NFL special master Stephen B. Burbank ruled yesterday that the Quincy Carter case does not fall under his jurisdiction, leaving the players association to refile the case with an arbitrator as a non-injury grievance.

The union is charging the Dallas Cowboys with wrongful termination for releasing Carter on Aug. 4. The union filed the case with Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania law professor in charge of resolving disputes stemming from the league's collective bargaining agreement. The league and the Cowboys argued that the case did not belong before Burbank, and prevailed.

The league and the Cowboys also seem to believe that the case is irrelevant now that Carter has signed with the New York Jets, but the union is intent upon continuing to pursue the matter. The union was prepared to seek lost pay and possible reinstatement from Burbank. It maintains that lost pay is still an issue and reinstatement still could be an option because Carter signed only a one-year contract with the Jets and his contract with the Cowboys was to run through the 2005 season.

The union also wants to investigate the initial reports that Carter failed a drug test administered by the Cowboys. Individual teams are prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement from conducting drug tests. Cowboys officials have told representatives of the league that they do not administer drug tests to their players.

* COWBOYS 24, CHIEFS 20: As much as Bill Parcells liked what his backups did, his starters left plenty to be desired in Dallas's preseason finale in Irving, Tex.

Vinny Testaverde could've had as many interceptions as completions and Eddie George had more carries than yards. Then Tony Romo led the Cowboys on three straight scoring drives and the defense made it hold up in the fourth quarter.

Even in defeat, Chiefs Coach Dick Vermeil had to feel good because his starters and their top backups performed well. It was the players lower on the depth chart who let Dallas (3-1) rally and failed to do the same for Kansas City (1-3).

* PANTHERS 16, STEELERS 13: Rod Rutherford's 57-yard completion to Eugene Baker in the fourth quarter set up John Kasay's third field goal, and Carolina won in Pittsburgh to finish its second consecutive unbeaten preseason.

The Panthers are hoping there is some precedence there as both they and the New England Patriots went unbeaten in exhibition play last year before winding up in the Super Bowl.

* LIONS 20, BILLS 17: Drew Bledsoe led Buffalo's first-string offense to its only touchdown of the preseason, three Detroit defensive backs were hurt and the Lions won at home.

Lions safety Brock Marion (bruised right knee), cornerback Fernando Bryant (neck stinger) and cornerback Rod Babers (shoulder) left the game with injuries.

* JAGUARS 31, PATRIOTS 0: Quinn Gray threw three touchdown passes in the final eight minutes and Jacksonville ended host New England's poor exhibition season.

If there was any consolation for the Super Bowl champs, they played without most of their first-stringers, including quarterback Tom Brady.

Still, the Jaguars, who ended their exhibition season at 3-1, got much better performances from their backups after starting quarterback Byron Leftwich played just three series, going 4 for 8 for 24 yards.