- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Orleans tight end Billy Miller said Friday that he tore his right Achilles tendon during the Saints’ final preseason game Thursday night against Miami, likely ending his 10th season before it started.

Miller suffered the injury during the second quarter while running a pass route. He said it felt as if someone kicked him in the back of his right foot. When he looked around, no one was there, and he knew it was serious.

Miller said he expects to have surgery as soon as Monday.

“I think it’s an opportunity to get completely healthy,” Miller said. “I was battling a knee [injury], and now I’ve got this. I’ll take care of what needs to be taken care of and come back to help this team win back-to-back Super Bowls.”

Miller, 32, said the thought of his career being over “does not creep in my mind at all.”

Last season, Miller caught 45 passes for 579 yards and one touchdown. He was more productive than the more recognizable Jeremy Shockey in 2008 - Shockey caught 50 passes for 483 yards and no scores.

PATRIOTS: Undrafted rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer is Tom Brady’s only backup - at least for now.

New England trimmed its quarterbacks to two by releasing Andrew Walter. Signed by the Patriots on Aug. 3, four days after he was waived by Oakland, Walter appeared to have made the team as Brady’s backup when the club let go of Kevin O’Connell earlier in the week.

Hoyer, a free agent from Michigan State, played the entire game in New England’s 38-27 comeback win over the New York Giants on Thursday night.

BEARS: Running back Kevin Jones will miss the season after tearing ligaments in his left ankle in the preseason finale Thursday against Cleveland.

Plagued by injuries in Detroit and barely able to play in his first season in Chicago, Jones was expected to have a bigger role alongside Matt Forte.

VIKINGS: Quarterback Brett Favre was fined $10,000 by the NFL for his crack-back block on Houston defensive back Eugene Wilson in a preseason game.

The play happened Monday night at Houston in Favre’s first extensive action since he signed with the Vikings on Aug. 18.

The 39-year-old lined up at receiver in Minnesota’s version of the Wildcat offense. Rookie receiver Percy Harvin took the snap and started running around the left end in Favre’s direction. Despite playing with sore ribs, the quarterback crouched and threw his body at Wilson’s legs to cut him down.

STEELERS: Coach Mike Tomlin held a team meeting with the players on his season-opening 53-man roster. What he wouldn’t say afterward was who was there - or who wasn’t.

The Steelers’ final 22 cuts won’t be announced until Saturday, when all NFL teams must firm up their 53-man rosters.

The Steelers cut their roster a day earlier than most teams because they open the season Thursday against Tennessee, which also didn’t announce its cuts.

BRONCOS: Denver got a head start on cuts, releasing nine players, including quarterback Ingle Martin.

The team also placed guard Matt McChesney on the reserve/injured list with a sprained ankle.

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