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SALE OF PILL IN STEROID INQUIRY SUSPENDED

NEW ORLEANS - The makers of an over-the-counter weight-loss product have suspended sales following accusations the product contains but does not list an ingredient the league bans.

"We've received notice of the problem with the NFL," the makers of StarCaps said in a statement Thursday. The statement said the company is "taking all necessary steps to ensure that our customers receive product that is safe and effective."

Saints guard Jamar Nesbit and running back Deuce McAllister say they tested positive for Bumetanide after using StarCaps. Nesbit, who filed suit against StarCaps this week, and McAllister are among six to eight players the league is investigating for taking a diuretic, considered a masking agent for steroids.

McAllister and two other Saints, defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant, are appealing possible four-game suspensions they could face as first-time violators of the NFL's drug policy.

Nesbit chose not to appeal his four-game suspension and has served it.

"If the product is adulterated with this substance, it's not something we knew about or wanted to have happen and we need to get the bottom of what's going on here," StarCaps attorney Marc Ullman said. "Obviously, we hope our test results indicate there's no contamination."

Ullman said he is unaware of any previous consumer complaints about the pills, which he said are aimed at women and have been on the market for about 20 years.

A study published in the November/December 2007 issue of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, however, found traces of Bumetanide in urine tests of people who took StarCaps.

Nesbit's lawsuit seeks the $235,294 he lost in salary while suspended and money for damage to his reputation and for what the suit alleges was an undisclosed spiking of StarCaps with the NFL-banned diuretic.

McAllister has said he began using StarCaps about four years ago and had the pills tested when he began taking them. He said those lab tests did not reveal banned ingredients.

Monday Night Football: ESPN says presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama plan to participate in one-on-one interviews via satellite that would air at halftime of the Redskins-Steelers game, the day before the election. ESPN's Chris Berman will do the segments earlier in the day if the candidates' schedules permit. The interviews are scheduled to air at about 10:15 p.m.

Vick case: Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick won't be allowed to plead guilty to dogfighting charges by videoconference, a judge ruled. Vick's lawyers had requested that he be allowed to enter the plea from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., where he is serving a two-year term since admitting he bankrolled a dogfighting operation and helped execute dogs at his Virginia home. Citing high public interest in the case, Circuit Judge Samuel Campbell said it would be better for Vick to appear in person in Sussex, Va. Vick, 28, is scheduled to enter his plea Nov. 25. Under the terms of his deal, he would receive a suspended sentence and a year of probation.

Bengals: Safety Dexter Jackson, a former Buc who has missed most of the season with a thumb injury, was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injured in practice Wednesday. Jackson missed five of the team's eight games because of the thumb. He played in the past two games.

Colts: Cornerback Marlin Jackson was placed on injured reserve with a knee he injured while running during a no-contact practice Wednesday, coach Tony Dungy said. Dungy could not say definitively which knee was hurt, nor did he provide details of the diagnosis. NFL.com reported that Jackson tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus cartilage in his right knee. To replace Jackson, the team re-signed cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who has played in four games with the Colts this year.

Cowboys: Tight end Jason Witten said doctors have told him his broken rib might not be better for three or four weeks but he still hopes to play Sunday against the NFC East-leading Giants. Witten didn't practice for the second straight day and said whether he does play would be a game-time decision.

Jaguars: Guard Chris Naeole, who broke a hand in warmups before the Browns game Sunday, was put on injured reserve. The team signed rookie center-guard Drew Miller, a former Gator, off the practice squad to its 53-man roster.

Patriots: The league fined defensive tackle Vince Wilfork $35,000 for a hit on Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. Wilfork met with commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, and Goodell decided to only fine him and not suspend him, too, the Associated Press reported. The Broncos claimed that tape of New England's 41-7 victory on Oct. 20 showed Wilfork elbowing Cutler in the helmet. Wilford was not suspended because video of what happened did not show intent, ESPN.com reported.

Raiders: Ronald Curry, the team's leading receiver the past two seasons, lost his starting job two weeks ago, and he's wondering if he's being phased out of the Raiders' plans altogether. Speaking for the first time since being replaced by rookie Chaz Schilens, Curry said "it's like the team gave up on me" and that he believes it's an indication he'll be playing elsewhere in 2009. Curry last year signed a five-year, $20-million extension that included $8.5-million guaranteed. He wound up being the first player demoted this season by interim coach Tom Cable after he replaced the fired Lane Kiffin last month. Cable emphasized his desire to open up the passing game when he took over, noting that Schilens is better at blocking downfield in a run-oriented offense. He stands by his decision to make the lineup change.

Rams: Steven Jackson, the team's leading runner and receiver, practiced for the second straight day and was optimistic he'd be back in the lineup Sunday against the Cardinals after missing a game with a thigh injury. "I'm practicing to play, if that tells you anything," said Jackson, who leads the NFL with 127.8 yards from scrimmage per game.

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