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MCNAIR FORCED INTO BACKUP ROLE

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair could be healthy enough by Sunday to play against Jacksonville, but he will not start.

McNair watched Friday's workout in tennis shoes and a sweat jacket and has not thrown a pass since his shoulder was injured in the Sept. 9 season-opening loss to Miami.

Coach Jeff Fisher said earlier in the week if McNair was unable to throw before Friday, Neil O'Donnell would start in Jacksonville. The Titans have put off for now deciding whether McNair can be O'Donnell's backup.

"The decision we have now is whether he will be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback for us," Fisher said. "Unless there's a miracle between now and kickoff, it just doesn't make sense to push him."

Fisher said in recent days McNair has displayed improved strength and range of motion in his throwing arm.

If McNair is listed as the emergency third-string quarterback, Billy Volek would be O'Donnell's backup. The second-year pro has never thrown a regular-season pass.

O'Donnell is 5-1 as a starter since he signed with the Titans in 1999. He won four of five games during Tennessee's 1999 AFC Championship season, including a 20-19 victory at Jacksonville.

Last season, McNair missed only one start because of a bruised sternum. Late in the year he missed significant practice time but no game time after he sprained a knee and ankle in a victory over Philadelphia.

Around the league

Anthony Wright will be the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback against San Diego on Sunday. Cowboys coach Dave Campo said Friday that Wright will replace Quincy Carter, who hasn't practiced all week because of a sore thumb on his throwing hand.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and kick returner Jermaine Lewis probably will miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals because of a hamstring injury.

Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Sean Harris underwent surgery Friday aimed at repairing a pinched nerve in his neck and shoulder.

Vikings returner Nate Jacquet says he'll appeal a $5,000 fine imposed by the NFL this week for taunting an opponent.

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