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NHL to have first ever European referee Tuesday

11.15.10 at 3:19 pm ET
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Marcus Vinnerborg will become the first European to officiate an NHL game Tuesday, when he takes the ice to officiate the Stars-Ducks game in Dallas. Europeans broke into the NHL in 1964, and several former players coached briefly in the NHL, but officiating was the last position to be filled by a European.

‘€œYou can’€™t set this as a goal for yourself because until now the NHL has been a closed world to European officials,’€ Vinnerborg said in an interview with IIHF.com. ‘€œI feel fortunate to get this opportunity and to be appreciated by them.’€

The 37-year old, who hails from Sweden, has been preparing for the move to the NHL by refereeing games in the American Hockey League this fall.

Read More: Marcus Vinnerborg, NHL, Rumor Mill,

Bengals kicker Mike Nugent could be out for the year

11.15.10 at 3:17 pm ET
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Bengals kicker Mike Nugent could miss the rest of the season due to a right knee injury he suffered on an onside kick late in the team’s loss to the Colts Sunday. Nugent had to be carried off the field by teammates after the Bengals recovered the ball. He was seen on the sidelines with crutches later in the game.

‘€œThe ball was on its way and I kind of cut back to take a guy and that’€™s when it happened,’€ Nugent told the Bengals’ official site. “It doesn’t look good.”

Nugent is 15 of 19 this year on field goal attempts. The injury could not have come at a worse time, as former Bengals kickers Dave Rayner (Detroit) and Shayne Graham (New England) signed on with other teams last week.

Read More: Dave Rayner, Mike Nugent, Rumor Mill, Shayne Graham

Monday night football injury update

11.15.10 at 3:16 pm ET
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Heading into a big NFC East matchup, the Redskins will be without starting running back Clinton Portis, while the Philadelphia Eagles will be playing with a makeshift defense and offensive line.

The Redskins will start Ryan Torain at running back, with Portis inactive due to a lingering groin injury. According to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network, Washington will likely have Brandon Banks back after undergoing knee surgery two weeks ago. The rookie wide receiver and kick returner is sixth among all kickoff returners with 16 or more returns, with a 27.3 yards per return average.

On the other side, the Eagles will be without two defensive starters and could be missing two offensive lineman. Rookie free safety Nate Allen has been ruled out due to a neck injury that caused him to miss practice all week. Former Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs will miss the contest with a hip injury that also kept him out of the team’s game in Week 9 against the Colts.The Eagles will start rookie Kurt Coleman at free safety, and Dimitri Patterson at cornerback.

Along the line, starting right guard Max Jean-Gilles and backup left tackle King Dunlap are uncertain for tonight. Jean-Gilles suffered a concussion against the Colts last week and only was cleared to returned to practice Saturday. Dunlap is doubtful with a knee injury that limited him in practice all week.

Read More: Clinton Portis, Ellis Hobbs, Nate Allen, Rumor Mill

Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen has concussion

11.15.10 at 1:46 pm ET
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Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion Sunday against the Buccaneers and could miss the team’s game this upcoming weekend against Baltimore.

Coach John Fox said he thinks the concussion may have occurred on the last play of the game, when Clausen was stopped at the goal line in a 31-16 Buccaneers win. On the play, Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib dove headfirst into the pile, sparking the ire of several Panthers. Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith was one of several members of the team upset with the move, and he was penalized 15 yards when he shoved Talib after the play.

If Clausen is unavailable Sunday, the Panthers would be left with rookie quarterbacks Tony Pike and Armanti Edwards. Starting quarterback Matt Moore was placed on the IR list last week with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Read More: Jimmy Clausen, John Fox, Rumor Mill, steve smith

Report: Miami LT Jake Long’s shoulder injury could be season-ending

11.15.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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Apparently, quarterback wasn’t the only position to suffer serious blows for Miami following Sunday’s win against the Titans. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly writes that Dolphins LT Jake Long‘s shoulder injury might require season-ending surgery.
According to a source, Long dislocated his left shoulder and was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. The mammoth tackle stayed in the game despite the injury, and has never missed a game in his three-year NFL career. Still, it’s possible this shoulder injury could require season-ending surgery.

