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NFL Notebook

Jets’ Pace set for foot surgery

Ex-Patriot Thomas could help fill void

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in action against the Broncos last night, will soon find out from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if his six-game suspension will be reduced to four. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in action against the Broncos last night, will soon find out from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if his six-game suspension will be reduced to four. (Barry Gutierrez/Associated Press)
Associated Press / August 30, 2010

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Calvin Pace will be sidelined for at least the first game of the season — again.

The Jets’ outside linebacker will have surgery today in North Carolina to repair his broken right foot, and will miss New York’s season opener against Baltimore Sept. 13.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a somewhat speedy recovery,’’ Pace said yesterday. “I probably definitely will miss the first game, that’s safe to say, but beyond that, I don’t really have an idea.’’

The Jets’ top pass rusher had to sit out the first four games of last season after being suspended by the league for violating its policy on performance-enhancing substances. He still led New York’s top-ranked defense with a career-high eight sacks.

“I’m still upbeat, I really am,’’ Pace said. “Stuff happens in football. I’ll say this: It’s better to get injured playing rather than have to sit out four games because of a silly mistake as far as a supplement. It happens and I’m going to stay upbeat and cheer the guys on.’’

Former Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas is among the candidates to fill in for Pace.

Thomas chatted Saturday with coach Rex Ryan about signing on with the Jets.

Thomas is currently in a holding pattern and he believes reuniting with the man who has called him the smartest player he’s ever coached would be a good landing spot.

When the two were in Baltimore, Thomas lined up all over the field for Ryan, even at cornerback on occasion.

“I would say [signing Thomas] would be a possibility,’’ Ryan said. “I’m not going to rule that out.’’

Jason Taylor, the NFL’s active career sacks leader, and Vernon Gholston are expected to handle the bulk of plays at Pace’s spot in his absence.

In other Jets news, the team cut wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who had four catches for 19 yards in three preseason games. Ryan said it’s “a real possibility’’ the team could re-sign Coles after the first week of the season.

McNabb still hurting?
It could be a smoke screen or just a cautious assessment of his quarterback’s health, but Mike Shanahan said he’s not certain Donovan McNabb will be available for the Redskins’ season opener against the Cowboys. “I really don’t know for sure,’’ Shanahan said. “That’s why it’s day by day. We’ll see how it goes.’’ McNabb hasn’t practiced since spraining his left ankle in the second preseason game against Baltimore. He sat out Friday’s game against the Jets and watched yesterday’s practice with a black sleeve on his left leg. McNabb’s leg is too sore to play Thursday against the Cardinals, but he likely wouldn’t have played in that game anyway because the coach prefers to rest his starters in the final exhibition. No. 2 quarterback Rex Grossman said he won’t play this week either . . . Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after the team’s final preseason game Thursday to see if his suspension will be reduced from six games to four. Roethlisberger was suspended for six games after being accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student in March. He was not criminally charged in the case. One of Roethlisberger’s backups, Dennis Dixon, threw a pair of interceptions in the Steelers’ 34-17 loss to the Broncos last night. Rookie QB Tim Tebow made his home debut for Denver, throwing one touchdown and one interception.

Bengals ax Bryant
Wide receiver Antonio Bryant was released by the Bengals, who signed him to a four-year, $28 million deal in March thinking he would be their long-term complement to Chad Ochocinco. Bryant and Terrell Owens worked out for the Bengals in March. Cincinnati chose Bryant, who was coming off an injury-marred season. He had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee last year, and caught only 39 passes for Tampa Bay. The Bengals gave him the big contract, including roughly $7 million in first-year bonuses, convinced that the knee was fine. It began bothering him over the summer, and he wasn’t able to practice with the team during training camp . . . Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he is considering playing his regulars in Thursday’s exhibition finale because he’s running out of excuses for their sloppy play. Tony Romo has led the Dallas starters to one touchdown in four games this summer and it came on a drive that began 8 yards from the end zone. “We’re not ready for prime time yet,’’ Phillips said . . . Raiders running back Michael Bush will undergo surgery today on his left thumb, which he broke in a loss to the 49ers Saturday. Coach Tom Cable said there’s a good chance Bush could recover in time to play in the season opener Sept. 12 in Tennessee. Cable also said the stinger that knocked quarterback Jason Campbell out against the 49ers is not serious but Campbell also hurt his right wrist in the game, which is more of an immediate concern.

Patriots sign Johnson
The Patriots made a minor move, bringing back one undrafted rookie while releasing another. Cornerback Terrence Johnson, who played at Division 2 California (Pa.), was re-signed, and offensive lineman Brian Simmons was cut. Johnson was released a week ago after he had missed a good chunk of camp because of an unspecified injury . . . After another battery of tests last week, and a promising 2010 preseason debut, Vikings receiver Percy Harvin hopes he is getting closer to figuring out the reason for the migraine headaches that have plagued him for most of his life. Harvin had two catches for 30 yards and took two big shots to the head Saturday night in a victory over the Seahawks, the first time he’s played this year after being stricken by migraines for most of training camp. “I felt great,’’ Harvin said after the game. “Just glad to get back out there with my teammates and work some of the rust off.’’

Shalise Manza Young of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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