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NFL notebook

Union files grievance over Burress's punishment

Associated Press / December 10, 2008
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The NFL Players Association filed a grievance yesterday challenging the suspension and fine given to Plaxico Burress by the New York Giants after the receiver accidentally shot himself in a nightclub more than a week ago.

The union said that the team violated the collective bargaining agreement last week when it placed Burress on the reserve-non football injury list, suspended him for the final four games of the regular season, and fined him an additional week's salary for conduct detrimental to the team. Placing Burress on the non-football injury list also will keep him out of the playoffs.

Union spokesman Carl Francis said the grievance will be heard by an arbitrator after the season ends.

Under the contract that Burress signed in September, the Giants owe the Super Bowl star $1 million of his signing bonus today. Team spokesman Pat Hanlon had no comment on either the grievance or whether the team would pay the signing bonus.

Portis lashes out

Redskins running back Clinton Portis unleashed a load of frustration toward Jim Zorn, criticizing the rookie coach for giving inconsistent messages and flippantly calling Zorn a "genius."

Portis, in his weekly appearance on WTEM-AM radio in Washington, was still smarting from his lack of playing time in Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Ravens, when he was removed from the game after the first series of the second half. Portis, third in the NFL in rushing, had only 11 carries for 32 yards.

"Either you feel like you need to sever ties with me - split ties with me - but don't sit here and throw me out like I don't pay attention, like I don't know what's going on, like I'm making mistakes, like I'm the problem," Portis said. "It is what it is, bro."

Zorn said Monday he did not use Portis because of the back's recent lack of practice time and the coach's belief that backup Ladell Betts was better suited as a blocker and receiver.

Jaguars lose Jones

The Jaguars will play the rest of the season without leading receiver Matt Jones after the NFL upheld Jones's three-game suspension for violating its substance-abuse policy. The league handed down the suspension in October after Jones was charged with cocaine possession in Arkansas in July, but the player appealed . . . The Lions fined center Dominic Raiola $7,500 for making an offensive gesture toward heckling fans in Detroit last Sunday and will donate the money to a local charity . . . The NFL switched the Panthers-Giants game Dec. 21 in East Rutherford, N.J. - which could impact home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs - from 1 p.m. to 8:15 for prime-time coverage on NBC . . . The NFL and the players union agreed to pay some retired players $100 a month toward health insurance.

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