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Bledsoe Is Out, Brunell Hurting

<i> Associated Press</i>

New England announced that quarterback Drew Bledsoe will not play in the Patriots’ wild-card game against Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jaguars could also be without their starting quarterback, Mark Brunell.

The finger Bledsoe broke nearly six weeks ago hasn’t healed enough for him to play.

“It is extremely disappointing,” he said Wednesday. “You go through a year’s worth of hard work and games with the goal of getting a shot in the playoffs. When you are not on the field, it’s tough to deal with.”

Scott Zolak will be the starter.

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Brunell took about one-third of the snaps at Wednesday’s practice and said he would do everything he could to play against the Patriots.

Brunell has progressed slowly since suffering a high-ankle sprain four weeks ago.

“I’m going to give it my best shot,” said Brunell, who was listed as questionable on the injury report.

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Pittsburgh Steeler defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will visit with Philadelphia Eagle officials today to discuss the coaching vacancy.

Other candidates to replace the fired Ray Rhodes are Jaguar offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick, who already has interviewed with expansion Cleveland; and former Carolina coach Dom Capers, who was fired Monday.

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Refusing to raise his offer of just under $600 million, Baltimore Oriole owner Peter Angelos has dropped out of the bidding for the Washington Redskins.

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Trustees handling the sale of the NFL franchise and the team’s new stadium in Landover, Md., on behalf of the estate of the late Jack Kent Cooke are still looking at five bidders:

* New York banker Howard Milstein and Bethesda, Md., businessman Daniel M. Snyder, who apparently have made the highest bid at around $700 million.

* Fort Worth, Texas, investor David Bonderman, Washington developer Ted Lerner and Dallas banker Gerald J. Ford.

* A group led by Phoenix developer Sam Grossman that includes former Redskin coach Joe Gibbs.

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* New Jersey Devil owner John J. McMullen and cable television magnate Charles Dolan, whose company owns Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers and Knicks.

* Redskin President John Kent Cooke, son of the late owner.

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New York Giant center Brian Williams, out of football since a training camp injury to his eye in 1997, said he would return to training camp next year. He was poked in the eye and ended up with double vision whenever he looks up. Williams had two operations and a couple of other procedures performed on his eye over the last two years. The second surgery in October, which cleared adhesions and inserted a bigger plate on and under the lower orbit, apparently improved the double vision.

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A small private plane and a Continental Airlines jet came within 30 seconds of colliding near Giants Stadium during Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the pilot of the single-engine plane was lost and flying in restricted airspace near the stadium when it came within 300 feet of the jet, which had 146 people aboard.

The game was just ending.

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