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Cowboys might get Barber back after his knee holds up

Baltimore Sun

Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber could start the playoff game against Minnesota on Sunday after his sore left knee held up well during practice Thursday.

"He's listed as limited, although he did practice and did run some and ran pretty well," coach Wade Phillips said. "That was an encouraging sign with him. We'll see what he does tomorrow, but it's looking better and better I think for him to be able to play."

Barber left the last playoff game after only three carries because coaches could tell he wasn't running at full strength. He was held out of practice Wednesday.

Besides the stakes of the game, Barber has the further incentive of getting play in his home state for the first time.

"He needs to show a little bit more, but he showed a lot today," Phillips said.

CARDINALS: Wide receiver Anquan Boldin and linebacker Gerald Hayes did not practice because of injuries.

Boldin has been nursing left ankle and knee injuries he suffered in the regular-season finale. He was inactive for their 51-45 overtime victory over the Packers in the first round of the NFC playoffs Sunday.

Hayes suffered a right ankle injury on the first play of the playoff game but played with it the rest of the way.

RAIDERS: Tom Cable planned to meet with team owner Al Davis on Thursday to discuss his status as head coach.

Senior executive John Herrera said the two men could meet again today.

Cable's status is in question after he went 5-11 in his first full season as coach and failed to develop JaMarcus Russell into a legitimate NFL quarterback. Cable is 9-19 since replacing Lane Kiffin early in the 2008 season, leading the Raiders to their NFL-worst seventh straight season with at least 11 losses.

GIANTS: Bills interim coach Perry Fewell has been hired as defensive coordinator. Coach Tom Coughlin announced the move after Fewell spent the past few days weighing offers from the Giants and the Bears.

PATRIOTS: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees told owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick that he won't seek to renew his contract when it expires at the end of January.

STEELERS: Sean Kugler was hired as the offensive line coach.

EAGLES: Bobby April was hired to replace Ted Daisher as special teams coordinator.

BILLS: Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith pleaded guilty to drunken driving, saying he wanted to own up to his mistake and strive to be an asset to the community.

Smith, 46, was fined $1,000 and given a 90-day suspended sentence in a plea agreement with Virginia Beach, Va., prosecutors, who dropped charges of speeding and refusal to take a breath test. He also must complete an alcohol safety program, and his driving privileges will be limited for one year.

All-Pro votingOFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 36 1/2; Drew Brees, New Orleans, 12 1/2; Philip Rivers, San Diego, 1.

x-RUNNING BACKS: Chris Johnson, Tennessee, 50; Adrian Peterson, Minnesota, 17; Ray Rice, Baltimore, 12; Steven Jackson, St. Louis, 9; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville, 6; Thomas Jones, NY Jets, 3; DeAngelo Williams, Carolina, 1.

FULLBACK: Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia, 24; Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore, 14; Lousaka Polite, Miami, 9; Lawrence Vickers, Cleveland, 1; Tony Richardson, NY Jets, 1.

TIGHT END: Dallas Clark, Indianapolis, 25 1/2; Antonio Gates, San Diego, 10 1/2; Vernon Davis, San Francisco, 9; Jason Witten, Dallas, 4; Heath Miller, Pittsburgh, 1.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Andre Johnson, Houston, 44; Wes Welker, New England, 20; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis, 12; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona, 8; DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia, 6; Miles Austin, Dallas, 6; Vincent Jackson, San Diego, 2; Brandon Marshall, Denver, 2.

TACKLES: Ryan Clady, Denver, 30; Joe Thomas, Cleveland, 18; Michael Roos, Tennessee, 12; Jake Long, Miami, 12; Jason Peters, Philadelphia, 5; Jon Stinchcomb, New Orleans, 5; Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota, 4; Michael Oher, Baltimore, 4; David Stewart, Tennessee, 3; Vernon Carey, Miami, 2; Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati, 2; D'Brickashaw Ferguson, NY Jets, 2; Marcus McNeill, San Diego, 1; Willie Colon, Pittsburgh, 1.

GUARDS: Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota, 31; Jahri Evans, New Orleans, 28; Logan Mankins, New England, 12; Kris Dielman, San Diego, 9; Alan Faneca, NY Jets, 7; Chris Snee, NY Giants, 5; Leonard Davis, Dallas, 4; Carl Nicks, New Orleans, 3. Brandon Moore, NY Jets, 1.

CENTER: Nick Mangold, NY Jets, 31; Andre Gurode, Dallas, 9; Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis, 8; Shaun O'Hara, NY Giants, 2.

KICKER: Nate Kaeding, San Diego, 27; David Akers, Philadelphia, 11; Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland, 8; Rob Bironas, Tennessee, 1; Stephen Gostkowski, New England, 1; Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh, 1; Olindo Mare, Seattle, 1.

KICK RETURNER: Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland, 45 1/2; DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia, 3 1/2; Percy Harvin, Minnesota, 1.

DEFENSE

ENDS: Jared Allen, Minnesota, 45; Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis, 36; Trent Cole, Philadelphia, 9; Julius Peppers, Carolina, 6; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis, 1; Andre Carter, Washington, 1; Randy Starks, Miami, 1; Will Smith, New Orleans, 1.

TACKLES: Jay Ratliff, Dallas, 29; Kevin Williams, Minnesota, 24; Darnell Dockett, Arizona, 23; Haloti Ngata, Baltimore, 14; Vince Wilfork, New England, 6; Pat Williams, Minnesota, 1; Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh, 1; Tony Brown, Tennessee, 1; Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay, 1.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Elvis Dumervil, Denver, 46; DaMarcus Ware, Dallas, 37; Brian Cushing, Houston, 5; LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh, 4; James Harrison, Pittsburgh, 3; Lance Briggs, Chicago, 3; Anthony Spencer, Dallas, 1; Shaun Phillips, San Diego, 1.

y-INSIDE LINEBACKER: Patrick Willis, San Francisco, 49; Ray Lewis, Baltimore, 13; David Harris, NY Jets, 10; Jon Beason, Carolina, 9; Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans, 7; DeMeco Ryans, Houston, 4; London Fletcher, Washington, 2; Curtis Lofton, Atlanta, 2; D.J. Williams, Denver, 1; Jerod Mayo, New England, 1; Gary Brackett, Indianapolis, 1.

CORNERBACKS: Charles Woodson, Green Bay, 48; Darelle Revis, NY Jets, 48; Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland, 2; Leon Hall, Cincinnati, 1; Asante Samuel, Philadelphia, 1.

SAFETIES: Darren Sharper, New Orleans, 46; Adrian Wilson, Arizona, 29; Brian Dawkins, Denver 10; Ed Reed, Baltimore, 4; Nick Collins, Green Bay, 4; Jairus Byrd, Buffalo, 3; Bernard Pollard, Houston, 1; Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis, 1; Brandon Meriweather, New England, 1; Tyvon Branch, Oakland, 1.

PUNTER: Shane Lechler, Oakland, 48; Donnie Jones, Rams, 1; Andy Lee, San Francisco, 1.

x-two voters selected only one running back.

y-one voter selected only one inside linebacker.

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