Dolphins QB Dan Marino will miss two to three weeks because of a flare-up of a disk in his neck, according to a broadcast report. Fox Sports News, citing unidentified Dolphins sources, said Marino's malady was triggered by the bone spur in his lower neck which has idled him for two weeks.

Marino was in Los Angeles to meet with Robert Watkins for a second opinion on his condition. Watkins has operated on the backs of QBs Troy Aikman, Joe Montana and, more recently, Steve McNair. According to Fox, no surgery is required but Marino will be out until at least Nov. 14, when Miami plays Buffalo.

HANIFAN HOSPITALIZED: Rams OL coach Jim Hanifan, a former coach with the Redskins, was hospitalized after complaining of chest pains. Hanifan, 66, was taken to Missouri Baptist Hospital as a precautionary measure about 9 p.m., team spokesman Rick Smith said. Hanifan was in good condition late last night, said hospital spokesman Jeff Waldman. . . .

Meanwhile, Dick Vermeil is talking retirement, but not immediately. The Rams' head coach plans to honor his contract, which runs through the 2001 season, then retire.

After struggling to 5-11 and 4-12 records in Vermeil's first two seasons in St. Louis, the Rams are 6-0, and the NFL's only undefeated team. Still, the 62-year-old Vermeil says he'll have no problem walking away if the program is successful at the end of his contract.

"If the program is running real good, I'll feel I've accomplished something," Vermeil said Monday. "But that's a long ways away from right now. I've seen playoff coaches get fired the next year."