- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - To the fake handoff and fake field goals, add fake injuries. The NFL sent a memo Wednesday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game. Yet several players admit its an accepted practice, and some coaches hinted they are not above condoning phony injuries if it provides a competitive edge.

“I’ve been places where it has been (taught),” said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players’ union executive committee. “They have a name for it and I’ve been places where it’s been pre-called. I’ve been places where it’s one player who has been designated. Maybe I’m getting everyone in trouble, but I’m just being honest.”

In the memo obtained by The Associated Press, the NFL reminded teams of league policy that calls on coaches to discourage the practice. There is no specific rule on the topic.

Nonetheless, two days after there was speculation the Giants’ Deon Grant faked an injury against the Rams during Monday night’s game, the NFL is warning of disciplinary action.

“It’s always been in the game,” Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed said. “It’s all tactical stuff you need to use. Whatever it takes. … If you’re tired, you’re tired. You get a break however you can.”

Added 49ers running back Frank Gore: “Hey, I feel if it helps, do it. I’m bound to do it. Whatever it takes to win …”

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Tuesday the team notified the league office that it suspected the Giants were feigning injuries in St. Louis’ 28-16 loss. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said it was obvious the Giants were just buying time with St. Louis running a no-huddle offense.

“They couldn’t get subbed, they couldn’t line up,” Bradford said. “Someone said, ‘Someone go down, someone go down,’ so someone just went down and grabbed a cramp.”

Grant was adamant about not having faked anything.

“I could see if I was walking and fell,” he said Wednesday, speaking passionately and barely taking a breath. “When you see after I made that tackle and bang my knee on that play, you see me bending my knee as I am walking. … (Teammate Justin) Tuck is walking behind me and saying ‘D don’t run off the field. Just go down.’ As I am walking, they line up, and knowing that I can’t get back in my position because of the knee injury, I went down.”

Had Grant attempted to get off the field, it could have left the Giants a defender short when the ball was snapped. Of course, New York also could have called a timeout, a course of action teams might need to use in the future.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was coy about the tactic when asked if he ever instructed a defense to do it.

“I can’t say I have,” Shanahan said before pausing. “But I won’t say I haven’t, either.”

Then he smiled.

“It happens all the time, and warnings will come out,” he added, “and it’s happened again.”

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