Surgery puts Millard out for season


Keith Millard, the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro defensive tackle, decided to have knee surgery and will be lost for the rest of the season.

"The best thing for me right now is surgery so I can continue my career," said Millard, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early last season.

"I will be back, and I'll be back at full force," said Millard, the 1989 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

* SAINTS: A California state appeals court has rejected quarterback Bobby Hebert's challenge to the NFL's Plan B restrictions on free agents' ability to move from one team to another.

Hebert said in his suit that he was prevented from signing with the Raiders last season, and did not play at all, because the Raiders were unwilling to compensate his team, as required by Plan B. He argued that the rule denied him the right to work in the occupation of his choice, in violation of California law.

But the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled this week that California law could not be used to restrict a nationwide business like the NFL without becoming an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.

* STEELERS: Terry Long, who attempted suicide nearly two months ago, will make his first start of the season on Sunday.

"A man who has been through as much as I've been through the last two or three months has learned something from it and gained a little wisdom about it," said Long, who ended his silence Wednesday and talked to reporters for the first time since returning to the Steelers on Aug. 20.

. "The biggest thing my situation has done is brought me closer to the Lord and made me realize he is real and he's given me a second chance to do some things in life."

Long's return to the starting lineup could be short-lived because he is waiting to hear if he will be suspended by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue for failing a steroids test.

Long told teammates on July 23 he tested positive for steroids. That night Long was taken to a hospital after an attempted suicide at his home.

* PACKERS: President Bob Harlan denied a report that a deal had been made to trade holdout linebacker Tim Harris to the Dolphins for a first-round draft pick.

The Milwaukee Sentinel quoted an unnamed source close to the Packers as saying the teams planned to announce the deal Sunday, when the Packers play in Miami.

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