NFL ROUNDUP News and notes
Browns: The attorney for left tackle Ross Verba denied his client was involved in an alleged sexual assault at Verba's home last week. According to a Monday report by Cleveland television station WKYC-TV, a young woman told Strongsville police she thought she might have been raped after a party Wednesday night. The station said police reports indicate the alleged victim was examined Thursday at Southwest General Hospital. "He absolutely denies he was involved in any improper activity, if there was any," said Vince Stafford, Verba's Cleveland attorney. "We have no idea what the results of the exam are." Strongsville police detective Sergeant Lee Colegrove issued a statement that the department was investigating a "suspicious situation," but would not take questions. The statement said lab results were pending. Stafford said Verba was cooperating with the investigation and has nothing to hide. "We don't know who the person is, where she lives or how she got invited to Ross' house," Stafford said. "Evidently Ross' roommate had some people over. I know for a fact Ross did not spend the night at that house."
Vikings: While the rest of the team was fighting to the last, Randy Moss was skulking away. With his helmet in hand and head down, Moss slowly walked off the field Sunday while his teammates were lining up to try an onside kick with two seconds remaining. The Redskins recovered, handing the rattled Vikings a 21-18 season finale loss. Although the play mattered little in the end, center Matt Birk took issue with Moss's quitting attitude and confronted the receiver immediately after the game. "It shouldn't happen and if it happens again there might be some problems," Birk said Monday, choosing his words carefully. Moss' move spoke volumes about the shattered mental state of the Vikings, who lost seven of their last 10 to finish 8-8. Few of his teammates and coaches noticed at the time, but television cameras caught the three-time All-Pro -- who has an infamous history of attitude problems -- walking into the tunnel toward the locker room. Moss, who caught five passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in the game, had an hour-long phone conversation with Tice afterward. They talked again Monday morning in the coach's office for the same amount of time. Tice declined to comment about a possible disciplinary measure, but he indicated Moss knows he messed up. "I understand his frustration," Tice said, "but we can't let our frustrations make us make poor decisions of poor judgment." Moss was unavailable for comment, as he has been most of the season.
Jaguars: Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was fired Tuesday after Jacksonville finished last in the AFC and 29th in the league in scoring. Musgrave was heavily criticized during the season for not getting the most out of an offense that featured running back Fred Taylor, receiver Jimmy Smith and emerging quarterback Byron Leftwich. The Jaguars struggled all season in the red zone, on third downs and in short-yardage situations. Coach Jack Del Rio never publicly criticized Musgrave, but he never gave him a vote of confidence, either.
Bears: Offensive coordinator Terry Shea was fired Tuesday after a season in which the team had one of the NFL's worst offenses. The Bears, who finished 5-11, also ranked last in six major statistical categories, including scoring and total yards, using four different quarterbacks. "It was a tough decision," said Lovie Smith, who just finished his first season as Bears coach. "He's a good man, a good coach, but I felt like this was the direction that we had to go to." Chicago lost six of its last seven games. The Bears had more lost fumbles (21) than offensive touchdowns (19). "Every coach had all of my full support really as we were going through the season, but as you look at things after the season and we're 5-11 and that isn't good enough," Smith said.
Colts: Defensive tackle Montae Reagor avoided arrest after showing up 61/2 hours late for a court hearing on a harassment charge Tuesday. At a mid-afternoon hearing, Judge Marguerite T. Langstaff canceled an arrest warrant issued hours earlier for Reagor's failure to appear, reinstated the previous bond, and released Reagor, court spokesman Michael Knight said. Reagor is charged with harassing and making telephone threats to a former girlfriend who lives in the Denver area. He was released on $1,000 bond after his arrest on Saturday and played in the Colts' 33-14 loss to the Broncos the following day. Reagor was supposed to appear Tuesday morning for a hearing in Arapahoe County Court, but did not show up on the advice of his attorney, Dennis Hartley. Langstaff then issued a warrant. Hartley said he contacted Reagor, who flew in from Indianapolis, Knight said. Frank Moschetti, the county's chief deputy district attorney, said that under Colorado law for domestic violence cases, Reagor was required to show up at court. The woman, who has a 2-year-old son with Reagor, told investigators that Reagor was upset about child support payments and threatened her life unless she stopped court proceedings against him, according to court documents. Reagor denied the charge and called the complaint "a lie to discredit and pressure him" for more money, the affidavit said. Reagor was expected to be allowed to return to Indianapolis after making a court appearance and signing a restraining order to not contact his ex-girlfriend. Colts coach Tony Dungy said Monday he planned on having Reagor in the lineup for the Colts' first-round playoff game against Denver on Sunday. Reagor played for the Broncos from 1999-02 and signed with the Colts as a free agent before the 2003 season.
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