If Long’s sidelined, it’s possible the Dolphins would consider moving starting right tackle Vernon Carey to the left side. Reserve tackles Lydon Murtha, Pat McQuistan and recently signed rookie Matt Kopa are also options to either replace Long or fill in for Carey on the right side.

Read More: Jake Long, Miami Dolphins, Rumor Mill,

Video: Jaguars game-winning Hail Mary never even practiced

11.15.10 at 1:05 pm ET
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In one of the craziest plays of the 2010 NFL season, a deflected David Garard Hail Mary fell right into the lap of wide receiver Mike Thomas on Sunday to give the Jaguars’ a 31-24 victory over the Texans. The play epitomizes Houston’s league-worst secondary, even more so because it’s something the Jags never truly practice, according to SI.com’s Peter King.

“We jog through it, and we know what position to be in, and then we look at diagrams,” Thomas said in describing what the team calls “Rebound.” The team doesn’t practice the play at full speed to avoid injuries. “[Tight end] Marcedes Lewis is the point man. He’s supposed to tip it to one of us if he can. I’m the scoop guy, out front.”

Instead of Lewis, Houston cornerback Glover Quin was the tipper, and he batted it straight ahead instead of down to the ground. “When it happened,” Thomas said, “all I could think was, ‘Oh my goodness! Did he really just tap it to me?’ ”

Ironically, with three seconds left in a tie game and the ball at midfield, Thomas explained how the team, “basically began to think of overtime.” Clearly, that wasn’t necessary due to the Texans participation in “Rebound.”

Read More: David Garrard, Houston Texans, Mike Thomas, Rumor Mill

Report: Brett Favre to meet with expert about shoulder

11.15.10 at 12:05 pm ET
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Vikings quarterback Brett Favre told ESPN he will contact Dr. James Andrews about pain in his right shoulder. Andrews performed surgery on Favre to repair a partially torn biceps tendon following the 2008 season, and there is speculation that the new injury might be related.

Favre said he experienced a sharp pain putting on a T-shirt at practice Saturday but did not have pain during Sunday’s game vs. the Bears.

Read More: brett favre, Rumor Mill,

Report: Lane Kiffin loses grievance vs. Raiders

11.15.10 at 11:59 am ET
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According to an ESPN report, Lane Kiffin was denied his grievance seeking unpaid salary from the Raiders following his dismissal four games into the 2008 season. The NFL arbitrator also denied the Raiders their countergrievance for lawyer and arbitration fees, the report stated, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Kiffin, now the coach at USC, had been seeking about $2.6 million. Raiders owner Al Davis claimed Kiffin made comments against the organization that were enough to violate the terms of the three-year, $6 million deal.

Read More: Lane Kiffin, Rumor Mill,

Phillies hire Ryne Sandberg as Triple-A manager

11.15.10 at 11:44 am ET
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After missing out on the Cubs’ managerial opening, Ryne Sandberg accepted a job as manager of the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Sandberg managed the Cubs’ Triple-A team in Iowa this past season and was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year. The Hall of Fame infielder left the organization after the Cubs selected Mike Quade as manager.

Read More: mike quade, Rumor Mill, Ryne Sandberg,

Steelers WR Hines Ward says he’ll play Sunday

11.15.10 at 11:23 am ET
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Shortly after he was knocked out of Sunday night’s contest against the Patriots with a concussion, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he would be ready to play in this coming Sunday’s game against the Raiders. In fact, Ward believes he could have returned to the game vs. the Patriots, but the team’s medical personnel wouldn’t allow him.

‘€œI felt like I could have played but our [doctors] felt otherwise,’€ the 13-year old veteran said. ‘€œIt’€™s my body. I feel like if I want to go back out there I should have the right. They saw me tripping over the grass and the league was going to make a big deal about it, them putting  me back out there.’€

Ward was injured on a 5-yard catch after he took a shot to the head from safety James Sanders to end the first quarter. The play was originally ruled a completed pass but was overturned following a Patriots challenge. Consequently, Ward left the contest with no catches, snapping his streak of regular-season games with at least one catch at 186.

‘€œI’€™m a competitor and I want to be out there, especially against the New England Patriots,” Ward said. “I worked my tail off all week to get in that position and I got dinged up.’€

Though he believes he could have returned Sunday night, Ward will still have to pass multiple cognitive tests this week before he is cleared to play against the Raiders.

Read More: Hines Ward, James Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill