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NFL: NFL to look at playoff teams resting starters

The NFL will ask its competition committee to review concerns regarding clinching playoff teams choosing to rest starters at the end of the season, according to a report on ESPN.com.

The NFL will ask its competition committee to review concerns regarding clinching playoff teams choosing to rest starters at the end of the season, according to a report on ESPN.com.

The issue is receiving renewed attention after the Indianapolis Colts chose to pull their starters from Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. Entering the game, the Colts, now 14-1, were undefeated but had clinched home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Meanwhile, the Jets, now 8-7, were still fighting for a playoff spot.

After the Colts pulled Peyton Manning and other first-stringers, the Jets rallied for a 29-15 win, improving their chances in the playoff race.

"This is an issue that we have reviewed in the past," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello was quoted as saying in an ESPN.com article to which the AP also contributed. "The position of the competition committee, and affirmed by the clubs, when it was reviewed in 2005 was that 'a team that has clinched its division title has earned the right to rest its starters for the postseason, and that preparing for the postseason is just as important as protecting some other team's playoff opportunity.' That is the current policy."

Broncos. Denver coach Josh McDaniels said yesterday he's benching Brandon Marshall, his Pro Bowl wide receiver, for the team's key season finale against Kansas City tomorrow.

Marshall implied he couldn't have played anyway after pulling his right hamstring at practice this week.

McDaniels said yesterday that Marshall was exaggerating the extent of his injury and was unaccountable to the team. The Pro Bowl receiver responded later, hinting he might be getting called out because the Broncos' season is unraveling.

Since a sizzling 6-0 start, the Broncos have gone 2-7 and need a win in the scramble for a wild-card berth.

Jets. Cornerback Donald Strickland will miss the New York Jets' game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a strained quadriceps, while punter Steve Weatherford is questionable with a tweaked hamstring.

Coach Rex Ryan said Weatherford was a full participant in practice yesterday, but injured his right hamstring. Ryan said the Jets will work out other punters today as a backup plan.

Titans. Tennessee defensive tackle Tony Brown will miss tomorrow's season finale against the Seattle Seahawks because of a knee problem.

Browns. Josh Cribbs remains confident he'll have a new contract soon, despite a recent shake-up in the Browns' front office that made Mike Holmgren Cleveland's new president.

Earlier this season, Cribbs became the NFL's career leader in kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight.

Panthers. Carolina placed receiver Steve Smith on injured reserve, after he broke his left forearm Sunday in a win over the New York Giants.

Super Bowl protest. A South Florida child-abuse prevention group in Pompano Beach wants the NFL to reconsider booking the Who for the Super Bowl halftime show at Landshark Stadium in Miami.

Child AbuseWatch.net objects to Pete Townshend performing because of his 2003 arrest by British police on suspicion of possessing child pornography. He was eventually cleared but placed on a sex offenders registry for five years as part of a formal police caution for accessing a Web site with images of child abuse.