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SENATORS ASK LEAGUE FOR MORE FREE GAMES ON NFL NETWORK

Senators have asked commissioner Roger Goodell to make more game-day TV broadcasts available to fans for free on the NFL Network.

The league has said it provides free broadcasts in the home cities of competing teams. But 13 lawmakers said in a letter this week to Goodell that the NFL is too narrowly interpreting what a home city is.

"The policy leaves behind NFL fans across the country simply because they live outside cities to which the NFL has granted franchises," according to the letter made public Wednesday. For example, the NFL does not consider the western Pennsylvania town of Johnstown part of the Pittsburgh Steelers' home market, the letter said.

The senators want quick action so fans in every market receive free TV access to games played by their closest team or the team it has been historically aligned to. Eight games will air this season on the NFL Network, which is available in less than 40 percent of households. The league is in a dispute with major cable companies over whether they should carry the channel as part of a basic package.

In a statement, the NFL said its goal is to provide the NFL Network to a national audience but it "has been undercut by several of the largest cable operators."

Kiffin files grievance: Fired Raiders coach Lane Kiffin filed a complaint with the league to claim lost salary, ESPN.com reported.

Kiffin wants approximately $2.6-million he is owed under his contract terms. Raiders owner Al Davis fired Kiffin on Sept. 30 after the Raiders' fourth game "for cause." The Raiders were 1-3; Davis claimed Kiffin made comments against the organization that he considered a violation of the coach's three-year, $6-million contract. Most NFL coaching contracts are guaranteed. Kiffin's agent, Gary Uberstine, declined to comment on the filing. Kiffin is not expected to comment while the case is being decided. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to decide if Kiffin receives his money or if the team is right.

Cowboys: Brad Johnson will make his third straight start at quarterback when the team plays the NFC East Division-leading Giants on Sunday. "We're not going into the game saying, 'This guy is going, and we're going to pull him if he doesn't do anything,''' coach Wade Phillips. "We're going in with a more positive attitude than that."

Browns: Receiver Joe Jurevicius will be out for the remainder of the season, ESPN.com reported. The ex-Buc had routine knee surgery in the offseason but contracted a staph infection that set back his timetable to return. Tight end Kellen Winslow had a high-profile bout with staph two weeks ago that put the team's issues with the infection in the forefront. Winslow was the sixth known player on the team to develop staph in the past few years.

Jaguars: The team expects leading receiver Matt Jones to be in the starting lineup again as the league considers his appeal of a suspension for violating its substance-abuse policy. Jones, a former first-round draft pick, has entered a drug-treatment program, hoping to erase a felony cocaine charge in Arkansas. He said he still hadn't heard anything from the league after appealing a three-game suspension handed down last week. Coach Jack Del Rio said it would be unlikely for the league to suspend him this late in the week.

Lions: The team worked out quarterback Daunte Culpepper and liked how he looked. "We'll see how things work out," coach Rod Marinelli said.

Panthers: Two days after his 39th birthday and in the midst of a streak of 21 consecutive field goals, kicker John Kasay signed a four-year contract extension good through the 2012 season. No terms were announced.

Patriots: The league will fine but not suspend defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for a hit on Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler on Sunday, the Associated Press reported. Wilfork met with commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, and Goodell decided to forgo a suspension. The league declined comment, noting that fines and suspensions normally are announced on Friday. The Broncos claimed that tape showed Wilfork elbowing Cutler in the helmet. But the tapes that were reviewed during the Tuesday meeting did not show that clearly.

Seahawks: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will miss his fourth consecutive week because his hyperextended right knee is still weak, but coach Mike Holmgren said he sees "light at the end of the tunnel." Seneca Wallace will make his third consecutive start Sunday when the team hosts Philadelphia.

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