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Sellout deadlines extended

The Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints received extensions from the league and scrambled to sell out their wild-card games and avoid local television blackouts.

The Eagles have until 4 p.m. today to sell the remaining 3,000 tickets for Sunday's game against the Bucs.

The Saints, who received their second extension Thursday, were closing in on a sellout for their game Saturday with the St. Louis Rams. They received a 24-hour extension Wednesday after whittling the unsold tickets from 11,000 to 4,500 in two days.

When the new deadline arrived at 3 p.m. Thursday, 1,700 tickets were unsold, prompting owner Tom Benson to call the NFL again. By Thursday night, 750 tickets remained unsold.

The last time an NFL playoff game was blacked out was the 1993 season, between Green Bay and Detroit. Two games have been blacked out in the past 16 years.

GIANTS: Coach Jim Fassel is leaning toward activating running back Joe Montgomery next week for the first time since Nov. 5, largely as insurance because of Tiki Barber's toe and arm injuries. The team practiced for the first time since locking up home-field advantage and a first-round bye by beating Jacksonville last weekend. Barber and receiver Ike Hilliard (toe) missed practice. Receiver Joe Jurevicius (knee) did individual drills. Fassel said "he's got a good chance" of playing in the Jan. 6 or 7 division game. "I feel good, but I don't feel ready," said Jurevicius, who tore his left medial collateral ligament Dec. 10.

RAMS: Quarterback Kurt Warner, who sustained a concussion in the regular-season finale Sunday, left practice early for a checkup and an MRI exam.

"Everything was normal," trainer Jim Anderson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Anderson said Warner was cleared to play by Ralph Dacy, chief of neurosurgery at Washington University Medical Center.

_ TIMES WIRES

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