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NFL | Falcons to pay for backing Vick during game

Wide receiver Roddy White and four other Atlanta Falcons have been fined by the NFL for violating uniform regulations with tributes to Michael Vick during last week's Monday night game.

Wide receiver Roddy White and four other Atlanta Falcons have been fined by the NFL for violating uniform regulations with tributes to Michael Vick during last week's Monday night game.

The fines were confirmed yesterday by NFL spokesman Randall Liu.

Vick, Atlanta's suspended Pro Bowl quarterback, was sentenced to 23 months in prison on federal dogfighting charges the morning of Dec. 10. The Falcons played at home against New Orleans that night. Atlanta lost, 34-14.

After scoring a touchdown, White displayed a "Free Mike Vick" T-shirt under his jersey.

He was fined $10,000, as were tight end Alge Crumpler and cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Houston. Crumpler, Hall and Houston wore black strips under their eyes with written tributes to Vick, which the league called "displaying an unauthorized personal message."

Wide receiver Joe Horn was fined $7,500 for pulling up White's jersey to show the black T-shirt with handwritten white lettering.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has created a holiday e-card featuring Vick.

In the card, a cartoon version of Vick paces across a prison yard inside a snow globe as gun-toting guards and their barking dogs keep watch.

When a visitor to PETA's Web site shakes the snow globe by dragging a mouse, Vick bounces around and crashes against the globe's dome as a commentator announces: "They got to the quarterback's blind side there. He never had a chance."

Courting Parcells. Citing several sources, ESPN reported that Falcons owner Arthur Blank is pursuing Bill Parcells to become the team's vice president of football operations. According to the report, Parcells would not become Atlanta's new coach but would hire the replacement for Bobby Petrino, who resigned last week.

Broncos. Denver released beleaguered punter Todd Sauerbrun, bringing in Paul Ernster, his training-camp rival, to replace him.

Sauerbrun faces charges stemming from an altercation with a cab driver outside a Denver restaurant earlier this month. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 15 on an assault charge.

Sauerbrun was waived by Denver last season after his one-month suspension for using a banned dietary supplement. He re-signed with the Broncos before this season.

Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence. He was arrested in downtown Denver early on Oct. 22, hours after the Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-28, at home.

Cowboys. Dallas safety Roy Williams appealed the one-game suspension levied Monday because of his third horse-collar tackle of the season - this one involving Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in Sunday's game.

Because his case will not be heard until today, Williams took part in a walk-through practice in preparation for Saturday's game against Carolina.

He was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for pulling down McNabb from behind. On Monday, the league said he must sit out a game and forfeit a week's salary - $35,000 - because he was a repeat offender.

Quarterback Tony Romo took it easy on his bruised right hand, throwing nothing more than lobs during practice. Romo was limited because of an injury to the thumb on his passing hand.

Tight end Jason Witten had no doubt Romo would play Saturday. "Oh, yeah," he said. "He's really tough. I'd be shocked if he didn't."

Center Andre Gurode (knee) and backup safety Pat Watkins (ankle) are not likely to play against Carolina.

Panthers. Four starters, including receiver Steve Smith and defensive end Julius Peppers, missed practice for Carolina.

Peppers suffered a sprained right knee in Sunday's 13-10 upset of Seattle. Smith sat out with an illness.

Rookie quarterback Matt Moore is in line to start against Dallas. Moore led the Panthers to the victory over Seattle in Vinny Testaverde's absence. Testaverde, 44, missed the game because of "general soreness."

Chiefs. Coach Herm Edwards apologized to Kansas City fans for telling them to "get over it" and said he should have chosen his words more carefully in talking about their reaction to his team's seven-game losing streak.

The 4-10 Chiefs could be headed for their worst record in two decades. A 26-17 loss to Tennessee on Sunday before an angry, half-empty stadium closed out a 2-6 home season.

"People aren't used to this in Kansas City. Get over it," Edwards said after Sunday's loss. "It happens. It's called life. You can't think you're too big that it's not going to happen to you. It happens to everybody."

Headed north. Longtime NFL assistant coach Marc Trestman, who worked for eight teams over 17 years, was hired as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.