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Rusty Hilger is latest QB to join Colts

Rusty Hilger, who hasn't thrown a regular-season pass since 1988, joined the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday as they continued shuffling quarterbacks. Hilger, 28, was signed as a backup behind No. 1 draft pick Jeff George and Joe Ferguson _ at 40 the oldest NFL player. Ferguson was pressed into service Sunday after George was hurt and Jack Trudeau suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 27-7 loss to Miami.

George, who missed four starts with an abdominal strain, is expected to start in Monday night's game against the undefeated New York Giants. George played briefly last Sunday before being sidelined by a bruised knee.

On Wednesday, he had his most extensive workout in six weeks.

"I felt fine," George said. "Things were going pretty well. I was picking up the reads. It was like I hadn't missed any days. It's going to be tough."

Coach Ron Meyer was encouraged by George's workout, but said he didn't think his prize rookie was completely healthy.

"We'll play it day-by-day. If we have to go right now, he would be the starter, but to say that that isn't creating some anxious thoughts and moments for me would not be the truth," Meyer said.

Hilger was a sixth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1985. He was with the Raiders for three seasons, playing in 11 games and starting five, before he was waived in August 1988. The Detroit Lions signed Hilger in October and he started nine of their final 11 games in 1988.

Hilger was waived by the Lions prior to the 1989 season. He was with Seattle in training camp this year, but was released.

Niners' Craig will start

Sunday against Browns

SANTA CLARA, Calif. _ Roger Craig returned to practice Wednesday, and San Francisco 49er coach George Seifert said there is a good chance he'll start Sunday against the Packers in Green Bay.

Craig, who suffered a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament behind the right knee on Oct. 7 against Houston, has been inactive for the past three games.

"From what I saw today, I would say Roger would start," Seifert said.

Also practicing was wide receiver John Taylor, whom Seifert said would start Sunday.

Easley drops his lawsuit

against the Seahawks

SEATTLE _ Former Seattle Seahawk Kenny Easley dropped his injury lawsuit against the team Wednesday but will continue legal action against the maker of a medication he blames for kidney damage, his lawyer said.

Easley, 31, a five-time All-Pro safety for the Seahawks, received a kidney transplant in June. His seven-year pro career ended in the spring of 1988 when irreversible kidney damage was discovered.

Easley contended his kidneys were ruined by large doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen, contained in Advil.

Around the league

Eagles: Quarterback Randall Cunningham said the Eagles (3-4) need the support _ not the boos _ of what other teams call "the 12th man" _ the fans.

Cunningham offered the Redskins' fans as an example. "They root for their team. They don't boo 'em or anything," Cunningham said. "That's why Washington wins a lot of its games at home."

Browns: In a phone-in poll conducted Tuesday by the Akron Beacon Journal, 704 callers favored Mike Pagel to start at quarterback Sunday against the Bills and only 94 chose Bernie Kosar.

"I'm sure glad I got through 702 times," Pagel said. "I appreciate the other two people calling, whoever they are."

Redskins: Wide receiver Ricky Sanders will be tried on aggravated assault charges on Dec. 17 in Houston.