Woodson, Sharpe among Hall nominees

The Baltimore Sun

Defensive back Rod Woodson and tight end Shannon Sharpe, former Ravens, and defensive end Bruce Smith are among first-year candidates for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The list includes 110 players, seven coaches and 16 contributors, including former Ravens owner Art Modell, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jerry Jones and Ralph Wilson.

Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will be announced next month as semifinalists. The field will then be narrowed to 15 by a mail ballot, and the class of inductees will be chosen Jan. 31.

Chargers: : Without a sack or interception in the past nine quarters, San Diego fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and replaced him with inside linebackers coach Ron Rivera. The Chargers are at or near the bottom of the NFL rankings in several defensive categories.

Cowboys: : Tight end Jason Witten has a broken rib but could play anyway Sunday against the Giants. Witten, who was injured Sunday against the Buccaneers, is the NFL leader in yards (549) and catches (46) among tight ends.

Seahawks: : Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said a doctor has not cleared him to play because of a leg problem stemming from a bulging disc in his back. Hasselbeck said he does not need surgery.

Steelers: : Coach Mike Tomlin vigorously defended his decision to use Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison as an emergency long snapper, a move that might have cost the team its key game against the Giants on Sunday. ... Pittsburgh won't further punish wide receiver Santonio Holmes for being charged last week with a marijuana-related offense and plans to start him Monday night in Washington. Holmes was benched Sunday.

Saints: : Guard Jamar Nesbit filed suit against the maker of a weight-loss supplement, alleging it was improperly spiked with a diuretic banned by the NFL. Nesbit returned last week from a four-game suspension levied after he tested positive for Bumetanide, a substance that helps rid the body of excess water and salt. The NFL considers the substance a possible masking agent for steroids.

Jets: : The team earned more than $16 million by selling 620 personal seat licenses for choice spots in its new stadium during an unprecedented nine-day online auction.

Obituary: : Karl Kassulke, a former Pro Bowl safety with the Vikings whose career ended when he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, has died from a heart attack. He was 67.

Baltimore Colts: : Former Baltimore Colts and New York Giants will gather Dec. 26 at M&T; Bank Stadium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1958 NFL championship game. The public can purchase tickets for $150 at www.bcf.org/colts. Proceeds will benefit the Baltimore Football Club, which helps retired NFL players in need, the Brigance Brigade, which supports ALS research, and the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, which fights child abuse in Baltimore and other NFL cities. The gathering is scheduled to last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the Geppi Entertainment club level at M&T; Bank Stadium.


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