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Tampa Bay Bucs' Clifton Smith honored

Clifton Smith outruns Jon McGraw during his 97-yard kickoff return Sunday. Smith had 232 yards on six kickoff returns.

Associated Press

Clifton Smith outruns Jon McGraw during his 97-yard kickoff return Sunday. Smith had 232 yards on six kickoff returns.

TAMPA — Bucs running back Clifton Smith on Wednesday was named NFC special teams player of the week for Week 9, according to a news release.

Smith became the second player in franchise history to return a kickoff for a touchdown with his 97-yard return, the longest in team history, late in the second quarter of Tampa Bay's 30-27 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

He finished the day with six kickoff returns for 232 yards and two punt returns for 27 yards. His 259 total return yards set a franchise record for return yards by an individual in a game.

Culpepper may start

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Lions tried to be coy about how much Daunte Culpepper practiced and whether their new quarterback will play just days after signing. In the locker room, though, it seemed obvious Culpepper is expected to make his Detroit debut Sunday against the Jaguars.

"We're throwing him in the fire right away," defensive tackle and captain Cory Redding said. "I feel like it's something he can handle because he's been in this league long enough. It's like riding a bike."

Coach Rod Marinelli and Culpepper declined to reveal how the first-string snaps were shared between the former star and second-year pro Drew Stanton. But receiver Shaun McDonald provided at least a hint.

"It was pretty even," McDonald said when asked how the repetitions were divided. "Daunte might've had a little bit more."

Culpepper arrived in the Detroit area on Monday, was given a playbook when he signed a two-year deal Tuesday then practiced the next day for the first time this year.

"I'm like a sponge right now, trying to absorb it all," he said.

Culpepper may make his team debut in haste because Dan Orlovsky's injured right hand is severe enough to be covered by a soft cast and examined by a specialist and the team does not seem to be confident in Stanton.

ROMO ON FIELD: Tony Romo was back under center at practice. Expect him to do so the next time the Cowboys play, too.

Romo's return from a broken pinkie on his throwing hand is coming along as expected. The clunky cast he wore the past three weeks has been replaced by a small splint covering only the pinkie. It's as much for support as protection, and he wasn't even wearing it between a walkthrough and a practice.

"It's still not all the way healed, but it's getting there," Romo said. "I can definitely grip the ball much better."

Romo was hurt during a loss to Arizona on Oct. 12.

RAIDERS CUT HALL: DeAngelo Hall's disappointing stint with the Raiders ended early.

Oakland waived Hall less than eight months after they traded a second-round pick for the former Pro Bowl cornerback and gave him a seven-year, $70-million contract.

Hall's acquisition from the Falcons in March was a big part of Oakland's plans to rebuild its defense. But he struggled with nagging injuries throughout training camp, and in eight games he was beaten 40 times for 552 yards on 66 passes thrown his way, according to data compiled by STATS LLC.

PORTER RIPS Jags' JONES: On a conference call with reporters, Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter said he had no idea how Jaguars receiver Matt Jones could still be playing despite having a felony cocaine charge against him this year.

Porter made his comments after being asked about the NFL's crackdown on big hits that are deemed illegal and dangerous.

"If I knew the answers, I'd still have 20 more thousand dollars," said Porter, who was fined $20,000 last month for criticizing referee Ed Hochuli after a loss to Houston. "But I'm still trying to figure out how a guy gets caught with cocaine in his car and still plays the game and nothing happens.

"He got caught with cocaine and Matt Jones is still playing football. How does he get away with that? And then you fine people $20,000 for making comments to the media about the refs. The guy got caught with cocaine."

BEARS: Relieved that his right ankle is sprained and not broken, quarterback Kyle Orton hopes to play Sunday against the unbeaten Titans. "I'm certainly not ruling out anything," Orton said.

EAGLES: Tight end L.J. Smith is ready to play and returned to practice after missing a game with a concussion. He'll be back in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Giants, leaving Brent Celek, who had six catches for 131 yards in his start last Sunday, as the backup.

GIANTS: Receiver David Tyree, who made a memorable catch in a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots in February, went on injured reserve with a pulled hamstring and will miss the rest of the season.

JAGUARS: Coach Jack Del Rio sent linebacker and team captain Mike Peterson home two days after Del Rio questioned his team's chemistry. It was unclear what prompted the decision.

REDSKINS: Sean Taylor will be inducted into the team's Ring of Fame this month after the first anniversary of his death.

SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is likely to return against the Cardinals on Nov. 16. He will miss his fifth straight game Sunday at Miami with a hyperextended right knee.

Tampa Bay Bucs' Clifton Smith honored 11/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:01am]

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