NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a simple mantra when it comes to players feeling the need to carry a gun: Avoid those situations.
"The real issue to me, is when the players feel they're unsafe, they shouldn't be there," Goodell said. "So get out, don't be there. If you feel the need to have a firearm to be someplace, you're in the wrong place."
Speaking before last night's game between the Panthers and Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C., Goodell said the NFL has a strict gun policy but also must manage it against the constitutional right to bear arms. The questions arose in the aftermath of Giants receiver Plaxico Burress's accidental shooting in a New York City nightclub.
Burress was injured in the early morning hours of Nov. 29 when a .40-caliber Glock he was carrying in his waistband slipped down his leg, and as he grabbed at it, he accidentally pulled the trigger and shot himself in the thigh.
Giants teammate Antonio Pierce drove Burress to the hospital and spoke with police last Friday about the incident.
The Giants suspended Burress for the final four games of the regular season and placed him on the non-football injury list; Pierce remains active.
Goodell said the NFL is allowing the Manhattan district attorney's office to finish its investigation.
"It's a police matter, so we're supportive of the police, and we'll do whatever they need to cooperate," he said. "I expressed that to the mayor and to the chief of police. We're held accountable to the laws of the land, and so are our players."
Samuels out for year
Five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels
is out for the season with a torn right triceps, the latest blow for a Redskins team that has sunk to last place in the NFC East.
Samuels was injured in Sunday night's 24-10 loss to the Ravens.
Right tackle Jon Jansen was also hurt in the game and an MRI yesterday revealed a sprained MCL in his left knee. The Redskins said Jansen has not been ruled out for next week's game against the Bengals.
The dual injuries forced coach Jim Zorn to insert Justin Geisinger - a backup center who hasn't played tackle since college - into the game at tackle in the fourth quarter against the stifling Ravens pass rush. Geisinger struggled - and got hurt as well. He was having an MRI yesterday to address what Zorn called "a potential knee problem."
Zorn said second-year player Stephon Heyer will start the rest of the season at left tackle in place of Samuels, with journeyman Jason Fabini getting first shot at right tackle if Jansen is unable to play. The Redskins plan to promote tackle Devin Clark from the practice squad and sign another offensive lineman to the practice squad.
The Redskins (7-6) have lost four of five and rank 29th in scoring.
Frerotte 'very sore'
The identity of Minnesota's starting quarterback this week will remain a mystery for now. Coach Brad Childress
said at his news conference that Gus Frerotte
is "very sore" after hurting his lower back in the win over the Lions Sunday. Frerotte was injured trying to make a tackle after throwing his second interception. The 37-year-old QB left Ford Field on a cart after getting hurt late in the second quarter. Tarvaris Jackson
helped rally the Vikings to victory, but Childress says Frerotte is still the starter if he's healthy enough to play. The coach declared Frerotte's status as day to day . . . The 49ers don't know whether running back Frank Gore
will be able to play Sunday near his hometown against the Dolphins in Miami. Gore injured his left ankle while straining to get a first down on the second play of the second half against the Jets. He went to the locker room for X-rays, but returned to cheer on his teammates. "We just have to watch him closely this week and see how healthy he is," coach Mike Singletary
Culpepper has MRI
The quarterback of the winless Lions, Daunte Culpepper,
had an MRI on his shoulder, leading to doubt he will play Sunday at the Colts. Detroit coach Rod Marinelli
said the team would wait for results of the exam before exploring other options for a starter. After Culpepper was hurt, Drew Henson
was sacked on the final play Sunday. Dan Orlovsky
hopes to be healthy enough to play this week after being out for a month with a wrist injury. Drew Stanton
has been sidelined for two weeks with a concussion, but is expected to be ready to play, if necessary . . . Veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher
will miss Green Bay's last three games because of a serious left knee injury. Tauscher has a torn ACL, the latest in a series of setbacks for a team that has lost three straight and is a long shot to make the playoffs. Tauscher left Sunday's loss to Houston in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for X-rays. He was replaced by third-year player Tony Moll
. . . Rookie Peyton Hillis
has a torn right hamstring and is done for the season, the fifth Broncos tailback to go on injured reserve. Coach Mike Shanahan
said Hillis will need eight weeks to recover and might need surgery. Hillis was hurt Sunday after an acrobatic catch against Kansas City when was bent over with his right leg planted and his knee locked on the tackle. The Broncos will promote Cory Boyd
from the practice squad to compete with P.J. Pope
to serve as Tatum Bell's
Crennel forges on
As speculation about his shaky future mounted and the rumor mill churned up another big-name coach with Cleveland ties, Browns coach Romeo Crennel
pushed ahead. Crennel, who sources told ESPN.com
will be fired once the 4-9 Browns finish the season, reiterated he isn't worried about reports that he will be replaced after his fourth year. Owner Randy Lerner
said he will not make a decision on his coach or general manager Phil Savage
until after the season, but former Steelers coach Bill Cowher
is believed to be Lerner's top choice. However, Cowher, who now works as an analyst for CBS, has not indicated whether he will return to coaching. If Cowher falls through, ESPN.com
reported that former Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer
could be an option. Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984-88, one of the franchise's most successful stretches in the past 45 years. Schottenheimer, who was fired in 2006 by San Diego despite leading the Chargers to a 14-2 mark, won three division titles and went to two AFC title games with the Browns.
Kicker Morten Andersen
, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, is retiring because of knee problems. The 48-year-old Dane, who scored 2,544 points during his 25-year career, played for the Falcons the past two seasons but wasn't able to get a contract this year. Andersen kicked for five NFL teams, including 13 seasons for the Saints, eight for the Falcons, two for the Chiefs, and one each with the Giants and Vikings . . . Detroit center Dominic Raiola
says he has no remorse for making an obscene gesture toward Lions fans Sunday because their heckling went too far during a 20-16 loss to Minnesota . . . In Novi, Mich., former Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers
has agreed to enroll in substance abuse counseling after violating his probation. Rogers, who starred at Michigan State before the Lions made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft, has been held in the Oakland County Jail since Wednesday. The 27-year-old Rogers, from Saginaw, Mich., originally was arrested in September and charged with assault and battery involving a female acquaintance. He later pleaded no contest to trespassing.
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