Atlanta fans have a reason to cheer

first_imgFrom news services There were plenty of Falcons fans wearing No. 7 jerseys at the Georgia Dome. They got a chance to cheer for Michael Vick’s replacement. Joey Harrington made a good first impression on Atlanta fans by throwing two touchdown passes Monday night in a 24-19 exhibition victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a much-needed salve for a franchise trying to get past the stunning downfall of its most dynamic player. “It’s not something we can sweep under the rug,” Harrington said. “Mike is definitely in a bit of trouble, but he’s still a member of this team, still a member of this family.” “I’m not going to break out there and make plays spontaneously with my feet,” he said. “I’ve got to make them with my head and with my arm.” After the rough start, No. 13’s luck changed. Harrington completed his first six passes, including a 28-yard touchdown to Adam Jennings. After Allen Rossum put the Falcons in scoring position again with a 59-yard kickoff return, Harrington hooked up with Dwayne Blakley on a 29-yard completion, then flipped a 12-yard pass to Jerious Norwood for another TD. Harrington played the first possession of the second half, guiding the Falcons into field goal range for Billy Cundiff’s 37-yarder. ETC.: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis joined a long injury list for Cincinnati. Lewis, who had outpatient surgery last Wednesday to repair torn tendons in his left ankle, watched from the press box as 14 of his players missed the preseason game against Atlanta with injuries. Assistant coach Paul Alexander filled in for Lewis. Lewis wore a cast as he watched practice from a golf cart the day after the surgery, but he took a safer perch for the preseason game. Bears’ Briggs charged Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was charged with leaving the scene of an accident after crashing his Lamborghini and leaving it alongside an expressway on the city’s North Side, Illinois State Police said. After meeting with police, Briggs also was cited for failure to give immediate notice of an accident and improper lane usage, said Master Sgt. Luis Gutierrez. Briggs was released after posting $100 bond. He is scheduled to appear Oct. 4 in a Cook County court. “As a result of interviewing Mr. Briggs, it was determined that he was the driver of his 2007 Lamborghini,” police said in a statement. Officials said the 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago, which had crashed into a light pole, was discovered around 3:15 a.m on Interstate Highway 94. Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team would not discipline Briggs, whose “spirits were good for being in a one-car accident.” Briggs’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was not available for comment, according to his brother Jason, who works for Rosenhaus Sports Representation. Jason Rosenhaus also declined comment. A Giant injury Former Pro Bowl selection David Tyree of the New York Giants will be sidelined up to six weeks with a broken left wrist. Tyree will have surgery, Coach Tom Coughlin said, adding that the team was willing to keep him on the roster in hopes of getting him back. The five-year veteran was hurt Saturday during the 20-12 preseason loss to the New York Jets. Coughlin said Tyree did not report the injury after the game and had swelling in the wrist Sunday. X-rays found the break. Dwight released Veteran wide receiver Tim Dwight was among eight players released by the Jets. The Jets reached the 75-man roster limit a day ahead of the cutdown deadline by also releasing defensive end Darrell Adams, defensive tackle Zarnell Fitch, running back Tony Hollings, cornerback Rayshaun Kizer, offensive lineman Nick Smith and wide receivers Dante Ridgeway and Juan Wong. Dwight, in his 10th season and second with the Jets, was on the physically unable to perform list all summer. He had 16 catches – nine on third-down plays – for 112 yards before he injured a foot and missed the last five regular-season games and New York’s playoff game at New England. Dwight was also the team’s primary punt returner with a 10.4-yard average. Around the league Cardinals: The team placed starting right tackle Oliver Ross on injured reserved with a triceps injury, ending his season. Arizona also placed wide receiver Ahmad Merritt on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Chargers: Tight end T.J. Cottrell, the son of defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, was one of 10 players cut. The Chargers also placed running back Tyronne Gross on injured reserve with a knee injury. The team must release one more player by today. Dolphins: Linebacker Joey Porter returned to practice less than three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, and he was optimistic he’ll play in the season opener Sept. 9 at Washington. Panthers: As guard Jeremy Bridges practiced with his teammates, his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf for a misdemeanor assault charge for pointing a gun at a woman outside a strip club. Attorney George Laughrun said a trial date was set for Oct. 2. Raiders: Coach Lane Kiffin narrowed his choice for a starting quarterback down to two players, but he isn’t ready to announce whether Josh McCown or Daunte Culpepper has won the job. Both will play in Thursday’s preseason finale in Seattle, with McCown starting and Culpepper coming in as his backup. Each quarterback has started one game in the preseason. McCown got the call against Arizona on Aug. 11, and Culpepper took his turn last week against St. Louis. Ravens: Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith has earned the job as the team’s third-string quarterback after former UCLA quarterback Drew Olson was cut. Vikings: The team traded an undisclosed draft pick in 2009 to get veteran backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb from the Philadelphia Eagles. The 34-year-old Holcomb is entering his 12th season and has 21 career starts. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The day began with Vick pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges in Virginia, followed a short time later by Falcons owner Arthur Blank saying he won’t cut the quarterback immediately, mainly because of salary-cap issues rather than any desire to bring him back two or three years from now. Against that wrenching backdrop, Harrington and the Falcons (2-1) played their first home game of the preseason. Small groups of dueling protesters faced off outside the Georgia Dome, while hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of fans showed their support for Vick by wearing his jersey – the best seller in team history. The Falcons spent the day trying to avoid an overload of news about the Vick case, but it was virtually impossible to watch TV without catching some of the massive coverage. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t” see any of it, Harrington said. “Between the Cartoon Network and NFL Films, I stopped by CNN once or twice.” Harrington received a smattering of applause when he trotted on the field for Atlanta’s first offensive series. He was sacked on his very first snap, a jarring reminder the Falcons no longer have the quarterback who rushed for 1,000 yards last season. last_img read more