catch a lot of passes for this team and be the guy that he has been. Hopefully, that translates to he's planning on coming back for the regular season, but I'm not a doctor and I'm not Darrell, so I don't know."

When Terrell Owens practiced it made news. When he didn't practice it was even bigger news. There is no such drama attached to Jackson's injury. Holmgren has clearly stated he's not frustrated by a return that's been a little slower than expected.

But the reality of his absence is a legitimate question. He hasn't practiced with the team since February. He wasn't in the locker room after Thursday's exhibition finale, so there wasn't a chance to ask him questions.

He was running last week, the strength of his leg is increasing and there's no doubt about the injury itself. The team called it a bone bruise last October, but the injury was diagnosed as a damaged meniscus when Jackson sought a second opinion. And no one will think twice about the last month if he goes out and catches six passes, including the game-winning touchdown, like he did in Tennessee the last time he returned from knee surgery. But here, six days before the regular-season opener, Jackson's status is a focal point.

"My plan is he will practice on Monday, and we will ease him back into things," Holmgren said. "It's still a medical call, at this point, but my hope is he will practice in the week and play against Detroit."

Seattle's reported interest in the Patriots' Deion Branch was projected into a commentary on Jackson's health. That's a stretch. Branch would have a learning curve in Holmgren's offense, and his asking price for a new contract — reportedly six years at more than $35 million — would make him more part of a long-range plan than a short-term fix. Besides, all indications are New England isn't interested in trading Branch.

Rushing Jackson back is the last thing the team wants to do after seeing Jerramy Stevens reinjure his knee in his first week back at practice after undergoing a similar procedure.

"We would be making a mistake if we thought he could come in and play a whole game," Holmgren said of Jackson.

Jackson's absence and injuries to the team's top two tight ends left Hasselbeck with a shortage of familiar targets.

"It has been tough, but I think if I learned anything from last year, it's 'So what?' " Hasselbeck said. "You've got to play with the guys that are out there."

Jackson and Bobby Engram were both injured in Seattle's overtime loss to Washington last season on Oct. 2. But the next week, Joe Jurevicius caught nine passes for 137 yards and a TD in St. Louis, and Seattle's franchise-record 11-game winning streak began.

Engram was out three games with broken ribs and Jackson missed nine, undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his knee. But when Williams did come back in December, he caught six passes against the Titans, including one for a touchdown to complete Seattle's comeback as Hasselbeck quickly reintegrated Jackson into the offense.

The return was no surprise to Engram.

"Jack is Jack," Engram said last season.

And Jack was back.

"If you've been in this game for [a certain] amount of years like he has, like I have, you're a gamer," Engram said. "Then you come back and you're in shape — like I know he is — you just come back and get into the flow.

"It might take you one game, but it's like riding a bike; you don't forget how to do it."

That still leaves the question of when Jackson will really be rolling.

Niners Coach Mike Nolan on 49ers Pass Rush Problems

Here's more on the 49ers pass rush problems as described by the SF Chronicle's Kevin Lynch.

Job openings: Pass rushers needed
Kevin Lynch, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, September 4, 2006

Mike Nolan looked haggard, and his rapid-fire style of speech was slowed during his daily briefing with the media after Sunday's practice.

The 49ers' head coach appeared to be a man who had personally scoured the nation in search of a pass rusher. And he sort of was. The team did leave the 53rd spot on the roster open after the final cuts Saturday for such a person, and 6-foot-2, 270-pound Roderick Green filled it. He was claimed off waivers Sunday from the Ravens.

Picked in the fifth round of the 2004 draft by Baltimore when Nolan was its defensive coordinator, Green played mainly special teams his rookie year. He recorded two sacks in scant playing time last season.

"He's about 15 pounds heavier than when I last saw him," said Nolan, who's hoping the defensive end-outside linebacker can chase the quarterback.

An absence of a pass rush was the most glaring feature of the 49ers' 2-2 exhibition season. The team finished with two sacks -- both by players (defensive tackle Lance Legree and linebacker Corey Smith) who were cut.

Nolan wants to see what Green, who is expected to practice today, looks like before determining whether the third-year player would play in Sunday's season opener in Arizona.

Nolan described Green as a tough player and good pass rusher, although Nolan did admit that teams don't place pass-rushing dervishes on waivers.

