The short, troubled NFL career of Ryan Leaf hit a new low yesterday when he was suspended for four weeks without pay and fined a week's salary for what teammates said was an obscenity-laced tirade at GM Bobby Beathard and other Chargers personnel.
The Chargers wouldn't disclose the reason for the disciplinary action against Leaf, who's coming off shoulder surgery and was expected to be in playing shape in three to four weeks.
However, players and others in the organization, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Leaf yelled at Beathard and members of the strength and conditioning staff, apparently over a workout he was asked to do.
The blowup came before a team meeting Monday, a day after San Diego's 34-0 loss at Kansas City. Coach Mike Riley and some players witnessed part of the exchange.
"We can't tolerate the undermining of discipline that's set for this team," Beathard said at a news conference. "It's something that we discussed, and to the man felt that it was something we could not avoid. It was an action we had to take."
The suspension, the maximum allowed under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, began yesterday. Leaf's base salary is $250,000, so with the suspension and fine, he'll lose about $73,530.
MIRER TO START: With Ray Lucas still nursing a sore left ankle, Jets Coach Bill Parcells will have Rick Mirer start at quarterback Sunday against Arizona.
The decision to start Mirer, 1-4 in place of injured starter Vinny Testaverde, was more a matter of necessity than desire.
"I watched [Lucas] last week, and I don't think Ray could have played Sunday," Parcells said. "Based on what I saw last week, there won't be any choice in the matter."
The Jets (1-6), who were off last weekend, resumed workouts yesterday following a three-day break.
Lucas, the starter Oct. 17 in a 16-13 loss to the Colts, badly sprained an ankle when sacked on the final play and hasn't played since. He was 16 of 30 for 137 yards with a touchdown and interception in his only action of the season.
Lucas practiced last week, and was scheduled to go through full workouts yesterday through Friday. P Tom Tupa serves as the Jets' third quarterback.