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Saints, league urged to settle

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge questioned the fairness of the NFL's bounty investigation of the Saints on Friday, then held off on making a ruling while urging all sides to settle the matter on their own.

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan also said the seasonlong suspension of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was excessive and she would be inclined to rule in his favor if she were certain she had jurisdiction to do so.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has justified his suspension of Vilma by describing him as one of the ringleaders of a program that offered Saints defenders improper cash bonuses for injuring opponents.

The judge could rule at any time on Vilma's request to be allowed to temporarily return to the Saints while the case proceeds. But Berrigan urged all parties to come to an agreement first.

Garrard out 2-4 weeks

Dolphins quarterback David Garrard will have arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss two to four weeks, his agent said. The recovery timetable likely takes Garrard out of the competition to win the starting job. He sat out Friday's game against the Bucs.

Garrard's knee had bothered him for a few days, and after an examination, he decided to have surgery rather than deal with the issue throughout the season, agent Al Irby said.

MORE DOLPHINS: Like the Bucs, the Dolphins are taking advantage of the relaxed blackout policy. The Dolphins will let games be televised locally when they sell 85 percent of their seats, excluding suites and club seats. The Bucs were the first team to announce it would take advantage of the new policy that allows teams to televise games locally when they are not sold out. The Raiders followed suit this week.

TEBOW'S JETS DEBUT: Former Broncos quarterback and Florida star Tim Tebow had a rocky debut with the Jets, throwing an interception to rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict on his final throw of a 17-6 loss to the Bengals. Tebow was 4-of-8 for 27 yards, which translated to a passer rating of 18.2. He also scrambled three times for 34 yards, avoiding sacks each time.

BENGALS: Three starters left in the first five minutes against the Jets, all with right knee injuries: left guard Travelle Wharton, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

BROWNS: Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi left with a concussion after catching the first pass rookie Brandon Weeden threw during Cleveland's 19-17 victory over the Lions. Jeff Wolfert's 45-yard field goal with 28 seconds left won it.

CHARGERS: Pro Bowl running back Ryan Mathews had surgery on a broken collarbone and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Mathews was injured on his first carry of the preseason in the first quarter of Thursday's game against the Packers.

CHIEFS: Running back Jamaal Charles, in his first action since ACL surgery on his left knee in September, took a solid hit to the left knee on his first carry, then bounced right up and helped lead two touchdown drives en route to a 27-17 win over Arizona.

49ERS: Linebacker Aldon Smith, who had 14 sacks last season, was carted off with an apparent hip injury against the Vikings.

PACKERS: Former Bears and Bengals running back Cedric Benson, a free agent, visited, and reported that he was expected to sign. … Linebacker Desmond Bishop will miss most of the season with a hamstring injury, the Green Bay Post-Gazette reported.

RAIDERS: Running back Mike Goodson said his neck was still sore after a hard hit sent him to a hospital this week. "It's kind of like having a crick in your neck when you wake up in the morning or something like that," he said. "A little more intense than that, but that's pretty much it."

SEAHAWKS: Guard John Moffitt is expected to have surgery on his left elbow and miss the next two to three weeks.

Saints, league urged to settle 08/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 11, 2012 12:39am]
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