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Smith’s Report Good, But Cowboys Ailing

A sleepy and shaken Emmitt Smith came home in a neck brace Tuesday. That doesn’t mean he’s planning to take next weekend off.

The indestructible Dallas Cowboys running back could play in five days against the New York Giants.

“We feel good about the doctors’ reports, because everything checks out OK,” said Dallas coach Barry Switzer. “Emmitt was up all night and hasn’t had any rest or sleep, but he says he feels good and maybe he could play this week.”

Smith’s latest injury came late in a 22-6 loss to the Chicago Bears, when he fell on his head carrying out a play fake. It came two weeks after Smith suffered a sprained knee ligament in the final exhibition game, which he overcame.

Smith stayed overnight in a Chicago hospital, then flew home with owner Jerry Jones in the Cowboys’ private jet. Smith had some soreness and stiffness in his neck and shoulders, but results of an MRI, CAT scan and other tests were negative.

‘Emmitt’s OK,” said team physician Dr. Robert Vandermeer in Dallas. “There are no fractures at all and Emmitt is feeling well.’

Asked if the All-Pro running back would be given the green light in the home opener Sunday against the Giants, Vandermeer said, “We’re going to take it day by day, and I’ll see him again tomorrow.”

Smith, who started despite the sore knee, gained 70 yards on 18 carries.

It was the first time since 1989 the Cowboys failed to produce a touchdown in a season opener.

“I looked at the films and it was still ugly,” Switzer said.

Around the NFL

St. Louis Rams running back Lawrence Phillips beat, threatened and once sexually assaulted a former girlfriend during their two-year relationship at the University of Nebraska, a lawsuit said.

Katherine McEwen, of Topeka, Kan., filed the lawsuit Aug. 16 in Jackson County Circuit Court, and it remained sealed until Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported in today’s editions. McEwen’s lawsuit asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages for sexual assault, battery, kidnapping, assault, false imprisonment, emotional distress and the violation of her rights.

Merton Hanks’ new deal with the San Francisco 49ers will pay him $22.4 million over seven years, putting him among the three highest-paid defensive backs in the league.

Voters in Tampa, Fla., approved a half-cent sales tax to help build a new $168 million football stadium, and the team owners said the Buccaneers “will be here forever.” With 96 percent of the precincts reporting in Hillsborough County, 53 percent had voted in favor of the proposal while 47 percent were against.

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