Cowher in Cowboys' sights

According to Gerry Fraley, columnist for the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys' coaching search now has a new target.

"The Cowboys can win out, giving interim coach Jason Garrett a 7-1 record," Fraley wrote. "They can stack good days, a favorite Garrett expression, as high as the eye can see. None of that assures Garrett of having the 'interim' removed from his title. This is not a one-man race.

"The dynamics of the Cowboys' pending coaching search dramatically changed on Thursday. [Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach] Bill Cowher told USA Today 'I'm open to listen to opportunities' and indicated he is willing to return to coaching after a four-year sabbatical.

"That scurrying sound you hear is Cowboys owner-general manager Jerry Jones going through his files to make sure he has every bit of contact information on Cowher. All bets are off in this pageant."

Jerry wants Romo, too

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been sidelined since Oct. 25 when he broke his collarbone in a loss to the Giants, and might be able to return for the team's final two games, at Arizona on Dec. 25 and against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Jan. 2.

Jerry Jones said if Romo is ready, he'll play.

"I want to do anything we can to win those games," Jones said. "[The decision] will be based on what gives us the best chance to win," Jones said. "And, when he's ready to go, he's going to be ready. I shouldn't be concerned about additional injury to his shoulder."

Jones added that Romo would only come back as the starter, not as a backup. Jon Kitna has filled in for Romo, going 3-3 in his six starts.

Spikes draws suspension

The NFL suspended New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Spikes, the team's second-leading tackler, will miss the rest of the regular season, starting Sunday at Chicago. The rookie from Florida would be eligible for the playoffs.

Spikes said he took a medication without knowing it contained a banned substance.


Kansas City have reached agreement with running back Jamaal Charles on a five-year, $32.5 million deal that includes $13 million guaranteed, reported. . . . Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell didn't make the trip to San Diego following an appendectomy on Wednesday. . . . Linebacker Jason Williams has been ruled out of Carolina's game against Atlanta on Sunday with a knee injury. . . . Washington filled Albert Haynesworth's roster spot by promoting offensive lineman Erik Cook from the practice squad. Haynesworth was suspended for the rest of the season without pay on Tuesday. . . . Detroit placed linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba on injured reserve and signed offensive tackle Tony Ugoh to fill the roster spot.