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Bledsoe Takes Leap Off Nightclub Stage

From Wire Reports

Drew Bledsoe and two of his New England Patriots teammates jumped from a nightclub stage, leaving a female patron injured when struck by offensive lineman Max Lane, according to sources.

The woman was hospitalized after the incident at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Thursday night, three days before the Patriots, tied for the AFC East lead, face the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.

Bledsoe, Lane and backup quarterback Scott Zolak were invited on stage by the group Everclear, and the players leaped into the crowd, sources said. The patron’s injuries reportedly were caused by Lane.

Lane had no comment, WBZ-TV reported.

The woman, who was not identified, was in stable condition at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston with neck, shoulder and arm injuries, WBZ said. Police questioned her there Friday night, according to several broadcast reports.

Bledsoe, the AFC’s second-ranked quarterback, Lane and Zolak attended practice Friday, and the Patriots looked into the incident in which, the team said, none of the players was injured.

The team has no midweek curfew for players.

“Drew went to a concert and, following the custom of his generation, he jumped into the crowd,” said Leigh Steinberg, the agent for Bledsoe, 25. “I’d prefer he not jump off stages… . I don’t think it’s something you’ll see again soon.”

Seahawks may lose Ballard

Earlier this week, the Seahawks unofficially selected right tackle Howard “House” Ballard as their winner of the Ed Block Award for courage.

Ballard hasn’t missed a snap this season despite a knee injury that makes walking a challenge. He may have to miss Sunday’s Seahawks game against the New Orleans Saints because of a hairline fracture found in his right forearm.

Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson listed Ballard as “very doubtful” Friday and let Grant Williams handle the right tackle job in practice. The Seahawks won’t know until gametime whether Ballard will be able to play.

“It’s not a total break; it’s a hairline fracture on a non-weightbearing bone,” Erickson said. “It was high on the forearm. It happened on an inside run, just a freak accident.”

Ballard has started 154 consecutive games.

Payton denies interest in Bears

Reports that a celebrity triumvirate of Walter Payton, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan plan to buy the Chicago Bears just aren’t true, Payton said.

And a Bears spokesman said the team isn’t up for sale.

“I’m not looking in the very near future to be the owner of a football team,” Payton said Friday after the Chicago Sun-Times cited unidentified sources saying a deal was in the works. “At this point, I have not discussed this with anyone in Michael’s camp or Oprah’s camp. I don’t know how this got started.”

Winfrey and Jordan also denied the report.

Chargers sign Weldon

The San Diego Chargers could be in deep trouble if quarterback Craig Whelihan gets knocked out of Sunday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Next up would be Todd Philcox, who hasn’t taken a regular-season snap since 1993. The third-string quarterback is now Casey Weldon, who said he’s been keeping busy in Tallahassee, Fla., playing with a flag football team representing his father’s construction company, plus in a game of Florida State alumni versus a German team.

Cafe asks Cowboys to lift ban

Business is down $50,000 a month at Cowboy’s Sports Cafe in Irving, Texas, since Jerry Jones banned Dallas Cowboys players from the eatery, the restaurant’s owners say. Now those owners - including former Cowboys’ players Tony Dorsett and Everson Walls - are pleading with Jones to lift the ban before the matter heads to court.

As recently as last week, cafe owners had hoped to resolve the matter with Jones without filing a lawsuit. Forty-five minutes before the owners planned to remove the Cowboy’s sign as part of a tentative agreement, the deal fell apart, they said.

Dorsett said the ban is unfairly singling out the restaurant and hurting his business.

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