Antonio Gates didn't meet the San Diego Chargers' ultimatum to sign a contract by yesterday afternoon, meaning the defending AFC West champions will be without their All-Pro tight end for at least the season opener against Dallas.
In an attempt to break an impasse in negotiations, the Chargers ordered Gates to show up by yesterday afternoon and sign a contract. Gates's agent, Andre Colona, and the Chargers continued to negotiate up to the 12:30 deadline, but failed to agree on a multiyear deal. Gates has refused to sign the $380,000, one-year contract the team tendered him as an exclusive-rights free agent.
The NFL suspended Tennessee left tackle Brad Hopkins for the season opener against Pittsburgh after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife last March. Hopkins grabbed his wife's neck because she wouldn't stop talking on a cellphone. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement in which his record will be expunged if he completes a year of probation and anger-management counseling . . . Buffalo receiver Eric Moulds bruised his ribs in the second quarter of the Bills' exhibition game against visiting Green Bay last night when he leaped for J.P. Losman's pass over the middle and was hit by Packers safety Earl Little. Losman, meanwhile, who is replacing Drew Bledsoe as the Bills' starter, engineered scoring drives on each of his first three possessions to lead Buffalo to a 27-7 win . . . Braylon Edwards, the third pick in the draft, leaped over a defender for a go-ahead 7-yard TD reception with 54 seconds left, lifting the Cleveland Browns to a 21-13 win over the Lions in Detroit. Cleveland's secondary took another hit when starting cornerback Gary Baxter left the game with a concussion . . . Cornerback Corey Webster, the Giants' top pick, had an interception and recovered a fumble as New York forced five turnovers in a 27-21 victory over visiting Carolina that snapped the Panthers' 10-game preseason win streak . . . Randy Moss had another quiet game for the Raiders, catching two passes for 23 yards, as Oakland rallied to beat host Houston on fourth-quarter field goals of 53 and 46 yards by Kris Brown, the winner coming with just eight seconds remaining . . . The Eagles did just fine without wide receiver Terrell Owens, as Dexter Wynn returned a punt 74 yards for a score, Donovan McNabb threw a 51-yard TD pass to Brian Westbrook, and Philadelphia benefited from three turnovers by Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller in a 20-14 victory in Baltimore. Owens missed a second straight game because of a groin injury he aggravated Thursday . . . The Miami Dolphins lost five fumbles in the first half and seven overall in a 17-3 loss in Pittsburgh . . . Cowboys nose tackle Jason Ferguson reinjured his right ankle in practice last week and will sit out tomorrow's exhibition game in Seattle.