- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2009

From combined dispatches

The NFL is partnering with Boston University brain researchers who have been critical of the league’s stance on concussions, the Associated Press learned Sunday.

The league now plans to encourage current and former NFL players to agree to donate their brains to the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has said it found links between repeated head trauma and brain damage in boxers, football players and, most recently, a former NHL player.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP on Sunday that the league also is committed to giving $1 million or more to the center.

BROWNS: Joshua Cribbs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against Kansas City, breaking and then extending the NFL career record.

After his 100-yard return in the first quarter broke the league record, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound veteran sped 103 yards in the second quarter.

His first return of the day was the seventh of his five-year career and broke the record he had shared with five others.

Cribbs came into the season with five touchdown returns of kickoffs and had a 98-yard return against Pittsburgh on Oct. 18.

Cribbs had been tied with Dante Hall, Gale Sayers, Mel Gray, Travis Williams and Ollie Matson.

The two returns in a game tied the league record.

DOLPHINS: Running back Ricky Williams reached 1,000 yards rushing for this season on his fifth carry Sunday against Tennessee, setting an NFL record for the longest span between 1,000-yard seasons at six years.

Williams’ last 1,000-yard season came in 2003. He got to 1,000 yards on a 15-yard carry. This marks the fifth 1,000-yard rushing season of his career.

He also became only the seventh running back in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season in which he was 32 or older at the start of the season.

BEARS: General manager Jerry Angelo said the fate of coach Lovie Smith has not yet been decided.

Before the game against the Ravens, Angelo shot down a report from Comcast SportsNet Chicago on Friday that cited unnamed sources saying Smith would return for the next to last year of his contract in 2010.

A review of Smith will be conducted after the Bears finish the season against Minnesota and Detroit.

“At the end of the year, we sit down, we talk,” Angelo said.

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