Browns

The Cleveland Browns waived offensive lineman Alonzo Ephraim after he finished serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Ephraim was an emergency signing after center LeCharles Bentley was injured early in training camp. Ephraim started the preseason opener against Philadelphia after the sudden retirement of backup center Bob Hallen.

Ephraim played two seasons for Philadelphia and started three games for Miami last season. For him to be suspended, it would have had to be his second violation under the league’s policy.

He worked out and participated in activities at Browns headquarters during his suspension, but was not permitted to practice with the team.

Ravens

Baltimore Ravens veteran offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo will miss the rest of the season because of an arm injury that will require surgery, coach Brian Billick said Monday.

The eight-year starter tore his right triceps during the third quarter of Sunday’s 16-13 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

It is the first major injury to a starter this year for Baltimore (4-0), which is coming off its second consecutive comeback win engineered by quarterback Steve McNair. Mulitalo will be replaced at left guard by second-year pro Jason Brown, who has played in nine career games with just one start. Mulitalo overcame injuries and strife during a disappointing 2005 season, including gout and knee problems, as well as his father’s death.

“Edwin deserved better,” Billick said. “But we have pointed out that the depth of this team should be one of its strengths. This happens to be the first real test of that. We hate to lose Edwin. We have a lot of faith in Jason.”

Jaguars

Jacksonville’s defenders feel like they’ve been together too long to play like they did at Washington. They put little pressure on quarterback Mark Brunell, struggled to cover receiver Santana Moss, allowed gaping holes for running back Clinton Portis and missed tackles all over the field. The result was 481 yards surrendered – tied for the third most in team history.

The meltdown was uncharacteristic for the Jaguars (2-2), who have been one of the better defensive teams in the league since coach Jack Del Rio took over in 2003. It also overshadowed a strong performance by receiver Reggie Williams and quarterback Byron Leftwich, who rallied the Jaguars from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of an overtime loss.

Moss beat the Jaguars for touchdowns of 55, 8 and 68 yards – the last one coming on the final play of overtime.

“There were some opportunities to get off the field and be on the sideline drinking Gatorade and let the offense go to work,” Del Rio said. “We just didn’t get off the field. If you do that and you’ve got a team that has some talent, which they do, and some good schemes, which they do, and you keep giving them opportunities, then bad things usually happen.”

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AP-ES-10-02-06 1840EDT



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