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AILING MCNAIR VISITS TITANS

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair made his first visit to the practice field since back surgery and said he feels "great."

McNair underwent surgery for a ruptured disc last weekend and is expected to miss at least five more weeks. The injury snapped his streak of consecutive starts at 34.

McNair, who opened the season with a career-high 341 yards and three touchdown passes in a 36-35 victory over Cincinnati, is anxious to return to play again.

"It hurts a lot to know that my team battles every Sunday and I can't be a part of it," he said Friday. " . . . I've got to get ready to get better to get back on this field to play and help my team win."

Washington expects to start

Buffalo Bills nose tackle Ted Washington, who is listed as probable for the Philadelphia Eagles' game with sore ribs, practiced Friday for the first time this week and is expected to start Sunday.

Wide receiver Andre Reed has been limited in workouts this week, but should also start against the Eagles.

Among the Bills' early inactives for Sunday are running back Thurman Thomas, who will miss his second game with a liver contusion, and offensive guard Joe Panos, who will miss his third game with a bulging disk in his neck.

Also inactive are offensive guard Victory Allotey and linebacker Keith Newman.

Around the league

* Defensive tackle Mark Smith ended his holdout Friday and accepted the Arizona Cardinals' minimum offer of $325,000 for this season minus the salary he would have received for the two games he missed. That means the third-year pro will get just under $285,000, far less than the more than $1 million he originally had demanded.

* Offensive tackle Matt Stinchcomb, the Oakland Raiders' first-round draft pick this year, will have surgery on his separated left shoulder and miss his entire rookie season.

* Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Tom McManus will miss the rest of the season with a torn tendon in his right foot.

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