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Dolphins’ Saban yet again denies Alabama reports

From the Associated Press

Despite repeatedly denouncing talk of his leaving for Alabama in recent weeks, Miami Dolphins Coach Nick Saban again, and adamantly, denied Thursday that he’s headed back to the college ranks.

A story posted on NFL.com this week said Alabama “keeps on making runs at Saban” in an effort to persuade him to replace the fired Mike Shula. The same story even reported that an unnamed NFL head coach said Saban is getting closer to joining the Crimson Tide.

“I guess I have to say it,” Saban said. “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”

“I don’t know how many times I’ve got to respond to rumor and innuendo. I have no control over that. I’ve stated what my intentions are and they really haven’t changed, so I don’t know what the issue is. And I don’t know why people keep asking about it. What they talk about over there is their business. But what’s happening here is my business and our business, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

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Saban, in the second year of a $22.5-million contract, acknowledged this month that Alabama approached his agent but that he declined an invitation to talk to the Crimson Tide.

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Quarterback Carson Palmer fully participated in the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice, saying his passing shoulder was fine after not fully participating Wednesday.

Palmer was sacked four times and hit hard in Monday’s loss to Indianapolis.

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick took snaps with the first team in practice, increasing the likelihood his groin strain won’t keep him from starting against Carolina.

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Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme sat out practice again because of his sprained right thumb, making it likely he will miss his third straight game since being injured on Dec. 4 at Philadelphia. Chris Weinke is expected to start again.

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New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan practiced for the second straight day, making it likely he will play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Tom Coughlin refused to speculate how much Strahan would play in his first game since spraining his right foot Nov. 5 against Houston.

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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor sat out a second straight practice and remained questionable for Sunday against the New England Patriots. Taylor strained his right hamstring Dec. 10 against Indianapolis and reinjured it last week at Tennessee.

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San Francisco defensive tackle Ronald Fields was put on injured reserve, ending his season because of a broken arm he initially didn’t realize he had.

The 49ers re-signed Lance Legree to replace Fields, who didn’t think much of it until Thursday, when X-rays revealed the break. He will have surgery today.

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The St. Louis Rams’ string of 95 consecutive regular-season sellouts may be about to end, and even if the remaining 3,000 seats for the home finale against the Washington Redskins sell, the game will be blacked out on local television. A blackout hasn’t happened since the Rams moved to Missouri in 1995.


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