Injured fullback Craig Heyward was suspended without pay for the rest of the season yesterday by New Orleans Saints coach Jim Mora, who said the move had nothing to do with pending assault charges brought by two women.
"He has been suspended for the rest of this season for a series of violations of club policy," Mora said. "I would like to say it had absolutely nothing to do with any off-the-field activities he might have been involved in."
Mora would not elaborate on the suspension, but there was speculation that Heyward might not have followed his training regimen and gained more weight since being placed on injured reserve in early November.
Heyward sustained a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot during a game Nov. 3 against the Los Angeles Rams. He could have returned for last week's game at Dallas, but did not.
The suspension would include the playoffs, if the Saints qualify, Mora said.
Heyward faces arraignment Jan. 6 on misdemeanor charges filed by two women who said he assaulted them at a rally that preceded a Saints game at Philadelphia in mid-October.
A complaint said Heyward head-butted one of the women, grabbed the other by her crotch and a breast, and threatened both with a steel barricade.
* BRONCOS: Standout rookie linebacker Mike Croel has chicken pox, and team officials fear the contagious disease might spread to as many as eight other players who did not have it as children.
Croel, recuperating from a foot and ankle injury, was expected to return to the lineup for Sunday's game against Phoenix. Now, however, he is likely to miss the last two regular-season games, and possibly the first playoff game as well.
* A jury has awarded $523,900 to a television cameraman accidentally knocked unconscious by two players, Browns safety Will Hill and Oilers receiver Haywood Jeffires, while covering a game Dec. 18, 1988, at Cleveland Stadium.
A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury awarded Michael Gallagher, 28, of WJET-TV in Erie, Pa., $806,000 on Wednesday. The award was reduced 35 percent because the jury found Gallagher partly to blame.
The Browns were ruled to blame because they required photographers to kneel at the end zone sidelines, making it more difficult to quickly move out of the way of players.