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Published: Sat, August 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Steelers: The first down Pittsburgh fans will see this season is a pat down: a full-body search before entering Heinz Field for Monday night's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers say they hope the extra measure will make fans feel safer. They're opening the gates to Heinz Field at 5 p.m. Monday, three hours before game time, to allow enough time to search fans. Last season, the gates opened two hours before games. There were no specific incidents or threats that prompted the new policy for this season, only a desire to make sure people are safe, team officials said. "Hopefully, [the searches] will make them more comfortable, knowing we're doing more to ensure the safety of everybody," team spokesman Dave Lockett said. NFL officials said other teams also frisk their fans, though it wasn't immediately clear how many of them. Security has been heightened across the league since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We do it at the Super Bowl." Previously, the Steelers had only searched fans wearing heavy coats to games since the terrorist attacks. The Steelers are keeping their old restrictions on bags and other containers. Those larger than 8 1/2-by-11 inches aren't allowed, and thermoses are banned. Small purses, fanny packs, camera and binocular bags and diaper bags are allowed, but all will be searched.

Jets: Herman Edwards would like to see fewer mistakes in the next preseason game. Chad Pennington simply wants to see some action. The starting quarterback was held out of New York's 10-3 preseason victory over the Lions Friday night as he returns from major shoulder surgery. But Pennington, wearing a sleeveless shirt on the sideline as backup Jay Fiedler led the Jets on a 98-yard scoring drive, was clearly eager to participate. "He was champing at the bit last night, so that's why we didn't put pads on him," Edwards said Saturday. Edwards announced earlier in the week that Pennington wouldn't play because the team wants to be cautious with the quarterback's right shoulder. Pennington, recovering from a torn rotator cuff that caused him to miss minicamp and offseason training, has been looking better in camp -- gaining more velocity and accuracy on his throws. Pennington, who said he's about 90 to 95 percent healthy, fully expects to be more than just a cheerleader when New York plays Minnesota next Friday. "We talked about not playing in the first game and I am real excited about how things are going," Pennington said. "And I plan on playing next week barring any setbacks." Edwards said Pennington would throw once a day, as he's generally been doing during camp. "We'll see where he's at come Wednesday and we'll determine what we're going to do," Edwards said. Fiedler already has shown he's grasped new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's system, and gives the Jets insurance if Pennington can't go when the season starts. Newly signed cornerback Ty Law sat out while trying to get in game shape and learn the team's defensive system, but Edwards expects him to increase his on-field practice time. Law spent most of last week's practices after signing Monday working out and studying films.

Jets: Herman Edwards would like to see fewer mistakes in the next preseason game. Chad Pennington simply wants to see some action. The starting quarterback was held out of New York's 10-3 preseason victory over the Lions Friday night as he returns from major shoulder surgery. But Pennington, wearing a sleeveless shirt on the sideline as backup Jay Fiedler led the Jets on a 98-yard scoring drive, was clearly eager to participate. "He was champing at the bit last night, so that's why we didn't put pads on him," Edwards said Saturday. Edwards announced earlier in the week that Pennington wouldn't play because the team wants to be cautious with the quarterback's right shoulder. Pennington, recovering from a torn rotator cuff that caused him to miss minicamp and offseason training, has been looking better in camp -- gaining more velocity and accuracy on his throws. Pennington, who said he's about 90 to 95 percent healthy, fully expects to be more than just a cheerleader when New York plays Minnesota next Friday. "We talked about not playing in the first game and I am real excited about how things are going," Pennington said. "And I plan on playing next week barring any setbacks." Edwards said Pennington would throw once a day, as he's generally been doing during camp. "We'll see where he's at come Wednesday and we'll determine what we're going to do," Edwards said. Fiedler already has shown he's grasped new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's system, and gives the Jets insurance if Pennington can't go when the season starts. Newly signed cornerback Ty Law sat out while trying to get in game shape and learn the team's defensive system, but Edwards expects him to increase his on-field practice time. Law spent most of last week's practices after signing Monday working out and studying films.

Eagles: This time, Rush Limbaugh wants to help Donovan McNabb, not criticize him. Limbaugh, who once said the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed, wants to help McNabb and wide receiver Terrell Owens settle their differences on his radio show. "I am here to offer and to assist. I can," Limbaugh said on his nationally syndicated radio show Friday, according to a transcript on his Web site. "I could bring these two guys together. I've been there, folks, and I could do this, and I'm serious in my desire to do it." Limbaugh resigned from ESPN nearly two years ago after sparking outrage by saying on a pregame show that he didn't think McNabb was as good as perceived from the start. "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well," Limbaugh said on "Sunday NFL Countdown."




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