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Friday, September 19, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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NFL

Notebook: No fine for Shanahan's fib

DENVER — Mike Shanahan lied and got away with it.

The Denver Broncos coach was cleared of any wrongdoing yesterday after explaining to league officials why he lied about Jake Plummer's injury during a game last weekend.

"The key is we're on the same page and moving forward, so the matter that occurred last Sunday is closed," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "We're satisfied that it is resolved and that Mike understands the policy."

The league started looking into Shanahan's actions after he gave a false injury report to CBS during halftime of Sunday's game against San Diego.

Plummer was injured while diving for a first down midway through the second quarter, but Shanahan told the network that the quarterback suffered a concussion instead of a separated shoulder.

Shanahan came clean after the game, saying he didn't want the Chargers to have an advantage if backup Steve Beuerlein got hurt. The Broncos had just two quarterbacks at the time.

Rules for reporting in-game injuries aren't as specific as pregame injuries, but the league didn't like Shanahan's deception tactics and said it would look into whether he broke any rules.

Shanahan did not hear from league officials early in the week, so he decided to call Roger Goodell, NFL executive vice president, to make sure there were no problems.

"If they were going to call me, they were going to call me before today," Shanahan said. "When something's that big and people are talking about it, I think it's up to me to address at least what my thoughts were, what I did and why I did it."

Shanahan said he would protect his team if a similar situation came up again, but he would be a little more subtle about it.

"(I'll say) we're not really sure the extent of the injury and we're going to wait and see," he said.

Plummer had no problems yesterday after testing his sore right shoulder with some longer throws. He still had some soreness, but the Broncos expect him to play Monday night against Oakland.

Notes

• The Green Bay Packers should have at least one of their top two receivers for Sunday's game at Arizona. Robert Ferguson (knee) said he will be able to play, but top receiver Donald Driver (concussion) said it will be up to coach Mike Sherman and the medical staff to make a decision on his status.

• Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair practiced and felt improvement with the dislocated ring finger on his throwing hand. On Wednesday it was swollen and sore, but yesterday McNair was surprised his finger felt so much better.

• Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot was briefly knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital with a mild concussion after a collision during practice. Smoot woke up with a headache and back pain before being placed on a board and loaded in an ambulance. If he can't play Sunday, it would be a significant setback for the Redskins. Smoot and Champ Bailey are one of the top cornerback tandems in the league, and backup Rashad Bauman pulled his hamstring last week.

• The Carolina Panthers claimed safety Travares Tillman off waivers and placed defensive end Kavika Pittman on injured reserve with torn knee ligaments.

• Minnesota No. 2 wide receiver D'Wayne Bates was downgraded to questionable for Sunday's game against Detroit with a sprained left foot. He hasn't practiced all week.

• The Chicago Bears practiced for the first time at newly renovated Soldier Field, and both players and coaches raved about nearly every aspect of the stadium. The Bears will play their first regular-season game in the stadium, which cost about $606 million to renovate, Sept. 29 against the Green Bay Packers.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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