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KANSAS CITY CLAIMS COLLINS, DECIDES AGAINST ADDING PHILLIPS

The Kansas City Chiefs claimed former Buffalo Bills quarterback Todd Collins on Tuesday and assumed his contract.

To make room for Collins, the Chiefs waived quarterback Pat Barnes. They had previously waived Billy Joe Tolliver. The Bills second-round draft pick in 1995 will be reunited with former Michigan teammate and Chiefs starting quarterback Elvis Grbac.

"He's had some good games, he's been up and down at Buffalo, but as a third quarterback, he can help us," said Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson.

However, if troubled running back Lawrence Phillips ever resumes his NFL career, it won't be with the Chiefs.

"We made a decision we're going to go in another direction," Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer said Tuesday, one day after disclosing he'd had a face-to-face meeting with Phillips in Kansas City. "We evaluated the information available to us both through research as well as personal interviews."

Public opinion had been running against signing Phillips, who had been cut by St. Louis and Miami, but Schottenheimer said that played no part in the decision.

Saints close ranks

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints coaches and players would not talk to reporters because of what a team spokesman described as a meeting with NFL security about a hazing incident that left tight end Cam Cleeland with blurred vision in one eye.

The after-practice meeting Tuesday lasted approximately five minutes and players refused to talk afterward.

"NFL security today advised the Saints that it has initiated a review of the rookie hazing incident that took place in La Crosse, Wis.," Saints general manager Bill Kuharich said in a statement.

"The matter is now in NFL security's hands and the Saints will no longer answer questions regarding this matter at this time."

Cleeland, a second-round draft pick this spring, said a CAT scan revealed no broken bones around his left eye. His vision remained blurred, however, and he said he was still having headaches.

Cleeland was one of a number of rookies who had pillow cases put over their heads and were forced to run a gantlet of veteran players. He was the only one to sustain serious injuries.

Other draft picks who went through the gantlet were No. 1 pick Kyle Turley, No. 6 pick Chris Bordano, seventh-round pick Andy McCullough, and free agent Jeff Danish.

Four other draft picks -- fourth-rounders Julian Pittman and Fred Weary, No. 5 pick Wilmont Perry and seventh-rounder Ron Warner -- did not run the gantlet.

Dolphins give Kidd the boot

MIAMI -- John Kidd lost the punting battle, and within minutes of being released by the Dolphins, the 14-year veteran was already considering other options.

"I think other teams are considering making a move for a punter, so the next few days will determine what happens," the former Buffalo Bill said shortly after learning Klaus Wilmsmeyer had won the Dolphins' punting job.

Kidd, 37, is Miami's all-time leading punter with a career average of 44.2 yards, but his contract was terminated. Also among Miami's cuts was running back Jerris McPhail.

The Dolphins have 58 players on the roster, two under the current league limit. Miami's staff spent Tuesday searching the waiver wires, looking to upgrade the roster at any position, specifically at receiver and cornerback.

One player not going anywhere is defensive tackle Tim Bowens, who signed a contract that would average $5 million a year through 2002. The agreement includes a $4 million signing bonus, making Bowens the Dolphins' highest-paid player this year, ahead of even Dan Marino.

Bowens, 25, practiced for the first time Tuesday and is expected to play in the final exhibition game Friday against Green Bay.

Brown's future in doubt

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Tackle Jamie Brown skipped a game, apologized, paid a fine and was welcomed back to the fold. When he showed up late to another game, the San Francisco 49ers weren't so forgiving.

Brown, who cost the 49ers' their 1999 second-round draft pick in an April trade with Denver, was suspended three weeks for conduct detrimental to the team.

Brown has been injured and unable to practice since July 25.

"I didn't want another apology to the team. I didn't want to continue to deal with those types of things," coach Steve Mariucci said.

The suspension will cost Brown about $30,000.

Around the league

The Pittsburgh Steelers traded veteran cornerback J.B. Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional selection in the 1999 National Football League draft.

The Detroit Lions signed veteran defensive end Mike Chalenski, 28, eight days after he was cut by the Miami Dolphins.

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bobby Taylor will likely be sidelined for six to eight weeks after suffering a broken right collarbone during Monday night's preseason loss to Baltimore.

The Dallas Cowboys decided not to activate Bill Bates, who has become an assistant coach, for the regular-season roster.

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