Nolan and the defensive staff will have to make do and hope rookie linebacker Manny Lawson blossoms quickly.

Coaches praised Lawson ad nauseam throughout the exhibition season, but Lawson didn't live up to the billing until Friday's finale against San Diego. Lawson picked off a pass and induced another interception in the second quarter when he crashed into quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

Nolan played down the use of sack statistics as a defensive harbinger.

"Turnovers, third-down efficiency, those are two areas that are bigger than anything else," he said. "But if you hit the quarterback a lot, it's a good thing."

Practice: The eight-man practice squad was partially made up of players the team released: wide receiver C.J. Brewer, fullback-running back Zak Keasey, linebacker Bobby Iwuchukwu, quarterback Gibran Hamdan and tackle Tavares Washington.

Wide receiver Cory Rodgers, a fourth-round pick of the Packers, might sign.

Injury update: Those anticipating the debut of tantalizing rookie tight end Delanie Walker will have to wait. After bruising his shoulder against the Chargers, Walker is out for the Cardinals. Nolan didn't say when Walker would return.

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer practiced, but is still listed as questionable with a hamstring pull. Linebacker Parys Haralson is also questionable with a foot injury.

SF Head Coach Mike Nolan Q and A From Niners Website

Coach Mike Nolan's Notebook: Sept. 3

RE: Injury update:

“Delanie Walker has a shoulder and he is out. Vickiel Vaughn was out here today watching practice but he is on injured reserve. Shawntae Spencer practiced today. He is under control but we just wanted to get him out here. He should be ready for the game. Parys Haralson just went through some individual and group, but he is still questionable. Really Spencer is actually questionable as well.”

RE: Roster moves:
“We claimed Roderick Green off the waiver wire from Baltimore. I was with him for one year. This would have been his third year with them. He is about 6-2, 265 pounds. He is about 15 pounds more than when I was there. He is a good football player. He is strong, tough and a good pass rusher. He will play on the outside.”

RE: Do you think Green will play in the game?
“We will see how it goes. I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. It is still up in the air. He has a chance though.”

RE: Is Delanie Walker questionable for the game?
“For the game yes he is. We have until Wednesday. Right now he is listed as out. He has a shoulder injury.”

RE: Who are the practice squad guys?
“C.J. Brewer, Bobby Iwuchukwu, Tavares Washington, Gibran Hamdan and Zack Keasey. There will be three guys we add from the outside. Hopefully, we can add a defensive lineman, linebacker and wide receiver.”

RE: How concerned are you about the lack of pass rush in the preseason?
“Anytime you aren’t getting sacks you have to concerned, but it is something you have to work through. I would hope Roderick might add something to it. Sacks have never been a telling tale for wins and losses. They are probably the last thing that really tells how good a defense is. There were a couple of years in Baltimore where we weren’t really good in sacks, but we had a very good defense. The most important thing with sacks is that you can hit the quarterback. You are hitting a guy that is the most important player on the field. A tackle for loss usually gives you the same distance. I don’t think they indicate who wins. Turnovers and third down efficiency are two areas that are very important.”

RE: Who is your best pass rusher?
“Right now, probably Manny. Bryant Young is a pretty good pass rusher where he rushes from.”

RE: What are Roderick Green’s strengths?
“Physically he is a gifted guy. Very strong and he has been a good pass rusher. Those are his strengths.”

RE: Would you like to put him in as a situational pass rusher?
“He could. I would like for him to be an every down player, but we will see what he gives us.”

RE: Where did he play at Baltimore?
“They moved him all around. He was an outside linebacker when I was there. Since I have left he has played defensive end and linebacker. When I spoke with their coordinator, he said Roderick had gained 20 pounds, so I am curious to see him I want to see how he carries that weight”

RE: Why weren’t you more active today in adding players to the roster?
“We have been extremely active in looking at other teams and players. I think if the practice squad additions go right I will be pleased.”

RE: Eric Johnson:
“He has been hurt the last few years, but I think he is going to have a helluva year.”

RE: Have teams inquired about Eric?
“They have been interested in all of our tight ends. I would think someone would sign Terry Jones in the next week or two.”

RE: Do you think a team will sign Terry Jackson?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know. He is a very good special teams player.”

