Rams coach Mike Martz will miss the rest of the season with a bacterial infection of a heart valve that has already sidelined him for two games.

Martz told the team Monday that after being examined by his doctor, his illness will prevent him from performing his duties.

The 54-year-old Martz has had what his doctors have termed an acute bacterial infection since the beginning of the season, and was admitted to a hospital on Sept. 30 for treatment. On Oct. 5, Martz announced that he had been sick for several weeks and that his condition prevented him from attending practice.

Five days later he was readmitted to a hospital.

The team said Joe Vitt would continue as head coach for the rest of the year.

Vitt is the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. Vitt won his first game on Sunday, 28-17 over the New Orleans Saints.


Running back Ahman Green is out for the season with a torn thigh tendon, the latest in a string of severe injuries to befall Green Bay.

Coach Mike Sherman said that Green will undergo surgery this week to repair his right thigh tendon, which was torn in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 23-20 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.

Sherman also said wide receiver Robert Ferguson will miss up to a month with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Green, who struggled this season after four straight trips to the Pro Bowl, went down hard on his right knee when he was tackled by linebacker E.J. Henderson with 8 minutes left and was carted off the field.

For the season, Green had 255 yards on 77 carries for a career-low 3.3-yard average and no touchdowns.

Green is the fourth key player to sustain a season-ending injury, joining Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker, backup running back Najeh Davenport and rookie receiver/returner Terrence Murphy.


The last-place Baltimore Ravens will likely be without linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

Reed missed Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Chicago Bears with a high ankle sprain, and Lewis left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Reed was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, and Lewis won the award in 2003.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said it would be “optimistic” to believe that either player would be available in Pittsburgh for a game Baltimore (2-4) desperately needs to win in order to remain a factor in the AFC North.

Reed probably needs at least another week to recover from the injury that occurred on Oct. 16 against Cleveland. Lewis missed practice last week with a high hamstring strain, then hurt another part of the same right leg Sunday.


Steve McNair should start at quarterback for Tennessee against the Oakland Raiders Sunday after sitting out a game to rest his sore back.

McNair has missed five practices over the last two weeks and didn’t play in Sunday’s loss in Arizona. Coach Jeff Fisher said the team decided to leave McNair in Nashville for continued treatment and rest.

“It really helped him,” Fisher said. “He went out and threw today and felt pretty good. It’s good to get him back. I would expect he would be able to do some things for us on the practice field on Wednesday.”

The Titans still were waiting for test results on receiver Brandon Jones’ right knee. He was hurt late in the 20-10 loss to Arizona, and Fisher said the rookie felt better but still had some swelling.

They also ran tests on running back Chris Brown, who got a shoulder stinger that caused him to loose feeling in his right hand.

He was hurt early in the second quarter and didn’t return.


Detroit Lions cornerback Dre’ Bly has a dislocated wrist but will see a hand specialist to determine whether he needs surgery.

Coach Steve Mariucci said that Bly could miss several weeks if he needs the surgery. Also, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee and is week-to-week. Both were injured in a 13-10 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

R.W. McQuarters, who already has stepped in to replace Pro Bowl kick returner Eddie Drummond (knee), now is looking to fill in for Bly, another Pro Bowl player.


Dan Morgan and Julius Peppers expect to play this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, but it’s unclear how effective Carolina’s two defensive stars will be.

Morgan has a shoulder injury and Peppers missed practice Monday with a broken hand. Both were injured in Carolina’s Oct. 16 win against Detroit and used last weekend’s bye to rest.

The extra rest means Morgan won’t miss a game. The linebacker said he’ll play Sunday with a harness on his dislocated shoulder. Peppers has a cast on his right hand after breaking it against the Lions.

He returned to the game but was only used in third-down pass rushing situations. Until he tests his hand in Wednesday’s practice, he said he wasn’t sure what he’s capable of doing with the cast.

Also missing practice was running back DeShaun Foster, who has been bothered by a bruised knee and didn’t play against the Lions. Quarterback Jake Delhomme was back on the field after sitting out last week. He was knocked out of the Detroit game late in the fourth quarter on a hit by Kenoy Kennedy.


The Dallas Cowboys waived kicker Jose Cortez, one day after he missed a 29-yard field goal in a 13-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Cowboys signed rookie Shaun Suisham to take his place.Cortez made 12-of-16 field goals and was 3-of-6 on attempts longer than 40 yards. The previous week, Cortez kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime to beat the New York Giants 16-13.


Offensive tackle Greg Jerman sprained his right ankle against Oakland and his status is uncertain for Buffalo’s game at New England next weekend.

Coach Mike Mularkey said Jerman will miss at least a few practices this week. Jerman was hurt midway through the second quarter while blocking on Willis McGahee’s 1-yard run from the Oakland 2 in Buffalo’s 38-17 loss.

AP-ES-10-24-05 1814EDT

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