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BROWNS' GM DEFENDS HIMSELF

BEREA, Ohio - Browns general manager Phil Savage emotionally defended his decision to suspend tight end Kellen Winslow, who says the club tried to cover up his staph infection and has appealed his one-game ban without pay.

Savage suspended Winslow for his disparaging comments and behavior after Sunday's loss at Washington. Winslow, who agreed to keep his medical condition private, revealed he had staph and said the Browns, who have had a high number of staph cases in recent years, still have a problem with infections.

The GM depicted Winslow as selfish and said he suspended the player because "the Browns are bigger than one person" and Winslow couldn't be allowed to tear down the organization.

The former University of Miami standout appealed his suspension Wednesday. His case will be heard by an arbitrator. If he wins his appeal, Winslow, who will serve his suspension Sunday when the Browns play at Jacksonville, could recoup the $235,294 - his one-game paycheck - he was docked with the suspension.

Culpepper back?Former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper, 31, wants to end his brief retirement, saying "a number of teams" have contacted him. But Culpepper, who announced plans to quit in September after not finding work, didn't reveal which teams may be interested in him. One that is known is the Chiefs, who have lost two starters to injuries and contacted the former UCF star but wound up signing former Jaguars backup and FAMU standout Quinn Gray on Wednesday.

Bengals: Chad Ocho Cinco, the receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson, said he'll wear his old name on the back of his uniform for the rest of the season. It would have cost him a lot of money to make the switch for this year; he'd have to pay Reebok for the old jerseys that would be a tough sell. "I'll ... do it next year," he said.

Jets: Receiver Laveranues Coles has a concussion, and his status for Sunday against the Chiefs was uncertain. This is the third time in less than two years Coles has had a head injury. Coach Eric Mangini said that safety Eric Smith also suffered a concussion, his second in three weeks, and his status was unclear.

Patriots: Quarterback Tom Brady has had two more procedures to clean out infection on his surgically repaired left knee, the Boston Herald reported. The newspaper said Brady is on a six-week course of intravenous antibiotics and will continue to have followup exams at the Los Angeles clinic where he had the surgery. The team offered its continued and undiminished support for Brady, denying an ESPN.com report that it is upset that he opted against the team's preferred doctors and decided to have surgery on the West Coast.

Rams: Running back Steven Jackson missed his second straight day of practice because of a strained right thigh muscle, though the team remained hopeful its leading rusher and receiver would be ready for Sunday's game at New England. "He looks better to me," coach Jim Haslett said.

Saints: Running back Deuce McAllister, recovering from knee surgery, likely will start Sunday against the Chargers in London. Reggie Bush had surgery Monday to repair a meniscus in his knee and did not travel with the team to England.

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