New York Jets offer to host boy who allegedly was tackled by Browns fan

The New York Jets have offered to host an 8-year-old fan and his family for a home game after he allegedly was tackled by a drunken Browns fan following Sunday's game in Cleveland.

Matt Higgins, the Jets' executive vice president for business operations, said the team contacted the boy's family Wednesday. The Jets offered to fly them to New York, arrange for seats in a suite and provide autographed items from the team, but the family declined.

A Browns spokesman said Wednesday that the team also contacted the family and offered "anything we can do" after hearing about the incident.

The boy reportedly scraped and bruised an ankle after being struck by the older fan in a parking lot near Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Browns Coach Eric Mangini was dismayed by the matter.

"If it's true, it's ridiculous and the guy should be arrested," Mangini said. "I would be sick if someone tackled my kid. I think it's just wrong on so many levels, and I would be angry as a parent, beyond angry."

Goodell says he's proud of Vick's turnaround

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Michael Vick is doing all the right things and he's proud of the way the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback has turned his life around after serving time in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

Speaking to the New York Daily News on a train ride to Philadelphia, Goodell said Thursday the 30-year-old Vick is doing a terrific job on and off the field. Goodell says society needs more success stories and he's hoping Vick will be one, a person who made a tragic error and overcomes it.

Vick threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more in a 59-28 win over Washington on Monday. He will lead the Eagles against the New York Giants on Sunday night.

Goodell says he is in frequent contact with Vick either by phone or by text message, offering encouragement and guidance.

Seahawks players vote to decertify

Seattle Seahawks players voted Wednesday to give the NFL Players Assn. the option of decertifying if there is a lockout next year.

The Seahawks join more than half of the league in voting to decertify if a lockout takes place once the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2010 season.

Decertification would give the union a chance to sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout.

Eagles going green

The Philadelphia Eagles are taking their gridiron off the grid. The team said Thursday that it will add wind turbines, solar panels and a cogeneration plant at Lincoln Financial Field over the next year, a combination that will make the stadium self-sufficient and let the Eagles sell some power back to the electric grid.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the plan was part of the Eagles' commitment to be a socially responsible organization.

Bengals fail to sell out

Television viewers in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky won't see Sunday's game between the 2-7 Cincinnati Bengals and 1-8 Buffalo Bills — even if they want to.

The Bengals announced Thursday that they failed to sell out a game 72 hours in advance for the first time since Nov. 9, 2003. Under NFL policy, that means no television of the game in the Bengals' home markets of Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lexington, Ky.

The Bengals had sold out 57 straight games.

St. Pierre to start at quarterback for Panthers

Brian St. Pierre has thrown five passes in eight NFL seasons. He wasn't in a training camp this summer and as recent as last week was a stay-at-home dad.

On Sunday, he'll start for the Carolina Panthers.

A season of anemic offensive play, multiple injuries and one victory took an even stranger twist Thursday when Coach John Fox picked the 30-year-old St. Pierre over rookie Tony Pike to play against Baltimore.

"The guy has been in some games," Fox said.

That's good enough these days to start for Carolina (1-8), the NFL's lowest-scoring team that has scored nine touchdowns and has no healthy, experienced quarterback.

Rookie Jimmy Clausen missed practice again Thursday with a concussion sustained Sunday against Tampa Bay. Matt Moore was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury last week.

Pike is a sixth-round pick from Cincinnati who has appeared in one game and who Fox doesn't think is ready to start.

Enter St. Pierre, who since being a fifth-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2003 has completed two of five passes for 12 yards, a touchdown and an interception with three teams.

Injury updates

Kerry Collins is healing up quickly enough from a strained left calf that he will be Tennessee's emergency third quarterback Sunday against the Redskins. Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that Collins would be out and possibly miss several weeks with the injury suffered in the 29-17 loss to Miami. But Collins said Wednesday that his calf was improving. Fisher refused to share his plans for quarterback if something happens to Vince Young or rookie Rusty Smith when asked Thursday. The coach said Collins will be their third quarterback. … Dwight Lowery of the Jets will sit out Sunday's game against the Houston Texans because of a concussion. The backup defensive back was injured in the Jets' game Sunday at Cleveland, and Coach Rex Ryan said Thursday that he has "a little ways to go there." Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery did not practice for the second straight day after suffering a slight tear to his left groin, but he did some light jogging on the field and on a water treadmill. Quarterback Mark Sanchez (bruised right calf) practiced fully and should be fine to play against the Texans. … Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is back with the team after he was hospitalized with an injury to the bursa sac in his right knee. Schaub practiced Thursday, and Coach Gary Kubiak expects his No. 1 quarterback to start when the Texans visit the Jets. … Left tackle Shawn Andrews of the New York Giants missed his second straight practice Thursday, and his status for Sunday's game against his former Eagles teammates is uncertain. … The Redskins could be without half of their starting defensive backfield when they face Randy Moss and the Titans on Sunday. Carlos Rogers said Thursday his right hamstring is still sore after it was injured in Monday night's 59-28 loss to Philadelphia, and safety LaRon Landry is fighting a sore Achilles' tendon that has limited him in practice for several weeks. Neither player has practiced this week. Rogers didn't sound optimistic about his chances of taking the field against the Titans, but Landry said he expects to be ready to play by Sunday. The Redskins already have the worst-ranked defense in the NFL, allowing 415.3 yards per game, despite staying relatively healthy. There have been only three man-games lost to injury this season among the defensive starters. … The Cincinnati Bengals have signed fifth-year NFL defensive end Victor Adeyanju and put Jonathan Fanene on injured reserve. Fanene hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury Oct. 24 at Atlanta and saw only limited action earlier because of hamstring problems. He played in every 2009 game for the Bengals. Adeyanju was released Sept. 4 by the St. Louis Rams. … Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Cincinnati. The three-time Pro Bowl player with San Diego who was claimed off waivers last week reinjured his right Achilles' tendon during his first practice with the Bills.

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