Notebook: NFL reinstates Jags’ Smith
Jacksonville wide receiver Jimmy Smith was one of five suspended players reinstated by the NFL on Monday after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Smith, the leading receiver in Jaguars’ history, missed four games. Also reinstated were Denver safety Lee Flowers, New England running back Mike Cloud and Atlanta linebacker Keith Newman. Minnesota tight end Byron Chamberlain was reinstated, only to be released by the Vikings because he was out of shape.
Smith tested positive for cocaine after being stopped for speeding in Jacksonville two years ago, although he was never charged. At the time, Smith denied taking drugs. When he was suspended this preseason, he acknowledged having a problem.
Smith called the past six weeks “one of the toughest times of my life.”
“Working to overcome my problem, while knowing what a difficult position I have put so many people in, is hard to come to terms with,” he said in a statement.
“Although I don’t deserve it based on my actions, I truly appreciate all of the support I have received over the past six weeks. I will not let you down.”
Chamberlain was suspended after testing positive for the banned stimulant ephedra. He said he misread the label on a product he was using and believed it didn’t contain ephedra. He spent the month working out in Arizona but was released after undergoing a physical and going through several conditioning tests Monday.
He declined comment as he left Minnesota’s practice facility.
Newman was suspended after testing positive for steroids.
He could start Sunday against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings since starters Sam Rogers and Will Overstreet most likely won’t play with injuries.
“Sundays were the toughest time because the guys were out there playing and I couldn’t be a part of it because I made a mistake that was my own fault,” Newman said.
Cloud was signed by the Patriots from the Chiefs in the offseason even though the team knew the former Boston College star was facing a four-game ban. He tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone although he has said he didn’t know the substance was in an over-the-counter protein supplement.
Flowers, signed by the Broncos from Pittsburgh in the offseason, tested positive for ephedra. He also said he wasn’t aware the supplement was in his system.
Brenda Warner sounds off again
The wife of benched St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner sounded off again, saying in a radio interview that a trade would be welcomed after the season if the situation stayed the same.
Last season, Brenda Warner called a radio show to complain that she — and not coach Mike Martz — had suggested that the two-time MVP have his injured hand X-rayed. The X-ray revealed a broken hand that Warner had been playing with.
Yesterday, Brenda Warner told “Steve and D.C.” on The Mall that her husband wouldn’t mind changing teams.
“Probably, just from the point that we want to play, he wants to play, plain and simple,” Brenda Warner said. “So, if he’s not going to play here, then he wants to play somewhere.
“You just want to be wanted, like anybody, whether you’re a D.J. or whatever you do.”
Vikings not sure about QB
The Minnesota Vikings will decide later this week whether Daunte Culpepper’s back has healed enough for him to return as the starting quarterback.
Gus Frerotte posted a near-perfect passer rating of 157.2 in Culpepper’s place Sunday, as the Vikings (4-0) beat San Francisco, 35-7. Minnesota plays at Atlanta this Sunday and has a bye the following weekend.
That could give Culpepper four weeks to heal before coming back Oct. 19 against Denver.
Bengals running back Corey Dillon is expected to miss next weekend’s game at Buffalo because of a strained groin. … Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent could miss Philadelphia’s game against Washington on Sunday because of a strained hamstring.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis has signed a seven-year contract extension that includes a $4.2 million signing bonus. … Punter Mark Royals was released by the Miami Dolphins, who brought Matt Turk back as his replacement. Turk, who signed a one-year deal, was the Dolphins’ punter in 2000 and 2001.