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Brunell or Johnson? Jaguars Undecided

NFL DAILY REPORT : AFC

September 18, 1997|Associated Press

The Mark Brunell watch began Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Jaguar quarterback took live snaps in practice for the first time since tearing knee ligaments Aug. 9, though he refused to guess whether he could play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And the Jaguars' situation at quarterback was no less muddled than before a bye week.

Coach Tom Coughlin kept backup Rob Johnson out of practice, cautiously handling his recovery from a sprained left ankle.

"What I had hoped was to be able to say who was going to be the quarterback now, so that guy could get most of the snaps," Coughlin said. "We may have to go a couple of days, maybe even into Friday."

Brunell was not expected to return until at least Oct. 5, but he is apparently ahead of schedule.

If neither can play, Steve Matthews probably would make his second start.

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Defensive end Willie McGinest, who played in every game in his first three seasons with the New England Patriots, is expected to sit out at least two more games because of a right knee sprain.

McGinest was sidelined for the first two games because of a hamstring injury, then played Sunday against the New York Jets before hurting his knee.

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Denver Bronco safety Steve Atwater probably will sit out Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals because of a partially dislocated right shoulder. He is listed as questionable.

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Threatening to break the franchise mark for low attendance, the Tennessee Oilers have sold fewer than 13,500 tickets for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens in Memphis. Season tickets account for 10,000 of those.

The record of 15,131 was set in their final game in Houston last season.

The Oilers, however, expect sales to pick up by Friday based on the trend of Memphis fans buying tickets just before game day.

"We're beginning to sell more as we get closer to the game. That's always the trend. Hopefully, it'll continue," said Don MacLachlan, executive vice president of tickets, marketing and broadcast.

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Royal Caribbean International, the nation's second-biggest cruise line, is paying $5 million to be the sole sponsor of NBC's halftime show for the 1998 Super Bowl telecast Jan. 25 in San Diego. The entertainment lineup is yet to be decided.

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