2 sprained ankles leave Schroeder's status iffy

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Quarterback Jay Schroeder of the Los Angeles Raiders was on crutches yesterday with two sprained ankles, and coach Art Shell rated his status for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs "somewhere between questionable and doubtful."

Schroeder was injured during the Raiders' 27-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. The right ankle is considered the more severely sprained.

"All I can do is ice and elevate them," Schroeder said. "I'll just try to do what I can, and come Sunday I plan on playing."

The game against the Chiefs at the Los Angeles Coliseum will determine which of the AFC wild-card teams will play host to a rematch the following weekend. The Chiefs haven't been a playoff host in the 19-year history of Arrowhead Stadium.

Shell, though concerned about Schroeder's status, didn't rule out a return by his starting quarterback.

The options are backup Vince Evans, 36, and third-string rookie Todd Marinovich, 22, who hasn't thrown a pass other than in practice since the exhibition season.

* JETS: Raul Allegre, the former Colts and Giants place-kicker, aced his short workout and earned himself a contract for the rest of the season. The AFC's final wild-card spot is on the line Sunday in Miami.

Place-kicker Pat Leahy, 40, has been ordered to rest his sciatic nerve in bed this week.

Allegre, 32, was promised nothing by the Jets beyond this weekend. He again will become an unrestricted free agent Feb. 1.

Leahy, from his home in Point Lookout, N.Y., did not sound like a man who believes he has kicked his last field goal with the Jets. He also admitted the sciatica, which shoots pain down his leg, has bothered him not only the past six to eight weeks, but also "occasionally for the past five or six years."

* CHIEFS: Quarterback Steve Pelluer was re-signed to back up Steve DeBerg and the injured Mark Vlasic.

Pelluer had been cut by the Chiefs on Aug. 27 after they acquired Vlasic, who sprained a knee Saturday at San Francisco while starting in place DeBerg. Vlasic is doubtful for Sunday's game.

* EAGLES: Philadelphia turned its thoughts to Sunday's regular-season finale against the Redskins, despite the hurt of being eliminated from playoff contention.

New Orleans clinched the last spot in the NFC field Monday night by beating the Raiders.

"Success can be measured only by reaching goals and this season's goal was making the playoffs and taking it from there," center David Alexander said. "There are no moral victories. A moral victory is a cliche you read someplace. If we had 14 wins and didn't make the playoffs I'd see it the same way."

The end started in the first game of the season when quarterback Randall Cunningham was lost for the year with a knee injury. The team used five quarterbacks in the first half of the season. Still, the Eagles put together a six-game winning streak and hung in the playoff picture with the league's top defense.

But owner Norman Braman said yesterday that he wasn't disappointed in the season and that rookie coach Rich Kotite did an excellent job under trying circumstances.

"He has been a great leader," Braman said. "He kept the team together after everybody had written us off. He moved the team forward."

* SAINTS: Bobby Hebert led the team into the playoffs for the third time.

Hebert threw for a career-high 320 yards after returning from a six-week absence because of injuries.

"Guys have so much confidence in him," linebacker Pat Swilling said. "He's been so good for so long. It was the boost everyone needed. We have good backup, but Bobby gave us a shot of confidence, and we used it to win."

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Saints a 10-5 record and at least a wild-card playoff spot. A victory over Phoenix on Sunday and a loss by Atlanta at Dallas would give New Orleans its first NFC West title.

New Orleans is 7-1 with Hebert starting.

* The coronary blockage that caused Bill Parcells to undergo a non-surgical procedure won't keep him from his television job long, and he could return to coaching if he chooses, his doctor said.

Parcells, 50, was doing "just fine" after undergoing angioplasty less than 24 hours earlier to clear a blockage in one of the arteries of his heart, Dr. Michael Kesselbrenner said in a telephone interview.

Kesselbrenner, Parcells' attending cardiologist, said there is a good chance the former Giants coach would be released from The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., today. He added Parcells might also be able to return to his job this weekend as a football analyst at NBC Sports.

"There have been several coaches who have had these procedures and returned to work," Kesselbrenner said. "Dan Reeves of the Broncos and Roger Craig of the [San Francisco] Giants are two."

HTC * COWBOYS: Quarterback Troy Aikman likely will see his first playing time in five weeks Sunday against the Falcons.

Steve Beuerlein will start his fourth consecutive game, but regardless of the situation, the Cowboys would like the work in Aikman.

The reasoning is this: If the Cowboys think Aikman will be available at any time during the playoffs -- and Aikman's right knee is feeling better as time goes on -- he needs to get some playing time.

Except for pre-game warm-ups the past two weeks, Aikman has not taken a snap from center since he was injured Nov. 24 at Washington.

So while Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson said he likely will keep any injured player out of Sunday's game, which only could determine whom the Cowboys face in the playoffs, Aikman could return at less than 100 percent.

* VIKINGS: Peace and harmony have settled in at headquarters, as the five-year battle for control of the team has ended.

"We're all happy," club president Roger Headrick said, the day after Minneapolis businessmen Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad agreed to sell their interest in the club to the faction led by Headrick and executive vice president Mike Lynn.

"We reached an agreement that resolves five years of disagreement, litigation, sometimes acrimonious, sometimes pointed toward individuals. It's over. It clears the air. It's one group speaking with one voice and one focus."

The parties have 90 days to close the sale, reportedly for about $50 million.

NFL playoffs

Redskins: East champions. Have home-field advantage throughout conference playoffs.

Bears: Would win Central and clinch bye with win Monday over the 49ers or a Lions loss on Sunday. If Bears and Lions end the season tied, Bears would win Central.

L Lions: Need win over Bills and loss by Bears to win Central.

Falcons: Would win West with victory Sunday over Cowboys or a Saints loss against Cardinals. If the Falcons and Saints end season tied, Falcons would win the division.

Saints: Would win West with win over Cardinals and a Falcons loss.

( Cowboys: Wild-card team.

AFC

Bills: East champions. Have home-field advantage throughout conference playoffs.

Oilers: Central champions. Need win over Giants on Saturday or a Broncos loss against Chargers to clinch bye.

Broncos: West champions. Would clinch bye with win over Chargers and an Oilers loss.

Chiefs and Raiders: Play each other Sunday for home-field advantage in a first-round playoff game, which will match the same teams.

Dolphins and Jets: Play each other Sunday. Winner gets final playoff spot.

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