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NFL roundup: Packers' McCarthy called replacement ref

The Sports Xchange
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The NFL replacement official at the center of the lockout's signature moment told "Inside the NFL" that he received a phone call from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

Referee Wayne Elliott signaled a game-winning touchdown to Seattle receiver Golden Tate. The Hail Mary pass appeared to have been intercepted by Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings, and the resulting backlash is believed to have prompted the league to settle with their regular officials.

Elliott told "Inside the NFL" that one of the many messages he received was from McCarthy.

"He called me at my house last week because he had heard I was having a rough week with all the calls and everything," Elliott told the Showtime program. "Wanted (me) to know that he thought what I did -- controversial and maybe he didn't agree with it -- (but he thought) I handled it with class."

Asked if he would call the play the same way after seeing the replay, Elliott said: "I'd probably call interception. I learned a rule by screwing up the rule."

Despite the controversy, Elliott enjoyed his time as an NFL referee.

"I had the time of my life," he said.

---The NFL granted suspended head coach Sean Payton permission to attend Sunday's New Orleans Saints game in which Drew Brees could break Johnny Unitas' record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

The NFL acquiesced on its stance when Brees made a formal request to allow Payton and others to attend the game against the Chargers. However, Payton is allowed "no contact" with Brees or other players and coaches.

---New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks won't return for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns because of injuries.

Nicks will miss his third consecutive game, coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday, while he recovers from the effects of foot surgery that has left him sore and forced him out of most of training camp and the preaseson. Nicks also is hampered by swelling in a knee that surfaced after he played in the Giants' week-two win over Tampa Bay in which he caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.

In the two games he has played this season, Nicks has 14 catches for 237 yards.

---The Green Bay Packers won't have injured wide receiver Greg Jennings available for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Jennings' groin injured flared up during the first half of the Packers' win last Sunday over New Orleans and the team said Thursday that he would sit out this week.

---Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has purchased a stake in the Memphis Grizzlies' NBA franchise.

According to reports confirmed Thursday by ESPN.com, Manning is part of a potential ownership group with Robert Pera. Actually, Manning's wife, Ashley, is named as the investor, but it's believed to be a family endeavor. Manning played college football at Tennessee and has maintained strong ties to the state.

---New Orleans wide receiver Lance Moore has missed the past two days of practice because of a hamstring injury and his status is up in the air for Sunday night's game against San Diego.

The Saints already are thin at the position with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby and Joseph Morgan as their only healthy receivers.

Moore has 19 receptions for 287 yards and two touchdowns this season and shares the team lead in catches with Colston.

---New England tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski returned to the practice field Thursday.

Hernandez has been sidelined since the second week of the season with an ankle injury. Gronkowski sat out Wednesday's practice because of a hip ailment.

The Boston Herald reported that Hernandez was limping after running his first pass route but appeared to proceed through additional drills without a problem. NFL.com has reported that Hernandez might be ready for game action the following week.

--- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September.

Through the first four games of his professional career, Griffin III has completed 86-of-124 passes (69.4 percent) for 1,070 yards with four touchdowns and a passer rating of 103.2. Last Sunday, he became one of three players in NFL history to pass for more than 1,000 yards in the first four weeks of a rookie season, joining Carolina's Cam Newton (2011) and Miami's Ryan Tannehill (2012).

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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