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Browns WR plays joke

BEREA, Ohio — Chad Johnson played his idea of a sick joke on the Cleveland Browns.

The Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver, known for his quick feet and bold predictions, sent each of Cleveland's four defensive backs a package containing a handwritten note and a bottle of medicine to settle an upset stomach.

"I think some of the guys are taking it personal," said Browns cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, who got a good laugh out of Johnson's gesture. "But I think for the most part, he is not an in-your-face guy. He just likes to have fun. He enjoys playing football. He's a jokester."

At 2-3 and coming off a 34-23 loss to Pittsburgh, the Browns already are feeling queasy enough about their season. They host Cincinnati on Sunday and might not find the joke especially funny.

But that wasn't going to stop Johnson, who smiled when asked about his prank on the Browns. He said he simply wanted to "cure them of their sickness" and suggested "they're going to get tired of covering me."

Inside McCutcheon's box, Johnson tossed in a note that said: "Daylon, Just wanted to add a little color and relief to your week. All the best, Chad."

Anthony Henry, Robert Griffith and Earl Little also received FedEx deliveries from Johnson. The fourth-year wideout personalized each package, signing the notes and including his No. 85 next to his signature.

DOLPHINS SIGN KICKER: Kicker Matt Bryant signed Wednesday with the Miami Dolphins and is expected to play Sunday at Buffalo in place of Olindo Mare, who is sidelined with an injured right calf. Bryant kicked for the Indianapolis Colts last week, then was released Monday after one game with the team. He spent his first two NFL seasons with the New York Giants in 2002-03 and was in the Dallas Cowboys' training camp this summer.

Mare aggravated his injury warming up for last Sunday's game at New England. Rookie kick returner Wes Welker kicked a PAT and a field goal as an emergency replacement and was chosen AFC special teams player of the week.

JETS' MOSS QUESTIONABLE: Jets receiver Santana Moss is questionable for Sunday's game against San Francisco with a strained right hamstring. Moss was hurt against Buffalo last weekend, but coach Herman Edwards said after the game that he had cramps. Moss, who had a breakout season in 2003 with 10 touchdown receptions, has 11 catches for 231 yards and no touchdowns this season. He didn't practice Wednesday.

WASHINGTON SIGNS DB: With safety Matt Bowen out for the season with a knee injury, the Washington Redskins signed five-year veteran Pat Dennis on Wednesday. Dennis spent the last three seasons with Houston, but he hasn't played a game since October 2002 because of injuries. Even so, Dennis instantly becomes by far the most experienced safety on the Redskins roster. He has 13 career NFL starts, all with Kansas City. That's more than the other active Washington safeties — Sean Taylor, Todd Franz, Andre Lott and Ryan Clark — have combined.

QB CHANGES FOR COLTS: The Indianapolis Colts signed quarterback Travis Brown to their practice squad Wednesday and released former Georgia Tech star Joe Hamilton. Brown spent the last three seasons with Buffalo before reaching an injury settlement with the Bills in September. The agreement allowed Brown to become a free agent.

Colts coach Tony Dungy said the move was made because the team believed Brown was healthy, bigger and stronger than Hamilton, who started the season as the Colts' top backup to Peyton Manning. Rookie Jim Sorgi, who has not played this season, is the only other quarterback on the Colts roster.

GIANTS INK PAIR: Linebacker T.J. Hollowell and running back Derrick Ward signed with the New York Giants on Wednesday. To make room on their roster, the Giants (4-1) placed receiver Tim Carter and linebacker Wes Mallard on injured reserve. Carter fractured a hip socket in Sunday's win over the Dallas Cowboys. Mallard injured a knee in practice last week.

PACKERS ASSISTANT HAS SURGERY: Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley underwent emergency heart surgery to clear at least one blocked artery.

"He's fine, everything went well," Green Bay coach Mike Sherman said Wednesday. "He's at home right now, will probably come in tomorrow."

Rossley, 58, reported to work Tuesday, hours after the Packers' 48-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and said he hadn't been feeling well overnight, Sherman said. He went to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, where tests determined he needed an immediate angioplasty.

Rossley's illness put another scare into the Packers, whose personnel department has lost two members in the last four months. Mark Hatley, vice president of football operations, died of a heart attack at age 54 in July, and John "Red" Cochran, a scout and former NFL player and assistant coach, died of heart failure at 82 in September following hip replacement surgery.