LONG OUT: Just when the Los Angeles Raiders appeared to be on their way back from a dismal four years, they lost one of their best players -- defensive end Howie Long -- for a minimum of six weeks.
The Raiders placed Long, a six-time Pro Bowl player, on injured reserve yesterday because of a broken toe suffered during the Raiders' 17-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday at The Kingdome.
With Long leading the way, the Raiders' defense has held its two opponents this season -- Denver and Seattle -- to a total of 22 points.
Long's place on the Raiders' 47-man active roster was immediately taken by quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who had been exempt for two weeks following a contract dispute that encompassed all of training camp.
IT'S THE PITTS: Philadelphia starting left defensive tackle Mike Pitts will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and will miss four to six weeks.
Surgery was scheduled for Wednesday. Pitts hurt the knee in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Phoenix. . . .
Detroit linebacker Chris Spielman will be out two to four weeks and two other top defensive players will miss the Tampa Bay game Sunday.
Free safety Bennie Blades is expected to miss at least two weeks with an injured left knee and nose tackle Jerry Ball has soreness in his back and ankle.
Spielman, who has had shoulder trouble since the start of training camp, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Wednesday at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital. . . .
Linebacker Billy Ray Smith has suffered a stomach muscle pull and will be sidelined for at least a month, San Diego Chargers Coach Dan Henning said.
In another personnel matter, Henning said he has told kicker Fuad Reveiz he will be fired unless his accuracy improves soon, as in the Chargers' next game, Sunday in Cleveland.
"It is a do or die week," Henning said.
SINGLETON READY: The New England Patriots activated rookie linebacker Chris Singleton, their top draft choice who held out and did not sign until Sept. 3, and placed safety Tony Zackery (dislocated right shoulder) on injured reserve.
HEBERT RETURN?: New Orleans Saints General Manager Jim Finks said he isn't ready to give away no-show quarterback Bobby Hebert or give up on Hebert's replacement, John Fourcade.
Fourcade has completed 21 of 57 passes in two games for 335 yards, no touchdowns and six interceptions. The Saints lost to San Francisco in their opener, 13-12, and to Minnesota Sunday, 32-3.
Hebert was benched for the final three games of the 1989 season after he went into a slump and the Saints were virtually eliminated from playoff contention. Fourcade led the Saints to victory in those three games as the team finished 9-7.
When the season was over, Hebert said he wouldn't sign a contract with the Saints and demanded to be traded.
GLANVILLE WARNED: Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has warned Atlanta Falcons Coach Jerry Glanville that he will be fined if he continues criticizing opposing coaches.
Glanville, the former Houston coach, called Oilers Coach Jack Pardee "a total jerk" after the Falcons' 47-27 victory over Houston on Sept. 9. He also made a flippant remark to a group of Texas sports writers after declining to answer their questions. . . .
Tagliabue met yesterday with Eric Dickerson and Indianapolis Colts General Manager Jim Irsay, but didn't make an immediate decision on the running back's suspension.