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SPORTS WEEKEND | NFL DAILY REPORT

Chargers Tell Leaf to Take a Seat and Give Start to Moreno

September 15, 2000|Associated Press

Ryan Leaf, ineffective in San Diego's first two regular-season games after a strong preseason, will be benched in favor of Moses Moreno for Sunday's game at Kansas City.

"I think it's our best chance to win right now," Coach Mike Riley said. "This is obviously something that didn't happen in the last 24 hours. I've thought about it. It's a big move."

In losses to Oakland and New Orleans, Leaf threw five interceptions and had a 33.4 quarterback rating.

"The Kansas City week has been bad for me, huh?" Leaf said, referring to a one-for-15, five-turnover performance against the Chiefs during his rookie season.

Moreno has only one career start, as a rookie with Chicago in 1998.

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Denver Coach Mike Shanahan is upset over complaints from opposing players alleging that his offensive linemen are guilty of illegal blocking techniques.

Shanahan labeled the accusers as "whiners" and insisted that since his team hasn't been fined by the NFL for any blocking violations, his players are in compliance with league rules.

St. Louis players accused Denver linemen of making questionable blocks during the season opener. Defensive tackle Darrell Russell, whose Raiders play host to the Broncos on Sunday, leveled a similar charge, one he has made in previous seasons. In particular, Russell accused the Broncos of "outright holding and cut-blocking. This is a man's sport, and that's not being a man."

Said Shanahan: "I don't like people that whine, to start with. I'm not talking about Darrell Russell but people in general."

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Dallas cornerback Kevin Smith, an eight-year veteran who battled injuries for the last few years, was released by the Cowboys.

A first-round draft pick in 1992 from Texas A&M, Smith earned three Super Bowl rings playing for Dallas.

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Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson has tendinitis in his right throwing elbow, but it should not prevent him from playing on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Doug Flutie is listed as the Bills' third quarterback, not fully recovered from a torn groin muscle he hurt in training camp, while Alex Van Pelt is the team's backup.

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Jacksonville might lose kicker Mike Hollis because of a bad back that could require surgery.

Hollis did not practice for the second consecutive day, and Coach Tom Coughlin could not say how long he would be out. Steve Lindsey has been working in Hollis' place the past two days.

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Receiver Tim Dwight of Atlanta had an emergency appendectomy and will be sidelined up to a month. Dwight, also a kick-return specialist, will be replaced by rookie Darrick Vaughn on kickoffs, Winslow Oliver on punts and Eugene Baker at receiver, Coach Dan Reeves said. . . . Miami defensive tackle Daryl Gardener will miss Sunday's game against Baltimore because of a herniated disc in his back. The injury ends his streak of 71 consecutive games played. . . . The NFL fined Washington safety Sam Shade $7,500 for his helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday on Detroit quarterback Charlie Batch.

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