Around the League - Monday, Oct. 10

Denver Broncos linebacker Ian Gold (in photo) knocked away Washington's pass on a two-point conversion with 1:09 remaining, and Denver held on to a 21-19 victory over the Redskins Sunday. Read more about the game and other Hot Topics in today's edition of around the league.

For the first time since December 2004, running back Ricky Williams is once again set to play a regular-season game for the Miami Dolphins.

Williams is eligible to return Sunday against Tampa Bay after serving his four-game suspension for failing a third drug test for marijuana. Williams wasn't allowed to practice with his teammates during the suspension but he could work out on his own and attend meetings.

Williams will participate in his first practice Wednesday since the suspension began at the end of the preseason.

"When he gets back on the field, we will be able to see where he is and take it from where it is," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. "We mapped out a schedule for him, and he has done everything that we've asked him to do on that schedule every day in every way. He has worked out in whatever we work out in. I have no crystal ball to know, but it seems like it is OK."

Saban is expected to split snaps between Williams and rookie tailback Ronnie Brown, including formations with both in the same backfield.

"We have an idea of how we are going to use (Williams), but we don't have an idea of where he is in terms of how much we use him," Saban said.

"There is a difference. You try to bring players back role-wise relative to what you think they can do without putting them at risk for injury or get them playing in a game where they are not really 100 percent.

"I am assuming that he will be in a decent place from a physical conditioning standpoint. It would take a little while to get him back to where he was, but he was in pretty good condition when we started. He has worked hard, and I think it will come back quickly to him when he gets going with the team."

DENVER BRONCOS

HOT TOPIC

The Broncos once again played without injured cornerback Champ Bailey. And although two rookies started at cornerback, the Broncos didn't miss Bailey much.

Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth each started their second career game against Washington on Sunday in a 21-19 Broncos win. Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell passed for 322 yards, but that was deceiving. He attempted 53 passes, and the Broncos didn't give up many long plays.

"By no means are we Champ Bailey, because that's who I was replacing, but I think we did well considering we're rookies," Foxworth said.

The Broncos picked three cornerbacks in April's draft, hoping to avoid situations such as the one they faced in Indianapolis in a playoff loss last season when injuries left them short at cornerback and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning shredded the secondary.

Foxworth and Williams have been impressive since the start of training camp and have each passed Lenny Walls, who was a starter at the beginning of the season, on the depth chart.

Foxworth made an impressive play in the third quarter against Washington to save a touchdown. Santana Moss ran a deep seam route and Brunell made a nice pass to him, but Foxworth reached in at the last second and knocked it away. Denver blocked a field goal a few plays later.

"That's a big-time play right there," Broncos safety John Lynch said.

REPLAY

Broncos linebacker Ian Gold knocked away Washington's pass on a two-point conversion with 1:09 remaining, and Denver held on to a 21-19 victory.

Denver rode two long runs by Tatum Bell to the victory. Bell broke a 34-yard touchdown and a 55-yard touchdown, which was almost all of Denver's offense against the Redskins. Bell finished the game with 127 yards on 12 carries.

The Broncos passing game didn't do much. Jake Plummer was 10-of-25 for 92 yards and completed only three passes after halftime. Denver's defense allowed 447 yards but made key plays when it had to.

Denver has won four straight games and is in first place in the AFC West.

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Ashley Lelie caught a 5-yard touchdown pass against Washington, his first red-zone touchdown since 2002. But that was Lelie's only catch. The Broncos targeted him often on Sunday but couldn't connect.
--CB Roc Alexander did not play against Washington because of a hamstring injury. He has missed two games in a row, and his absence has hurt Denver's depth in the secondary.
--CB Karl Paymah played when Domonique Foxworth left the game in the fourth quarter with cramps. Paymah, a rookie third-round pick, picked up two costly penalties on Washington's final drive. Paymah could be inactive, as he was the first three weeks of the season, when the Broncos are fully healthy at cornerback.
--CB Champ Bailey didn't play for the second straight week. He practiced all week but then was ruled out when he tested his injured hamstring in pregame warmups and couldn't go full speed.
--TE Wesley Duke was cut to make room for CB Curome Cox, who was signed off the practice squad. Duke is a promising rookie who played basketball and not football in college.



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