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NFL makes an option call

Dolphins, Chiefs change on the run

Hurricane Wilma slowed down yesterday, prompting the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs to start moving quickly.

Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas apologetically skipped his normal interview availability, saying he needed to cram two days of film study into a few hours. The Chiefs scrambled to revise travel plans, and league officials worked on new television arrangements and other details.

When Wilma makes its expected arrival in Florida sometime Sunday, the Chiefs will be long gone. Their visit to Miami was switched to tonight because of the looming Category 4 hurricane.

''This is only about the fifth [hurricane] we've had this year," said Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who learned of the schedule switch during yesterday's practice. ''So it's not our first rodeo when it comes to these things, and we know how unpredictable they can be, and we know how dangerous they can be."

It's the third time since the start of the 2004 season that a Miami home game has been rescheduled because of a hurricane.

The Dolphins lost to Tennessee in last year's home opener pushed up a day by Hurricane Ivan, then were beaten by Pittsburgh in a deluge -- remnants of Hurricane Jeanne -- two weeks later.

''They couldn't have picked a better team to send down there and play well," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, whose team will fly to Florida this morning. ''That's the way we're approaching it. We'll go down there and play our best football game of the year. The guys are in a good frame of mind. They accept it. We would have liked it to be a different way but we have no choice."

FBI on Vikings' case

The FBI announced it will review the findings of a Hennepin (Minn.) County Sheriff's Department investigation into alleged lewd behavior by several Vikings players and others during a party two weeks ago aboard two chartered yachts on Lake Minnetonka. FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman and Sheriff Patrick McGowan met this week to discuss how to proceed should the investigation uncover any possible violation of federal laws, said FBI spokesman Paul McCabe. The sheriff's report is likely to be completed next week . . . Lions coach Steve Mariucci hasn't decided between Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia as his starting quarterback at Cleveland Sunday. ''I'm not ruling out that it could go up to game time," Mariucci said. ''But we probably will consider something sooner than that." Harrington, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, has started 37 straight games for the Lions but has struggled this season with just four TD passes and eight interceptions. Garcia has three Pro Bowls on his resume, but the 35-year-old quarterback broke his left leg and badly sprained his left ankle seven weeks ago in the Lions' final exhibition game . . . Wide receiver Hines Ward (hamstring) took part in some of the Steelers' drills but remains questionable for Sunday's game at Cincinnati. ''He didn't do everything, but he did a lot of things," coach Bill Cowher said. Ward was held out of Sunday's 23-16 overtime loss to Jacksonville, the first game he's missed in his eight-year career . . . Superdome officials say the stadium should be largely cleaned up from Hurricane Katrina and ready for the New Orleans Saints to play at least some of their games there in 2006. The announcement came as San Antonio officials said they were working on Saints owner Tom Benson to keep the team in Texas.

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