League suspends Patriots’ Brandon Spikes

The NFL suspended New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes for four games without pay Friday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Spikes, the team’s second-leading tackler, will sit out the rest of the regular season, starting Sunday at the Chicago Bears. The rookie drafted in the second round from Florida will be eligible to rejoin the active roster after the finale at home against Miami, and he would be eligible for the playoffs.

Spikes said in a statement issued by the Patriots that the substance “was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug.”

He apologized to his teammates, fans and the Patriots organization.


Jones wants Romo to play again this season

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants Tony Romo to play again this season, even if the playoffs are a longshot at best. He just wants his star quarterback to get back on the field.

Romo has been sidelined since Oct. 25 when he broke his collarbone in a loss to the New York Giants, and he would be able to return only for the team’s final two games, at Arizona on Dec. 25 and at Philadelphia on Jan. 2.

Asked if Romo would be ready for the Cardinals, Jones said: “In my opinion, he will be.”

“I want to do anything we can to win those games. [The decision] will be based on what gives us the best chance to win,” Jones said. “And, when he’s ready to go, he’s going to be ready. I shouldn’t be concerned about additional injury to his shoulder.”

Jones added that Romo would come back this season only as the starter, not as a backup. Jon Kitna has filled in for Romo, going 3-3 in his six starts.

Given the fact that the Cowboys are virtually out of the playoff hunt, the benefits of having Romo play seem minimal. But along with trying to win those games, Jones also saw a potential benefit of having Romo back before next season.

“I can envision a scenario where you have a little better taste in your mouth if he came back, and he played the last two games and played lights out than if he hadn’t played,” he said.


McCoy returns to practice

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy returned to practice on a limited basis, the first time he has worked out with his teammates since sustaining a high left ankle sprain Nov. 21 at Jacksonville. Over the past three weeks, McCoy was confined to a plastic, immobilizing walking boot.

During the portion of practice open to the media, McCoy did individual drills and hardly seemed bothered by the injury suffered in his fifth start.

“Colt’s not going to be out long,” tight end Evan Moore said. “He’s a fighter, man. If it can be done, he’ll do it. Trust me. It’s great to see him back out there.”


Coach Eric Mangini will wait to see how McCoy’s ankle responds before deciding if he can be Cleveland’s No. 3 quarterback this Sunday at Buffalo. Jake Delhomme will make his third straight start since coming back from an ankle injury. The Browns have won two in a row.

Broncos’ Cox is arrested

Denver Broncos rookie cornerback Perrish Cox was arrested on suspicion of felony sexual assault.

Cox was taken into custody Thursday night after an investigation into an alleged Oct. 28 assault and brought to a Douglas County jail, said Michelle Kivela, public information officer for the city of Lone Tree, which is about 20 miles south of Denver.


Cox appeared Friday in Douglas County Court in nearby Castle Rock.

A judge declined a defense attorney’s request to reduce a $50,000 bond but did say that Cox can leave the state two times — apparently to play in Broncos road games at Arizona this weekend and at Oakland on Dec. 19. Cox waived extradition, meaning he agreed not to fight transport back to Colorado if for some reason he were arrested out of state.

Cox posted bail Friday afternoon and was released from custody.

“This is a serious matter and something we’re taking extremely serious as an organization,” Broncos interim Coach Eric Studesville said. “We’ll get all the facts together, get all the information we can, sit down and figure out what we’re going to do based on the information we gather. It’s disappointing news. Any time you hear something like this, it always is.”


Police raid Reed’s home

Police raided the home of Baltimore Ravens rookie kick returner David Reed earlier this week to investigate potential drug activity.

No charges have been filed, but police did take evidence from his residence, according to Baltimore County police spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough.

McCullough says police entered Reed’s home around 10:30 on Tuesday night to “investigate potential narcotics activities.”


He said Friday the evidence that was confiscated is being analyzed, and Reed “currently is not being charged with anything.”

Favre still questionable

Brett Favre still hasn’t been able to throw a proper pass in practice, and the Minnesota Vikings still haven’t given up hope their quarterback will extend his NFL record for consecutive starts against the Giants on Sunday.

Favre did minimal work in practice Friday for the first time all week, making a few soft tosses to test out his sprained throwing shoulder. He is listed as questionable on the injury report and will be a game-time decision on whether he will make his 298th straight regular-season start.



Arizona rookie quarterback John Skelton will get his first NFL start when the Cardinals play the Broncos on Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt made the announcement after practice Friday. … Miami Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline (hand) and tackle Vernon Carey (knee) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Jets safety James Ihedigbo will not play because of an injured right leg. … … Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) will miss his second straight game because of a knee injury when the Bears play the Patriots on Sunday. … Philadelphia defensive end Trent Cole was fined $20,000 by the NFL for hitting Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the knee area, Arizona defensive tackle Alan Branch was docked $10,000 for roughing the passer for his hit on Rams rookie Sam Bradford and Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril was fined $15,000 for roughing Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. … The NFL suspended Carolina Panthers guard Duke Robinson for four games without pay for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Robinson is already on injured reserve, but he’ll be able to serve the suspension over the final four games this season. … Buffalo tight end Shawn Nelson will miss his second straight game Sunday because of migraine headaches. … Carolina linebacker Jon Beason has practiced on a limited basis for the first time this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Atlanta.