Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson will have surgery on his injured back today and miss all of training camp and probably the start of the regular season.
Woodson, 35, visited a doctor yesterday, and the decision was made to perform surgery to remove a herniated disk. He will be sidelined six to eight weeks, a period that extends past the Cowboys' regular season opener Sept. 12 at Minnesota.
Woodson, going into his 13th season, is the team's career tackles leader with 1,350 and the only remaining player who was part of all three Super Bowl wins by the Cowboys in the 1990s.
The Cowboys, meantime, released defensive tackle Willie Blade and tight end James Whalen.
In addition, wide receiver Antonio Bryant had a clear-the-air meeting with Coach Bill Parcells; it was their first get-together since a practice-field confrontation last month in which Bryant threw a jersey at Parcells's face. The team plans to keep Bryant on its roster heading into training camp.
* STEELERS: Pittsburgh announced that Coach Bill Cowher signed a two-year contract extension running through the 2007 season.
Cowher, 47, is the longest-tenured coach in the NFL. He has led the Steelers to 115 regular season victories, four AFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance, but they were 6-10 last season and missed the playoffs. The Steelers have had only two coaches -- Chuck Noll and Cowher -- in 35 years.
* RAVENS: Wide receiver Devard Darling, selected in the third round out of Washington State, signed a three-year contract. Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, the Ravens' top draft pick (second round, 51st overall, from Oregon State), agreed to a five-year contract, and linebacker Roderick Green, a fifth-round pick out of Central Missouri State, agreed to a three-year deal.
* TEXANS: Safety Marcus Coleman was convicted of a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.
After deliberating nearly seven hours over two days, a Houston jury concluded Coleman was driving while intoxicated when he crashed his car in May. The jury will begin considering his punishment today. Coleman faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
* VIKINGS: Defensive end Kenny Mixon has been suspended for two games by the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy, according to sources familiar with the situation. Mixon is appealing the suspension, and a decision is expected before the start of the regular season.
Mixon was suspended after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in November, his third such arrest in 16 months.
* BENGALS: Cincinnati claimed punter Eddie Johnson off waivers from Minnesota.
* SUSPENDED: Defensive tackle Darrell Russell, who was released two weeks ago by Tampa Bay, was indefinitely suspended by the NFL after testing positive for drugs. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Russell, who spent part of last season with Washington after he was reinstated by the NFL after a 11/2-year suspension for a second violation of its substance abuse policy, can apply for reinstatement after eight games.
Staff writers Mark Maske and Camille Powell contributed to this report.