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NFL approves plan for games outside U.S.

From the Associated Press

The NFL will play as many as two regular-season games a year outside the United States starting in 2007, with Mexico, Canada, England and Germany as possible sites.

The plan, first announced last month, was approved Tuesday at the recommendation of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said the benefits of reaching an international audience outweighed the loss of some teams’ home games.

“We are talking about a limited number of games that we think will have a tremendous impact,” Goodell said.

Mark Waller, senior vice president of NFL International, said the league expected to schedule only one overseas game in 2007.

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No specific sites were given for the games. However, Waller said the league hoped to announce the first site by this season’s Super Bowl. The teams would be selected later.

“Germany has a large number of sites as it’s just done the World Cup,” Waller said, adding that the United Kingdom] has a “significant number of great sites. We know the sites in Mexico and Canada, so there’s no shortage of venues that are interested in these games.”

The plan would be set up so that teams would rotate over a 16-year period, with each team playing outside the country twice over that span, once as a visitor, the other as a home team. That means a team would lose one home team during that span.

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Romeo Crennel had no choice. Maurice Carthon had to go. With Cleveland’s season spiraling downward, Crennel accepted Carthon’s resignation as offensive coordinator. The Browns (1-5) have the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense. Jeff Davidson, the club’s offensive line coach the last two seasons, will replace Carthon, who played fullback for the New York Giants.

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Ben Roethlisberger’s second concussion in slightly more than four months may not keep him out of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lineup Sunday or prevent him from practicing this week.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback is questionable for Sunday’s game in Oakland, but Bill Cowher sounded like a coach who expects to have his starting quarterback ready to go this week.

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“He had an MRI done on his brain and neck, and both of those came back normal,” Cowher said.

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Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham will miss three to four weeks after surgery to repair a torn lower abdominal muscle. The Falcons did not release details on the procedure, but Coach Jim Mora said the torn muscle “is related to but not solely linked to” the groin injury that has limited the Abraham to two games this season.

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After running off three consecutive victories to take over first place in the NFC East, the Giants are dealing with a number of injuries -- including linebacker LaVar Arrington’s season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon. Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora has a hip injury and backup Justin Tuck injured his left foot. Cornerback Frank Walker pulled a hamstring in Monday night’s victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

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Tennessee Titans linebacker Robert Reynolds and his estranged wife say Ohio authorities have agreed to withdraw an arrest warrant issued against him after a weekend incident led to misdemeanor domestic violence charges.


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