Drew Bledsoe knew his interception near the goal line just before halftime was a horrible play. He never thought it might be the last pass he would throw for the Dallas Cowboys.
Bledsoe's demotion became official yesterday when Bill Parcells said Tony Romo, who took over at quarterback in the second half Monday night, will make his first career start Sunday night at Carolina.
"It's a very, very disappointing situation for me, but I can't go back and change it," said Bledsoe, in his 14th season. "I really in my heart of hearts believe that I give us the best chance to win."
Parcells doesn't think so anymore, and is doing something he rarely has done -- changing quarterbacks midseason.
But, this time, Parcells is benching the player he drafted No. 1 for the Patriots in 1993.
Bledsoe's crucial interception in a 36-22 loss to the Giants came when the Cowboys (3-3) had a chance to take the lead in a game to determine first place in the NFC East. Bledsoe already had been sacked four times.
Romo threw three interceptions, but still showed he could be effective, completing 14 of 25 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
Jerry Porter returned to the Raiders after the NFL Players Association dropped its appeal of the receiver's four-game suspension and the team reduced the punishment to two games. Porter was suspended Oct. 15 for insubordination after being kicked out of practice by coach Art Shell . . . Robert Reynolds, who is charged with domestic violence in Ohio, will not play Sunday for Tennessee against the Texans . . . Chris Henry, who has been arrested four times since last December, practiced with the Bengals, who remain noncommittal about whether the wayward receiver will be added to the roster for the next game . . . A domestic violence case against Browns running back Reuben Droughns was dropped as prosecutors cited a lack of evidence.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won't have any trouble remembering the hit that gave him his latest concussion. "It felt like it busted my whole jaw," he said.
He also won't forget the crude comment made by one of the three Falcons players who, while sacking him Sunday, apparently taunted Roethlisberger by saying he wanted to hit him in his surgically repaired face.
Roethlisberger took part in limited work during practice yesterday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Oakland, despite receiving his second concussion in about four months.
The Colts are keeping defensive tackle Montae Reagor on the active roster while he recovers from a head wound suffered in an automobile accident. Reagor was scheduled for surgery yesterday to repair a fracture of the orbital bone around his left eye . . . Panthers rookie running back DeAngelo Williams (sprained right ankle) practiced and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Dallas . . . Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart was excused from practice after attending the birth of his son in Southern California . . . Ravens quarterback Steve McNair, who sustained a concussion and sprained neck last weekend, worked with the first-team offense and expects to play Sunday against the Saints . . . Buccaneers cornerback Brian Kelly will miss the remainder of the season because of a toe injury that already had sidelined him for most of the year.