RE: Did you tell Keith Lewis he would assume the role as special teams leader?
“I did tell him that. I called him yesterday and spoke with him. I told Terry wasn’t on the team anymore and he would have to step up his presence. I told him he would have an opportunity to really stand out as a special teams player and make a name for himself.”

RE: Did you practice at all today for Arizona?
“We cut a lot of things back, but it was mostly geared towards Arizona.”

RE: What were some of the hard cuts you had to make?
“There were some tough cuts yesterday. I didn’t anticipate cutting draft choices from last year like Rasheed Marshall and Derrick Johnson. Terry Jackson and Terry Jones were tough.”

RE: Have you been on a team this healthy going into the season?
“I haven’t been in this situation before, but I am pleased. Our off-season program is a direct correlation of that as well as the type of guys we brought in.”

DE Ryan LaCasse To Indy Colts From Baltimore Ravens -

Colts Obtain Defensive End LaCasse from Ravens - from

INDIANAPOLIS – Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy believes a team can never have too many quality defensive linemen.
On Saturday, the Colts made a move to add another.

Ryan LaCasse, a defensive end from the University of Syracuse, was obtained by the Colts on Saturday from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for an undisclosed future draft selection.

LaCasse (6-feet-2, 257 pounds), a seventh-round selection in this past April’s NFL Draft, started 15 of 46 games at Syracuse, where he is 10th on the team’s all-time sacks list with 16.5 for 93 yards.

LaCasse became the third defensive end from Syracuse on the Colts’ roster. Three-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Freeney played for the Orangemen, as did third-year veteran Josh Thomas.(6-feet-2, 257 pounds), a seventh-round selection in this past April’s NFL Draft, started 15 of 46 games at Syracuse, where he is 10th on the team’s all-time sacks list with 16.5 for 93 yards.

LaCasse became the third defensive end from Syracuse on the Colts’ roster. Three-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Freeney played for the Orangemen, as did third-year veteran Josh Thomas.

Shaun King Cut - Indy Colts Keep Two QBs

I know this was a hard decision for head coach Tony Dungy, and they gave Shaun every chance to make the team. But it came down to a numbers game.

Colts release Shaun King, three former draft picks wire reports

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 3, 2006) -- Veteran quarterback Shaun King and three former draft picks -- defensive tackle Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns, defensive end Jonathan Welsh and defensive back Von Hutchins -- were among 25 players released by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts were required to trim their roster from 75 to the NFL regular-season limit of 53 by Saturday afternoon but waited until Sunday to announce the cuts.

Indy also claimed two players -- defensive lineman Dan Klecko and running back De De Dorsey off waivers. Klecko was cut by New England after playing four seasons with the Patriots. Dorsey was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals.

King, who started his career in Tampa Bay with Colts Tony Dungy, took most of the preseason snaps for the Colts. But the team decided to keep only two quarterbacks on the roster -- two-time MVP Peyton Manning and backup Jim Sorgi, who did not play in the final two preseason games because of a sore shoulder.

Burns, a third-round draft pick in 2005, missed the first nine games last season with shoulder and knee injuries before being placed on injured reserve in November.

Welsh, a fifth-rounder in 2005, was expected to fit the mold of Robert Mathis as a speed rusher but played in only six games last year before being put on injured reserve with a knee injury. He was still slowed by the injury throughout training camp.

Hutchins, a sixth-round pick in 2004, was battling three new draft picks to keep his backup job in the secondary.

Charles Rogers - Detroit Lions 2003 First Round Pick WR Officially A Bust; Cut By Team

This proves that there must be a way to measure "maturity" in evaulating a college athlete for the NFL. Perhaps the worst is over and he will be a better person and player.

Lions cut WR Rogers, No. 2 pick in 2003 wire reports

DETROIT (Sept. 2, 2006) -- This is not what the Detroit Lions or Charles Rogers had in mind when the wide receiver was drafted second overall three years ago.

After being cut, his career in Detroit ended with just 36 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns along with two broken collarbones and a four-game suspension.

First-year coach Rod Marinelli was unimpressed by Rogers' work ethic and production during training camp, when he was slowed by a sore knee. The new staff also did not have a history with Rogers like team president Matt Millen, who drafted the former Michigan State star and gave him a $14.2 million signing bonus.

Rogers simply wasn't deemed good enough to make Marinelli's team, which is valuing hard work over talent.

