Antonio Gates didn't meet the San Diego Chargers' ultimatum to sign a contract by yesterday afternoon, meaning the defending AFC West champions will be without their all-pro tight end for at least the season opener against Dallas.

In an attempt to break an impasse in negotiations, the Chargers ordered Gates to show up by yesterday afternoon and sign a contract. Gates's agent and the Chargers continued to negotiate up to the 12:30 p.m. deadline, but failed to agree on a multiyear deal. Gates has refused to sign the $380,000, one-year contract the team tendered him as an exclusive-rights free agent.

Once Gates does sign a contract, he will be put on the roster exempt list, automatically triggering a three-game suspension, which includes the Chargers' final two preseason games.

* TITANS: The NFL suspended left tackle Brad Hopkins for the season opener after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife.

Hopkins had expected the punishment from the league after he grabbed his wife's neck because she wouldn't stop talking on a cell phone in March.

The league notified Hopkins of his suspension Friday before the Titans' preseason game in Atlanta. He will sit out the game against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

"We anticipated it based on like circumstances over the last few years," Coach Jeff Fisher said yesterday.

* COWBOYS: Nose tackle Jason Ferguson has reinjured his right ankle and will miss another preseason game. Ferguson missed the opener with a sprain, but returned to practice this week and was expected to play tomorrow night in Seattle.

* BROWNS 21, LIONS 13: In Detroit, former Michigan star Braylon Edwards leapt over a defender for a go-ahead, seven-yard touchdown reception with 54 seconds left, lifting Cleveland in his professional debut.

Cleveland's secondary took another hit when cornerback Gary Baxter left with a concussion.

* BILLS 27, PACKERS 7: Quarterback J.P. Losman, who has replaced Drew Bledsoe as the Bills' starter, engineered scoring drives on each of his first three possessions to lead Buffalo in Orchard Park, N.Y.

* JAGUARS 20, BUCCANEERS 17: Jacksonville won in Tampa, but Buccaneers fans left reasonably happy after getting their first close-up view of rookie running back Carnell Williams (five carries, 13 yards) who is the new centerpiece of Jon Gruden's offense.

* GIANTS 27, PANTHERS 21: Inserted into the first unit after an injury to starter Will Peterson, top draft pick Corey Webster had an interception and a fumble recovery as host New York forced five turnovers and snapped Carolina's 10-game preseason win streak.

Eli Manning threw two long scoring passes to overcome a subpar performance by the Giants' first-team offense and defense, both of which were pushed around by the Panthers in the first half.

* TEXANS 19, RAIDERS 17: Doug Gabriel scored two first-quarter touchdowns and the Raiders' starting offense moved the ball at will in the first half before the Texans rallied to win in Houston. Kris Brown kicked a pair of fourth-quarter field goals of 53 and 46 yards. The winner came with eight seconds left.

* STEELERS 17, DOLPHINS 3: Miami lost five fumbles in the first half and seven overall in a miserably played game, preseason or not, and the Steelers had just enough offense to capitalize in Pittsburgh.

James Harrison scored on a 69-yard return of quarterback Gus Frerotte's fumble in the first quarter for the Steelers' fourth return touchdown in two preseason games.

* BEARS 24, COLTS 17: Adrian Peterson and Antoineo Harris each ran for a touchdown, Chicago returned a punt for another touchdown and Indianapolis's high-scoring offense never got in sync as the Bears won on the road.

* CARDINALS 24, CHIEFS 17: Josh McCown threw two touchdown passes in the second half in relief of Kurt Warner to rally Arizona on the road. Damon Huard, who replaced Trent Green for Kansas City, was 1 for 12 for 11 yards and two interceptions.

* BRONCOS 26, 49ERS 21: In Denver, Jake Plummer completed 7 of 9 passes for 95 yards and a score to lift the Broncos to 10 early points en route to a win.