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Signs Good for Bengal Safety’s Recovery

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From Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengal safety Kelvin Moore was in stable condition Saturday at a hospital in Pontiac, Mich., a day after he broke a vertebra in his neck while making a tackle in an exhibition game against the Detroit Lions.

Moore continued to have feeling in his arms and legs, team doctor Robert Heidt Jr. said.

“It’s premature to make a final statement, but all indications are for an excellent recovery,” Heidt said. “He will, however, face an extended period of convalescence and rehabilitation.

“He will not be able to play football this season. Beyond that, regarding football, it’s too soon to speculate.”

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Moore, 24, spent most of his rookie season on the Bengals’ practice squad. He came in as an extra defensive back in passing situations during the first two exhibition games this year.

He will remain at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital Medical Center for another one to three days, then will be transferred to USC University Hospital in Los Angeles, near his family’s home.

“You never know in a situation like that,” Bengal Coach Bruce Coslet said. “That’s what you’re wishing for and hoping for [a full recovery], but this is completely out of my realm. Until he goes through rehab, who knows? It’s encouraging what they told us today. We’ll just wait and see.”

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The Cleveland Browns came home for good Saturday night, opening their new stadium in front of the same fans who fought to bring them back to Cleveland with a 24-17 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Randall Cunningham and Cris Carter hooked up for a passing clinic in the first quarter for the Vikings, whose first team dominated the expansion Browns, outgaining them 130 yards to 24 in the period. But not even the final score or any imbalance on the stat sheet could wreck a historic night for Cleveland, which hadn’t played host to an NFL game since Dec. 17, 1995, when the Browns played their final game in old Cleveland Stadium. . . . Kent Graham passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns in a 304-yard, 24-point first half that led the New York Giants to a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in an exhibition game at East Rutherford, N.J., that featured 11 lost fumbles.

Edgerrin James showed why the Indianapolis Colts thought he was worth $49 million. He scored twice in the Colts’ 37-7 exhibition victory over the New Orleans Saints at New Orleans. Playing in the first half, James rushed for 77 yards in 10 carries and scored on runs of 16 yards and 12 yards. Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams did not play for the Saints because of an injured ankle. . . . After Cade McNown threw interceptions on his first two pass attempts, the rookie from UCLA settled down and started looking like an NFL quarterback as the Chicago Bears defeated the St. Louis Rams, 38-24, at Chicago. McNown, making his first start, led the Chicago Bears on an eight-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Macey Brooks. It was his first touchdown pass in three exhibition games. He finished the night seven of 13 for 71 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Marshall Faulk, making his debut in a St. Louis uniform, rushed for 17 yards in nine carries.

Second-string receiver Patrick Johnson hauled in five passes for 170 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown, and the Baltimore Ravens scored 16 points in the final quarter for a 19-6 exhibition victory over the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons at Atlanta. . . . Terry Glenn caught five passes for 85 yards and a touchdown in the New England Patriots’ 34-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a wet and windy night in Foxboro, Mass. . . . Martin Gramatica, the highest-picked kicker in the 1999 NFL draft, came up with a clutch field goal to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 17-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Kansas City, Mo. Gramatica, taken from Kansas State in the third round, broke a 7-7 tie with a 23-yard field goal late in the third quarter to improve to three for three in the preseason.

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According to two NFL owners, Kirk Kerkorian, the owner of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, has expressed an interest in buying the New York Jets, the New York Times reported. Potential owners can make a bid and those bids will be presented to the estate of former owner Leon Hess, which will accept the highest or most agreeable offer. . . . Akili Smith’s agent hopes that face-to-face meetings with the Bengals can break a contract impasse and get the first-round draft pick in training camp. Leigh Steinberg plans to fly to Cincinnati today to jump-start negotiations, which have stalled over how Smith’s contract will be structured. The quarterback from Oregon was the third overall pick in the draft and is the highest pick left unsigned. . . . Disappointed with their kicking during the preseason, the Browns signed veteran Chris Boniol, who who has kicked for Dallas and Philadelphia in his five-year career and was released by the Eagles last week. . . . Side judge Ron Liebsack suffered a broken leg and sprained knee during the exhibition game between the Browns and Vikings.

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