"We picked the men that are right for this football team," Marinelli said. "It's behind us. I wish him the very best. We just move on."

Marinelli said Rogers didn't show up the morning of Sept. 2 at the team's practice facility in Allen Park. Marinelli said director of pro personnel Sheldon White left two messages for Rogers and informed his agent, Kevin Poston, of the team's decision.

"Maybe this is just one of those wrong-place, wrong-time things," Millen told The Associated Press. "I was a big fan of Charles when I drafted him, and I still am. He just needs to decide to use all of his skills."

Poston said he can start finding a new home for the receiver Sept. 3 if he is not picked up on waivers with his current contract.

"After 24 hours, we will start contacting teams and I'm sure teams will be contacting us," Poston told The AP. "He's a 25-year-old receiver with a lot of talent."

Messages seeking comment were left on Rogers' cell phone.

In 2003, the Lions and Rogers agreed to a six-year contract -- with a team option for a seventh season -- that could've been worth almost $55 million.

Detroit drafted Rogers one year after taking quarterback Joey Harrington, the No. 3 pick overall, envisioning the duo leading it to success. Since winning the 1957 NFL title, the Lions have won only one playoff game.

Rogers was cut five months after Harrington was traded to Miami for a conditional 2007 pick.

Perhaps in large part because Rogers and Harrington did not produce as hoped, the Lions are a league-worst 21-59 since Millen, a former linebacker and TV analyst, became an NFL executive for the first time in 2001.

"They have to be what they're supposed to be," Millen said three years ago in an interview with The AP. "They can't do it alone, but in order for us to get where we want to get, we can't look back and say we missed with those guys."

Rogers played in 15 games and missed 33 during his three years with the Lions.

He lived up to the hype on Sept. 7, 2003, when he became the first Detroit rookie to catch two TDs -- on his first two receptions -- in his first game. He led the team with 22 catches for 243 yards and three TD receptions through five games. Then, Rogers had his first setback when he broke his right collarbone during a bye-week practice, a season-ending injury.

On Detroit's first drive the next season, he had the same injury and had season-ending surgery.

Last year, Rogers had five receptions for 77 yards over the first three games before encountering his next obstacle. He was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and finished the season with 14 receptions for 197 yards and a TD.

"I will make no excuses for what I did, and I accept full responsibility for my actions," Rogers said in a statement released by the team when the suspension was announced last October. "I let down a lot of people, mainly myself."

The Lions released 21 total players, including offensive tackle Kelly Butler and linebacker James Davis. The team also placed safety Idrees Bashir on the injured reserve.

Davis started 29 games the previous two years and Butler started all 16 last season.

San Diego Chargers' Steve Foley Shot By Off-Duty Cop; Why Was Cop Off Duty??

Why was an off duty cop looking to make an arrest? Something here does not pass the logic test. Was the cop himself intoxicated? Also was the officer driving an unmarked car? If so, it may have been hard for Foley to tell if he was a cop.

Chargers' Foley shot by off-duty cop

By Sandra Dibble
September 4, 2006

Chargers linebacker Steve Foley underwent surgery for gunshot wounds yesterday after being shot by an off-duty police officer outside his Poway home.

Steve Foley
The 3:41 a.m. shooting occurred after the Coronado officer followed Foley's car for about 10 miles, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The officer suspected a drunken driver when he spotted Foley's vehicle weaving in and out of lanes of northbound traffic on state Route 163, nearly colliding with several other cars, investigators said.

Foley, 30, was shot standing near his car, said sheriff's homicide Lt. Dennis Brugos. He more than once had refused the officer's order to pull over, Brugos said.

The officer, whose name was not released, was driving an unmarked car and was not in uniform. The officer told investigators he fired his weapon several times at Foley after the athlete stepped out of his vehicle on the quiet, upscale cul-de-sac of Travertine Court, and reached into his pants.

It was not clear whether Foley was armed, Brugos said.

Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said Foley's injuries were not life-threatening. Schottenheimer said he did not know whether Foley would miss any time on the playing field as a result.

“The only thing we're thinking about is to make sure he is well,” Schottenheimer said. “Beyond that, it's not appropriate in my view to comment.”
On Saturday evening, hours before the incident, Foley had attended the Chargers' rookie dinner, where new players treat veterans to a lavish meal.

