TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Carnell “Cadillac” Williams walked into the locker room wearing a protective boot and a smile after he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got some comforting news Monday.

The sprained muscle in the rookie running back’s left foot is not expected to keep him from playing in this week’s game against Green Bay.

“It’s not significant pain. It is sore, though,” Williams said. “Overall, it feels good.”

Williams rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 19-3 victory over Buffalo, becoming the first rookie to begin his career with consecutive 100-yard performances since Edgerrin James in 1999.

The fifth pick in the draft injured his foot during his final carry of the second quarter and sat out two series before lobbying coach Jon Gruden to return. He gained 19 yards on the next play, then capped the same drive with a 3-yard TD run.

“I would like to say that it’s somewhat surprising that he’s had this success, but we really felt that he was a great, great running back to be honest with you,” Gruden said. “I think he’s proven to everybody what he’s all about. He’s a great running back, a tremendous competitor. He’s got great poise and stamina. We’re really excited, obviously.”

The former Auburn star gained 148 yards on 27 carries in his pro debut the previous week and has not only injected energy into the offense, but helped a resurgent defense shine as well.

“We are very optimistic,” Gruden said.

The Bucs (2-0) are unbeaten after two games for the first time since 2000.


Running back Curtis Martin has played through ankle injuries, torn ligaments, even an injured tailbone.

Can he play through pain again? Martin strained his right knee against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and his status is uncertain for this week’s game against Jacksonville. Coach Herman Edwards said Monday that Martin was undergoing an MRI and would wait for the results before determining whether the back can play. Martin, who led the NFL in rushing last season, was injured in the first quarter but stayed in the game and finished with 72 yards on 31 carries.

“We don’t know where he’s at,” Edwards said. “He’s been a guy that’s always answered the bell. We’ll see where he’s at.”

Losing Martin would be a huge blow for the Jets offense, especially since both fullbacks also got hurt. Starter Jerald Sowell and B.J. Askew have sprained right ankles. If Martin can’t play, Derrick Blaylock would start.


Arizona coach Dennis Green came out swinging Monday against the perception that an 0-2 start indicates these are the same old Cardinals.

“It seems like too many people, whether the fans or the media, all of a sudden think this is a typical season,” Green said. “There is no such thing as a typical season, not for the Cardinals, not for San Diego, not for Minnesota.”

Green, whose team lost at home to St. Louis 17-12 on Sunday, repeatedly pointed out that six other NFL teams are 0-2, and they certainly haven’t given up on their chances this season.

“There is nothing that makes the Cardinals unique in comparison to the other 31 teams,” he said.

That’s a tough sell in Arizona, where the team has had one winning season – and one playoff appearance – since moving from St. Louis in 1988. It is sometimes called “the Bidwill curse,” for owner Bill Bidwill and his sometimes antiquated and penny-pinching style. But with the influence of Bidwill’s son Michael, and the team set to move into its new stadium next season, the franchise has changed many of its ways.

They brought in Green, the supremely confident coach who had success at Minnesota.

“I never once said I was going to change the stigma,” Green said. “What I said was I’d make the Arizona Cardinals more like me, and I’d be less like the Arizona Cardinals.”


Oakland receiver Ronald Curry re-injured his right Achilles’ tendon and will miss at least this week’s game against Philadelphia and possibly more if the injury is as serious as the one he had last year.

Curry was hurt in the final 2 minutes of Oakland’s 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night and the severity of his injury won’t be known until doctors get the results of his MRI exam.


Jacksonville released receiver Chad Owens on Monday, a day after the rookie fumbled two punts and mishandled another before getting benched in a 10-3 loss at Indianapolis.

A sixth-round pick from Hawaii, Owens had been one the team’s biggest surprises during training camp and the preseason. He made the roster over veteran receiver Troy Edwards and return specialist David Allen.

Coach Jack Del Rio said he hoped to re-sign Owens to the practice squad, but the 5-foot-7 receiver will have to clear waivers for that to happen.

Although Owens fumbled two punt returns, neither was lost. The first one bounced off his face mask, and safety Deke Cooper recovered it. The second one dribbled through his hands and onto the ground, but he recovered it himself.

Owens bobbled another punt between the two fumbles, but he was able to secure that one before it fell to the ground.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Owens, who set an NCAA record last season by returning five punts for touchdowns.


Wide receiver Dez White has an ailing hamstring … DE Brady Smith didn’t play against the Seahawks after his neck began bothering him late in the week. The Falcons waited until Sunday morning before de-activating Smith, who had neck surgery over the summer and missed most of the preseason. “We went to the stadium and took him out to run,” Mora said. “As he ran, he felt fine, but when you put a body on him, he could feel it.”


Linebacker London Fletcher expects to play while right tackle Mike Williams’ status is uncertain for Buffalo’s game against Atlanta on Sunday.

Fletcher walked without a limp in the locker room Monday after hurting his right hamstring in the second quarter of Buffalo’s 19-3 loss at Tampa Bay. Fletcher said he expects to be ready Sunday after having his injury re-evaluated by team doctors.

Williams did not return after hurting his left ankle in the third quarter Sunday. He was hurt when Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber landed on the back of the tackle’s left leg during Buffalo’s first possession of the second half.


Tennessee DT Albert Haynesworth (knee), LB Peter Sirmon (knee) and S Vincent Fuller (ankle) were among five Titans having medical tests to determine the extent of their injuries, and coach Jeff Fisher didn’t share any more details Monday.

“We’re currently doing tests, and we’ll have information for you on Wednesday at 3 if we are able to determine exactly the nature of their injuries,” Fisher said.

Wednesday is when NFL teams must release their first injury report for the week.


Detroit cornerback Fernando Bryant separated his shoulder in the 38-6 loss to the Chicago Bears and will be out several weeks.

“We did an MRI and we are going to evaluate it again in a week,” Lions coach Steve Mariucci said Monday. “It is pretty severe. It is a lengthy process for him. After a week or so, we will know if we are just going to rehab it and try to get him back quickly. That would be a matter of several weeks. Or, if surgery would be required.”

Also, the Lions released kicker Remy Hamilton and signed guard David Loverne.


Anthony Clement, a veteran offensive tackle who spent seven seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

To make room on the roster, San Francisco waived defensive back Dwaine Carpenter.

Clement, who started 45 straight games for the Cardinals from 1998-01, was a part-time starter last season. He went to training camp with the Denver Broncos this season, but was waived.

AP-ES-09-19-05 1827EDT

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