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Thin at QB, Niners sign Jesse Palmer

San Francisco 49ers: Reduced to one healthy quarterback, the 49ers on Tuesday signed veteran free agent Jesse Palmer, who played four seasons for the New York Giants before he was released this summer.

Contract details were not yet available, but it is likely that Palmer signed a one-year deal for the minimum base salary of $540,000, prorated over the balance of this season. Team sources said that Palmer would likely spend three or four weeks on the roster, or until the injured quarterbacks are recovered.

Rookie Alex Smith, the top overall selection in the 2005 draft, is battling a sprained right knee. Backup Ken Dorsey, who started last week's game, has a left ankle injury and is in a walking boot. San Francisco may be forced to start Cody Pickett, who finished up last Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay, in this weekend's game against the New York Giants. He would be the fourth different starter employed by San Francisco this season.

Coach Mike Nolan is expected to decide on a quarterback, with the odds heavily favoring Pickett, who has never made a regular-season start, on Wednesday.

Palmer, 27, appeared in eight games, with three starts, in four seasons with the Giants, and was arguably more celebrated for starring in the reality series "The Bachelor" on ABC than for anything he accomplished on the field. He completed 63 of 120 passes for 562 yards, with three touchdown passes and four interceptions. All but four attempts came in the 2003 season, when he started in place of the injured Kerry Collins.

Most recently, Palmer, a former University of Florida player chosen by the Giants in the fourth round of the 2001 draft, auditioned for the Tampa Bay Bucs after starter Brian Griese was injured. Tampa Bay traded for San Francisco's Tim Rattay, however, instead of signing Palmer.

--Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com

San Diego Chargers:
The sister of San Diego Chargers linebacker Randall Godfrey was found fatally shot in her car after a wreck following a chase by her former boyfriend, police said.

Deidre Miller, 29, may have been shot prior to the chase, which ended when her car ran into a clump of trees two houses from her home in northern Lowndes County, sheriff's detective Wanda Edwards said.

Authorities were searching for Julonda Lecedrick Clayton, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla.

Edwards said Clayton dropped off Miller's 4-year-old son at his daycare center, and the child told daycare workers that Clayton shot his mother.

Godfrey, who played at the University of Georgia, was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. He also has played for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans and is in his second year with the Chargers.

Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston said Godfrey had been informed. "He's aware and he has gone to be with his family," Johnston told
The Associated Press.

Miller picked up her son from her mother's house Tuesday morning to take him to daycare. The child was in the car during the chase.

Edwards said it appeared Miller sped out of her driveway and Clayton followed. She could have been trying to drive through a clearing in a neighbor's yard, the detective said.

Detroit Lions:
The Lions signed linebacker Nate Wayne to a one-year contract.

Wayne signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on May 16 after he was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Jacksonville released him in September.

In 85 games over seven NFL seasons, the 6-foot, 237-pound linebacker had 545 total tackles, including 352 solo tackles and 16 sacks. Before playing with the Eagles, Wayne played in Denver and Green Bay.

The Lions also signed wide receiver Glenn Martinez to the practice squad and released wide receiver Adam Herzing from the practice squad.

Martinez has been active for two games with the Lions this season and caught one pass for 11 yards.

New England Patriots:
Shy of healthy running backs, the Patriots have reached a contract accord with veteran free agent fullback Heath Evans, released by the Miami Dolphins last week. Evans is expected to sign a one-year contract.

The fifth-year veteran started all three games this year in which Miami used a formation that included a fullback. A former third-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks (2001), Evans played his first four seasons in Seattle before departing for Miami in free agency.

Corey Dillon, the Patriots' starting tailback, is nursing a sore ankle. Backups Patrick Pass (hamstring) and Amos Zereoue (thigh) also are ailing. Kevin Faulk, the Pats' standout third-down tailback, has missed been out more than a month with a foot injury.

In six games this season, Evans, 26, carried just once, for no yards. He had four catches for 17 yards. The Dolphins told Evans that he was being released, in part, because of injuries at other positions. For his career, the former Auburn standout had only 34 carries for 108 yards and also 16 receptions for 104 yards. He has yet to score his first regular-season touchdown. There is a chance, because of the injuries, that Evans could dress for next Monday's home game against the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts.

--Len Pasquarelli

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns released veteran tight end Billy Miller, who did not catch a pass in three games with the team.

Miller was signed by the Browns one week before the start of the regular season because Steve Heiden was the only healthy tight end
on the roster. Aaron Shea returned from a strained chest muscle
last month and Miller has seen little action since.

Miller had 114 receptions for 1,212 yards and seven touchdowns in six seasons with Denver and Houston. He was Houston's leading receiver in 2002, catching 51 passes for 613 yards and three touchdowns.

Seattle Seahawks:
Defensive end Bryce Fisher strode confidently into the room, wearing his blue uniform.

This time the helmet and shoulder pads were missing, replaced by captain's bars and a white shirt with a navy tie.

Fisher spent Tuesday, his day off from his role as a Seahawks' starter, taking the oath of office as a captain in the Washington
Air National Guard.

The induction ceremony was part of Fisher's nine-year service requirement in the reserves or National Guard. He is a 1999 graduate of the Air Force Academy.

Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals re-signed wide receiver Reggie Newhouse and released cornerback Dyshod Carter.

The Cardinals released Newhouse on Sept. 3 in the team's final roster cut. He played in three games for Arizona last season with one reception for five yards.

The move coincides with the uncertain status of wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Boldin left Sunday's loss in Dallas with a right knee injury. An MRI showed it was a bone bruise, rather than a more serious injury the Cardinals had feared. Still, it was not known whether he would be able to play Sunday against Seattle.

In another move, the team released safety Adrian Mayes from injured reserve.

New York Giants: Football players will trade their playbooks for cookbooks at the Giants' cooking competition at ESPN Zone in Manhattan.

Teams of three Giants players will be joined Tuesday by a chef to help them prepare dishes such as penne shrimp scampi and Southwest blackened chicken salad. They'll have 30 minutes to cook the meals, which teammates will judge on presentation, taste and creativity.

Participants will include starters Nick Greisen, Kareem McKenzie, Corey Webster, David Diehl, Barrett Green, Shaun O'Hara and teammates Adrian Awasom, Justin Tuck, Michael Jennings and Kenderick Allen.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals waived guard Steven Vieira, leaving him eligible to fill an open spot on Cincinnati's practice squad.

Vieira, an undrafted rookie from UCLA, severely sprained his
foot during minicamp in April and went on the physically unable to
perform list. He was waived Tuesday, a day after being activated.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.