Police said Foley was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital. A city of San Diego dispatcher confirmed an ambulance sent to Travertine Court at 3:47 a.m. took a patient to Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa. A hospital spokeswoman, Kathy Gambito, said she had no information on a patient with Foley's name.

Foley's agent, David Levine, said Foley underwent surgery at noon.

It is unknown whether any charges will be filed against Foley. His female companion, Lisa Maree Gaut, 25, was booked into Las Colinas jail yesterday afternoon on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to the Sheriff's Department. A court hearing for Gaut is set for Thursday afternoon in El Cajon.

Foley signed with the Chargers as a free agent before the 2004 season, starting 13 games last season and missing three games with an abdominal injury. He tied for third on the team with 4½ sacks.

“He's been a great asset to this team, whether it's how he plays or how he livens up the locker room and how he leads,” said cornerback Quentin Jammer. “Foley is a genuine good guy. That's how he is all the time.”

Homicide detectives have taken over the investigation, because the shooting involves a police officer. The officer is on administrative leave, according to the Sheriff's Department, a standard procedure in such shootings.

The Coronado Police Department referred questions to the Sheriff's Department.

Foley has had previous run-ins with law enforcement. Last week, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said it would not pursue charges against Foley for an incident in April. He was accused of resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and being drunk in public after an altercation on a University City street about 1:30 a.m. April 21.

After several incidents in Cincinnati in 1999 and 2000, where he played for the Bengals, Foley was enrolled in an NFL alcohol program.

According to the initial report from the Sheriff's Department, yesterday's incident started about 3:30 a.m. when the Coronado officer said he noticed Foley's car weaving on state Route 163 near state Route 52, traveling at speeds ranging from 30 mph to 90 mph.

The officer followed Foley's car as it exited Interstate 15 at Pomerado Road, the report said. Officials said the officer radioed other law enforcement agencies about his actions. When Foley stopped at a red light, the officer said he pulled his car alongside Foley's, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered him to pull over. Foley continued driving, investigators said.

After a short distance, Foley's car stopped again. Foley got out of the vehicle and approached the officer, who had stopped his vehicle behind Foley's. The officer identified himself again and pulled out his handgun, according to the report.

Foley kept approaching and said, “that's a BB gun,” the officer told investigators.

Foley then walked back to his car and drove away. Foley stopped again at the corner of Treadwell Drive and Travertine Court, near his house. The officer backed up his car and then stepped out at the end of the cul-de-sac, according to the report. Foley, who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 265 pounds, walked toward him with his female companion, Gaut, now at the wheel of Foley's customized Oldsmobile Cutlass.

The officer repeated that he was a police officer, and that the gun was real, according to the report. The officer then fired into some bushes as a warning. Gaut then drove the car quickly in the officer's direction, prompting him to fire two times at the vehicle, the report said. That's when Foley reached into his pants with his right hand, investigators said, and continued to approach the officer. The officer fired his gun.

“The suspect acknowledged that he had been shot, but continued toward the officer,” the sheriff's report said.

The officer fired again, the report said, and Foley fell to the ground.

The law allows – but does not require – off-duty police officers to make arrests when they witness suspected misdemeanor crimes, including drunken driving, said Paul Pfingst, the former San Diego County district attorney now in private practice.

“If a person resists arrest, (the officer) has no duty to retreat, if they use deadly force against him, he has the right to defend himself,” said Pfingst, who also served on the San Diego Police Department's review board scrutinizing police shootings and misconduct accusations.

What may become an issue in this case is how the Coronado officer identified himself and whether Foley believed he was legitimate, Pfingst said.

“There's an (identification) question going on there,” he said. “Usually if someone has a badge and a gun and displays it in a clear manner, people don't think they're having a BB gun. The question is whether a badge was displayed. And when it was displayed, was it displayed in a manner that could be seen.”

Several hours after the shooting yesterday, investigators remained on the scene, cordoning off the small cul-de-sac where the shooting occurred. Foley's car stood in the middle, the passenger door ajar.

Property records show Foley purchased a four-bedroom, 2,965-square-foot residence on Travertine Court for $1.39 million in July 2005.

Neighbors in the Rolling Hills Estates development described Foley as a friendly, pleasant neighbor.

