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Bills’ Smith To Report, Play Out His Contract

From Wire Reports

Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith says he will end his 21-day holdout this weekend and play out the final year of his contract for $2.2 million.

Smith will report for practice Monday after receiving $105,000 in fines from the Bills, $5,000 for each day. He would not say whether he would report before today’s exhibition game against Chicago.

“He said he’ll be in sometime this weekend,” Bills coach Marv Levy said. “He had some personal items to take care of. That’s all I know.”

“I’m coming in soon,” Smith told The Associated Press from his home in Virginia Beach, Va. “That’s all I can say. You’ll be seeing me real soon.”

Smith was charged with driving under the influence in Virginia Beach after allegedly falling asleep at a red light at 6:21 a.m. last Sunday and refusing to take a breath test.

Even before the arrest, Smith had been the target of fan criticism for not accepting a five-year contract worth $22 million, including a $5 million signing bonus. Fans became angrier about the drunk driving incident because it would not have happened had he been in training camp on time.

“I would expect nothing less,” Smith said of the criticism.

Smith, 34, the Defensive Player of the Year last season, has been unhappy about a contract that pays him $2.2 million in each of its final two years. He turned down the Bills’ latest offer, saying he would rather play this season under the old one with hopes of becoming a free agent.

Dolphins DB to appeal drug test

Dolphins cornerback Clayton Holmes is appealing a possible lifetime suspension from the NFL for another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, a league source said Friday.

Holmes, 27, was signed by the Dolphins in February after being reinstated by the league that month. He had served a 1-1/2-season suspension for violating the policy in 1995, when he was playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Part of Holmes’ appeal is that the amount of cocaine found in a June test was below the standard necessary for suspension, the source said. Holmes is tested about 10 times per month. If his appeal is denied, he could be suspended again, with the league having the option of reinstating him after a year or leaving him on suspension.

Holmes and Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson had no comment Friday when asked about the matter.

Lions 20, Falcons 17

A late Jason Hanson field goal and a botched Atlanta attempt on the final play of the game gave Detroit its victory in the exhibition opener for both teams Friday night at Pontiac, Mich.

A 40-yard touchdown toss from Atlanta’s Billy Joe Tolliver to Roell Preston tied the game 17-17 with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter, capping a 55-yard, 11-play drive. From a 3rd-and-27 situation, Preston grabbed the ball away from cornerback Raphael Ball, a rookie out of Ball State.

Hanson kicked a 36-yarder with 2:18 remaining for the final margin. But the Falcons made it close.

Tolliver, who completed 13 of 26 passes for 228 yards after replacing starter Chris Chandler, drove the Falcons to the Lions’ 24-yard line. Kicker David Lauder lined up for a 42-yard field goal but holder Tommy Maddox fumbled the snap and was smothered by Detroit defenders with 23 seconds remaining.

It was Atlanta’s second botched field-goal attempt.

Colts 20, Bengals 16

A bobbled snap by veteran Bengals punter Lee Johnson gave Indianapolis the ball at the Cincinnati 5 and two plays later, Malcolm Thomas scored from the 2 as Indianapolis defeated visiting Cincinnati.

Thomas, a free agent out of Syracuse, played only in the third quarter, rushing five times for a team-high 17 yards and catching two passes for 9 yards. Both teams substituted freely throughout their exhibition opener.

The game marked the return to the Bengals of Boomer Esiason, who was traded to the New York Jets in 1993 after nine years with Cincinnati. Esiason relieved starter Jeff Blake late in the first quarter and completed 6 of 9 passes for 40 yards.

Corey Dillon, a second-round draft pick out of Washington, also set up the Bengals’ first score with a 67-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.

Weekend action

Today, Philadelphia plays at the New York Jets in Bill Parcells’ debut with the Jets, Chicago is at Buffalo, Washington visits Tampa Bay, New Orleans is the first opponent for the Tennessee Oilers, Jim Fassel makes his coaching debut as the New York Giants visit Baltimore, Pittsburgh is at Kansas City, Arizona visits Seattle and San Francisco is at San Diego.

On Sunday, Carolina plays Jacksonville in a matchup of the expansion teams that reached the playoffs last season and Oakland is at Dallas.

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