TESTAVERDE OUT: Criticized for giving up a No. 1 draft choice (in 1992) for a backup quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to cash in on their investment a little sooner than anticipated as Chris Chandler will start Sunday against San Diego.

Acquired from Indianapolis in the preseason, Chandler will start for the Buccaneers as Vinny Testaverde, the NFL's third-rated passer, rests a recurring turf toe on his left foot. . . .

The Chargers may activate LB Billy Ray Smith and OL Joel Patten from IR for Sunday's game with Tampa Bay. H-back Joe Caravello is expected to miss rest of season with dislocated knee cap.

GROGAN RETURNS: QB Steve Grogan, 37, who has missed four games with a neck injury, will replace Marc Wilson Sunday when the 1-5 New England Patriots meet the 5-1 Bills.

TAYLOR HURTING: The 49ers downgraded the status of WR John Taylor to doubtful for Sunday's game against Cleveland. Taylor sprained a ligament in his right knee in the 49ers' 27-7 victory over Pittsburgh last week.

STARTING AGAIN: Two-time Pro Bowl RB Rueben Mayes, who missed last season with Achilles' tendon surgery, will make his first start since 1988 against Detroit Sunday.

Dalton Hilliard, who replaced Mayes and was picked to the Pro Bowl last season, is expected to miss three weeks with a knee injury.

LIONS HEALTHIER: Starting for Detroit this week will be QB Rodney Peete, who missed the last three games, and DB Bennie Blades and LB Chris Spielman, each of whom has been on the injured list the past four weeks.

MOVES: The Eagles signed free agent RB Thomas Sanders and placed RB Robert Drummond on injured reserve. . . . The Patriots re-signed RB Marvin Allen, who was cut in preseason, and put OL David Douglas on IR. . . . Houston signed former Patriots K Teddy Garcia to replace Tony Zendejas (broken leg).