METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees is expected to return as starter for New Orleans against the Cowboys on Sunday night in the Superdome, Saints coach Sean Payton said Friday.
"We're planning on starting him, based on the work week," Payton said. "He's thrown well. I thought he looked sharp today."
Brees missed Sunday's 27-22 loss in Carolina because of a bruised rotator cuff in his right (throwing) shoulder. The injury occurred on a hit in the second quarter of New Orleans' Week 2 loss to the Bucs. Brees never took himself out of that game, but did not appear to perform at his normally high standard, finishing 24 of 38 for 255 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"He looks good. He's been throwing it good and having good zip on it," said running back Mark Ingram, a regular passing target out of the backfield in New Orleans' offensive scheme. "He must be feeling good."
Steeler on Ravens star's "hit list": Ravens receiver Steve Smith was very upset with Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, a former Panthers teammate, after a hit in Thursday's game, which Baltimore won 23-20 in overtime. At one point Mitchell tackled Smith and, according to Smith, told the receiver, "How do you like that?" Smith said: "The best thing I can do without threatening him and saying that I will assault him when I see him is I will say I look forward to playing him again and he's on my lifetime hit list." Smith left the game after a hit in the back from Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
Cruz optimistic: Despite another setback, wide receiver Victor Cruz believes he will play for the Giants this season. Speaking for the first time since experiencing another problem with his left calf, Cruz confirmed that he received a shot of platelet-rich plasma on Thursday in an effort to hasten his recovery. Cruz, 28, hasn't played since sustaining a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 12 against the Eagles. "I am tired of looking at reporters every day," Cruz said. "I'd rather be looking at green grass and numbered lines on the field. I haven't lost faith. I know that my time is going to come."
Fryar sentencing: Former Patriots star Irving Fryar was sentenced to five years in a New Jersey prison for his role in a mortgage scam. His mother, Allene McGhee, also was sentenced to three years' probation. Fryar and his mother were convicted in August of applying for multiple mortgage loans in quick succession while using the same property as collateral.
Fines: The league fined Broncos linebacker Von Miller $11,567 for his post-sack gesture, a pelvic thrust, Sunday against the Lions. Broncos nose tackle Sylvester Williams (roughing the passer) and Jets linebacker Demario Davis (unnecessary roughness) $8,681 each for infractions during last week's games.
Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday against the Raiders after being limited in practice. Cutler shared reps with backup Jimmy Clausen this week.
COLTS: Former Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson signed. He most recently spent time with Cincinnati and the Jets this preseason.
Jets: Receiver Eric Decker (sprained left knee) will be a game-time decision to play Sunday in London against Miami.
Panthers: Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion) is out for Sunday against the Bucs.
Rams: Receiver Brian Quick, out since injuring his shoulder last October, said he will be active for Sunday's game at Arizona.
Steelers: The team will give former Redskins kicker Kai Forbath a tryout this week, website csnmidatlantic.com reported.