“He was real personable, every time he went by he would wave,” said Kent Goodman, who lives nearby.

Foley took time to chat with Goodman's son, who plays football in a Pop Warner League, Goodman said.

Ben Roethlisberger To Miss Opener; Charlie Batch Takes Over

This development could be a blessing for backup quarterback Charlie Batch. The question is how will the Steelers offense cope with the Dolphins pass rush? It's going to be a long evening; look for the Steelers to run early and often, then go with play action.

Roethlisberger has emergency appendectomy wire reports

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 3, 2006) -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had an emergency appendectomy after becoming ill before practice and will miss Pittsburgh's season opener at home with Miami on Sept. 7, the NFL's marquee opening-night game.

Coach Bill Cowher is not certain how long Roethlisberger will be out following the quarterback's third operation in 10 months -- and second in 2½ months.

"The surgery went well," Cowher said. "He is obviously going to be out this week and we will go week to week from there."

Charlie Batch, the former Lions starter who was 2-0 as a fill-in last season when Roethlisberger hurt his knee, will start against the Dolphins in the NFL's first game of the season.

"This is why Charlie is here. Charlie will be fine," Cowher said. "It's a situation that can happen to any football team. You can go out there and have a starter go down, whether it's an ankle or something else of that nature. That's the nature of the business."

The appendix attack is yet another medical setback for Roethlisberger, who nearly died in a June 12 motorcycle accident only to make a remarkably fast recovery. He missed no practice time during training camp and played better in the preseason than he did a year ago before leading the Steelers to their first Super Bowl victory in 26 years.

Roethlisberger missed four games last season because of two knee injuries, one that required surgery, and injured his right thumb late in the season. He later said he broke it, though the Steelers never have confirmed that, but he missed no playing time because of that injury.

It was not immediately known if the motorcycle accident might have caused any internal damage that subsequently resulted in the appendix attack. All of Roethlisberger's known injuries from the crash -- a broken nose, orbital bones and upper and lower jaw, damaged teeth and a concussion -- were to his head.

According to various medical journals, one cause of appendicitis can be a perforation in the appendix.

The Steelers were to begin the season with only two quarterbacks, Roethlisberger and Batch, plus rookie Omar Jacobs on their practice squad. But Cowher said they would bring in another quarterback this week.

One possibility might be former starter Tommy Maddox, who knows the Steelers' system better than any other quarterback they could bring in on short notice. But Maddox played poorly while losing two starts when Roethlisberger was out last season.

Unhappy at being cut after the season ended, Maddox was the only Steelers player who did not attend a White House ceremony honoring the Super Bowl champions this summer.

"We will assess the backup (situation) as the week goes on. This is the situation we are being dealt and we are not asking for any pity nor are we going to make any excuses," Cowher said. "We are going to get ready for Miami accordingly."

Roethlisberger is the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, doing so at age 23 when the Steelers beat Seattle 21-10 on Feb. 5. He is off to one of the best starts of any NFL quarterback in history, leading the Steelers to a 27-4 record in his 31 starts and to two AFC championship games and one Super Bowl in two seasons.

The Steelers made the playoffs last season even with Roethlisberger sitting out one-quarter of their schedule, and Cowher said they will overcome this latest setback.

"Adversity is not what knocks you down, it is how you handle it and how you respond to it," he said. "This football team with its veterans has been down this road before, facing challenges and adversity."

There is a possibility the Steelers could be without their two top skill position players against Miami. Wide receiver Hines Ward didn't have a full training camp practice after Aug. 3 because of a sore hamstring and is listed as questionable. He did not play in the preseason.

The Associated Press News Service

Bill Chackhes Is Ready For Some Football

It's that Smell.....that smell of food slowly roasting over a BBQ grill. The last gasp of summer (although you'd never know it in NY where we had fall like temps this week and flooding due to Ernesto) is on us, and that means Football season has begun.

Weather yours is of the college variety, which has just begun this weekend, or the NFL variety which begins next weekend, you can now rejoice,..Your time has come, your games are here. Usually this is the weekend where everyone takes a short trip, visits family, or has a gathering. I can't do that this year, as i'm enthralled by the start of football once again.

This time, i have 6 fantasy FL teams, a website and podcast, plus contributing to this Blog to keep me busy. Coaching season has also begun forme as well. So lets get ready for Football everyone!!