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Packers to give troubled Saints tackle Jackson a try

Troubled defensive tackle Grady Jackson was claimed Tuesday by the Packers on waivers from New Orleans.

The 6-foot-2, 330-pound Jackson, who has been unable to keep his weight down, had just completed a one-week suspension by the Saints. He did not play Sunday against Tampa Bay because he did not report to the team hotel for a home game the previous week against the Panthers. He also was drawing weekly fines for being overweight.

Jackson had 30 tackles and 3{ sacks in seven games before being placed on waivers.

To make room for him, the Packers placed defensive tackle Rod Walker (knee) on injured reserve.

BEARS: Marc Columbo was placed on injured reserve, ending the second-year tackle's season for a second consecutive year because of a knee injury.

DOLPHINS: Offensive tackle Mark Dixon was placed on injured reserve because of an ankle injury that has kept him out of all eight games. He has missed 18 of the Dolphins' past 30 regular-season games with injuries, and had two operations on his right ankle since August. Defensive end David Bowens will return to practice this week. He has been on the non-football injury list since summer, when he injured his knee while changing a light bulb at his home.

FALCONS: Offensive guard Travis Claridge, who started the first six games, will miss the rest of the season with a strained right knee. He was replaced by guard Michael Moore.

JETS: Defensive tackle Josh Evans was reinstated by the NFL after missing the first nine weeks of the season while suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

RAIDERS: Quarterback Rob Johnson, a backup for the Buccaneers last season, was signed to provide depth while Oakland's top two quarterbacks are sidelined with injuries. Johnson played two games with the Redskins this season before being cut. Third-stringer Rick Mirer is expected to start Sunday against the Jets.

STEELERS: Cornerback Dewayne Washington was benched and Deshea Townsend, a backup, will start in his place as the team tries to right a 2-6 season. "I think there is a lack of confidence right now," coach Bill Cowher said of Washington, whose ill-timed penalty last season led to a playoff loss to Tennessee.

MANNING LAWSUIT: A female athletic trainer's defamation suit can proceed against Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his father, Judge Harvey Kornstein ruled in Bartow. The case stems from a 1996 encounter during which Manning dropped his pants in front of former University of Tennessee trainer Jamie Ann Naughright.

The quarterback, without using Naughright's name, talks about the encounter in the book he wrote with his father, Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy. He says he pulled down his pants while the trainer was examining his feet in the locker room. He said the trainer had a "vulgar mouth," but concedes his behavior was "inappropriate."

Naughright alleges Manning placed his "naked butt" on her face. She filed the lawsuit in Polk County in 2002, two years after the book was published, saying it disparaged her. She seeks at least $15,000.

ARENA FOOTBALL: The Tampa Bay Storm signed defensive specialist Del Lee and offensive/defensive lineman Kenny Jackson. Lee was Indiana's second-leading tackler (66) last season. The 6-2, 320-pound Jackson gives Tampa Bay its only true nose guard since Al Lucas left for Los Angeles.

Pats have Super look

The Patriots are starting to have that look again _ like in 2002 when they overcame setbacks to win the Super Bowl.

After opening this season with a slew of injuries and a near mutiny over the release of captain and safety Lawyer Milloy, Bill Belichick's team has won five consecutive games. The latest came thanks to some shrewd coaching and good luck.

New England beat the Broncos 30-26 Monday after Belichick ordered his long-snapper to intentionally hike the ball out of the end zone for a safety. The Broncos misplayed the free kick, the Patriots forced Denver to punt, then took advantage of the gain in field position to score on an 18-yard pass from Tom Brady to David Givens with 30 seconds left.

Now the Pats are 7-2 heading into their bye week, with a 1{-game lead over Miami in the AFC East.

_ Staff writer Frank Pastor contributed to this report.

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