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Atlanta Falcons nose tackle Tony Casillas was suspended without pay for two games Tuesday for missing the team's flight to Los Angeles and Sunday's game against the Rams.

Coach Jerry Glanville also said Casillas will not be paid for the Rams' game.

Glanville met with Casillas Tuesday morning at the Falcons' training complex, but said he would not discuss the matter.

Casillas' agent, John Maloney, said he believes Glanville's action may be a form of punishment because Casillas was a holdout who didn't sign his two-year contract worth $1.1-million until four days after the season-opener. Casillas, who led NFL defensive linemen last season with 159 tackles, has been playing behind rookie Tory Epps, who receives a salary of $77,500.

"I've heard there have been repercussions toward Tony from the coaches," Maloney said. "We have discussed this with the NFL Players Association, though I'm not sure what standing they have right now, and with other attorneys. We have several options, one of which is legal."

Casillas, a five-year veteran from Oklahoma who was the Falcons' top draft choice in 1986, could not be reached for comment. He did not return several telephone calls to his home.

Around the league

Lions: Rodney Peete, who opened the season as Detroit's No. 1 quarterback, will start Sunday against New Orleans, coach Wayne Fontes announced. Peete had been replaced by Bob Gagliano.

Bills: A test on the injured right knee of Thurman Thomas revealed no serious damage.

Steelers: Defensive end Aaron Jones will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken foot.

Oilers: Houston placed injured kicker Tony Zendejas on injured reserve and scheduled a physical and workout Wednesday for free agent Teddy Garcia.

Zendejas, who broke the fibula on his left leg, won't be able to return until the 11th game of the season. Garcia kicked in all 16 games for the Patriots in 1988, hitting 11 of 16 points after and 6 of 13 field goals. He has since been waived by Phoenix and eEattle.

Cardinals: Phoenix signed free-agent linebacker Chris Washington and waived rookie tight end Dennis Smith.

Washington was a sixth-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 1984 and is the Bucs' all-time sack leader among linebackers with 18{.

Bears: Chicago re-signed cornerback John Mangum from the Buccaneers' practice squad. Mangum takes the place of defensive back Maurice Douglass, who was put on injured reserve this week.

_ Information from Newsday was used in this report.

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