NFL promises crackdown on faking injuries

NEW YORK — To the fake handoff and fake field goals, add fake injuries.

The NFL sent a memo Wednesday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game. Yet several players admit it is an accepted practice, and some coaches hinted they are not above condoning phony injuries if it provides a competitive edge.

The memo from the league said "violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game."

The league's competition committee often has discussed the issue but has been reluctant to propose a rule that could force game officials to make judgments on injuries.

In the memo, the NFL reminded teams of league policy that calls on coaches to discourage the practice. There is no specific rule on the topic.

"I've been places where it has been (taught)," said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players union executive committee. "They have a name for it, and I've been places where it's been pre-called. I've been places where it's one player who has been designated."

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Tuesday that the team notified the league office that it suspected the Giants were feigning injuries in St. Louis' 28-16 loss. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said it was obvious the Giants were just buying time as St. Louis ran a no-huddle offense.

"They couldn't get subbed, they couldn't line up," Bradford said. "Someone said, 'Someone go down, someone go down,' so someone just went down and grabbed a cramp."

Giants safety Deon Grant was adamant about not having faked anything. "I could see if I was walking and fell," he said. "When you see after I made that tackle and bang my knee on that play, you see me bending my knee as I am walking. … (Teammate Justin) Tuck is walking behind me and saying, 'D, don't run off the field. Just go down.' As I am walking, they line up, and knowing that I can't get back in my position because of the knee injury, I went down."

"It's always been in the game," Ravens safety Ed Reed said. "It's all tactical stuff you need to use. … If you're tired, you're tired. You get a break however you can."

Added 49ers running back Frank Gore: "Hey, I feel if it helps, do it. I'm bound to do it."

Vick improving: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who suffered a concussion Sunday, took part in a morning walkthrough but didn't practice in the afternoon. Still, the team said there is a chance he will play against the Giants. Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Vick doesn't have "a whole lot of concussion symptoms" and would undergo further testing.

Chiefs lose Charles: Running back Jamaal Charles was placed on season-ending injured reserve. He tore the ACL in his left knee in the first quarter of a loss to the Lions, another blow for an 0-2 Kansas City team that has lost by a combined 89-10.

Giants lose Hixon: Receiver Domenik Hixon will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee for the second straight year. Surgery is planned in the near future. He was hurt Monday making a juggling catch for a touchdown against the Rams.

Targeting Romo: Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he hopes injured Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (broken ribs, punctured lung) plays Monday, so he can inflict more damage. "Absolutely. I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever's hurt," Hall said. "Romo's ribs — I'm going to be asking for some corner blitzes. … If you know something's wrong with an opponent, you're going to try to target in on that." Dallas coach Jason Garrett said he is hopeful that Romo will play.

Falcons: Quarterback Matt Ryan (knee) was limited in practice after taking a pounding against Philadelphia, but he said he will be ready to take on the Bucs. Ryan would only say he feels about normal for the middle of the week after a physical game. He has been sacked nine times this season and hit 17 more times.

49ers: Receiver Braylon Edwards had a surgical procedure on his right knee, and coach Jim Harbaugh refused to predict a timetable for Edwards' return or provide details.

Jaguars: Coach Jack Del Rio named rookie Blaine Gabbert the starter, switching quarterbacks three days after Luke McCown threw four interceptions against the Jets. The move comes a little more than a week after Del Rio released veteran David Garrard after a poor preseason and a three-interception practice. Gabbert will make his first start Sunday at Carolina.

Titans: Defensive end Derrick Morgan said the league fined him $7,500 for a late hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. He plans to appeal. Flacco had fumbled, fell on the ball and was touched by another Titan before Morgan arrived and was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

NFL promises crackdown on faking injuries 09/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:42pm]

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