Get ahold of this

San Diego plays host to Denver today, and that means Chargers defensive lineman Igor Olshansky will be facing Broncos center Tom Nalen again.

Remember, it was Nalen who lunged at Olshansky's knees last month on a last-minute play in which quarterback Jake Plummer was spiking the ball to stop the clock.

An enraged Olshansky threw a punch and was ejected. But the NFL wound up fining Nalen $25,000 for his transgression.

Olshansky later referred to Broncos offensive linemen as "wussies" and said the only reason Denver has success running the ball is because the linemen hold.

Nalen, who has appealed the fine, hasn't said anything publicly about the incident because Broncos linemen don't talk to the media.

Seeking revenge

Oakland's Warren Sapp has a little extra motivation today when the Raiders play at Cincinnati. He says the Bengals nearly signed him in 2004 before backing out of a potential deal.

"They snatched the offer off the table," he told reporters last week.

Sapp, who was an unrestricted free agent at the time after having been released by Tampa Bay, said the Bengals "gave me an hour to take the offer.

"I called back in 57 minutes and they took the offer off the table. They said they were bidding against themselves."

Missing mainstay

Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt remains in a Dallas hospital two weeks after being treated for a partially collapsed lung. Hunt, 74, also has been battling prostate cancer since his 1998 diagnosis.

In the past, he has seldom missed a Chiefs game but this season has been absent for more than half of them.

Can't shoulder the wait

New England safety Rodney Harrison, who hasn't played since suffering a broken shoulder blade Nov. 5 against the Indianapolis Colts, says he plans to return this season.

"I'm planning on coming back strong and being a big contributor," he told Boston's Channel 4. "I'll put it like this: The next time I play, I don't plan on it being next year."

Harrison, among the hardest hitters in the league, sat out most of last season recovering from three torn ligaments in his knee. He says his latest injury doesn't compare to that.

"I feel like I've gone through the worst possible pain that you can go through as a person," he said. "It's frustrating. It's difficult. ... You just have to deal with it."

Move-in ready

Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, who grew up in Houston and heard many people lobbying for him to be the Texans' top pick, will make his return there today. He does so having won three consecutive starts for the surprisingly resurgent Titans.

As for his homecoming, he said he expects "a lot of respect, a lot of love."

Not from the Texans, of course. In fact, Houston defensive end Antwan Peek hardly rolled out the red carpet last week when discussing Young's return.

"Hey, this is our house," Peek told reporters. "When he comes here, we're going to lock the gates up, and it's going to be on after that."

Seeing as the Texans are 2-3 at Reliant Stadium, it might be considered a fixer-upper.

Can't run from the issue

The Colts thought they had their run-defense problems under control, or were at least headed that way, and then along came Tennessee. The Titans burned them for 219 yards rushing in an upset last Sunday, rekindling speculation Indianapolis won't go far in the postseason no matter what quarterback Peyton Manning does.

Indianapolis is giving up 159.9 yards rushing a game and 5.1 yards per attempt, both league worsts. According to the Indianapolis Star, no team in 20 years has given up 135 yards rushing or more and reached the conference championship.

Coach Tony Dungy told the newspaper that if the run defense doesn't improve "we'll be counting on the offense and special teams to bail us out."

Added Dungy: "You can win that way, but it's hard to do."


-- Sam Farmer

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