Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz will not be suspended by Coach Lovie Smith for breaking teammate Fred Miller's jaw in a fight last week.
The players admitted yesterday they had fought. Smith, unhappy he wasn't told the truth about what happened until late last week, said he won't suspend the players but will discipline them. He wouldn't be specific, but fines are expected.
Miller needed surgery last week after initially saying he hurt his jaw in a fall at his home last Monday.
"We're disappointed -- and I really found this out later on in the week -- we're disappointed in the fact we weren't told right away," Smith said yesterday.
"But you know when you have a season going like this, guys like to protect the team as much as possible and that's what happened."
Miller and Kreutz came to the Bears' locker room yesterday -- it is often not open after the team wins the previous day -- made statements and took a few questions about the incident.
"We realize it was something very stupid on both of our parts and it's not going to happen again," Miller said as he apologized to his family, his teammates and Kreutz.
Details of the fight were not clear, and neither Kreutz nor Miller would provide them. They came forward with their admission after reports came out Sunday saying Miller's broken jaw did not come from a fall.
"I found out about it later in the week on the weekend and I started dealing with it then," Smith said. "Guys make mistakes and sometimes you say things to try to cover up something, and in the end most of the time the truth comes out. Which it did. Now we're admitting the truth of what happened and we're going from there."
Miller missed Sunday's game against the 49ers, ending a stretch of 110 straight starts dating from 1998. He will also be sidelined this Sunday when Carolina visits Soldier Field. John St. Clair will start again in his place.
Kreutz, a four-time Pro Bowl center, said: "Things got out of hand. Something happened and it just got out of hand."
Kreutz, who is 6 feet 2 and 292 pounds, and the 6-7, 320-pound Miller, a tackle, said they talked after the altercation.
"I don't know if it will ever be completely gone, you know, but we're over it," Kreutz said. "The team is the number one thing and we're going to try to move on."
* BENSON SIDELINED INDEFINITELY: Cedric Benson, Chicago's top draft pick, will be out an undetermined time, perhaps a month, after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during Sunday's game against the 49ers.
Smith, the Bears' coach, said yesterday he expects Benson to play again this season.
"It looked a lot worse than it was," Smith said. "I'll say that. . . . We think right now it's week-to-week. Hopefully, we'll get him back before long. We don't know exactly how long it will be, but we know that we'll get him back some time this year."
* TICE IS A TOUGH GUY: Vikings Coach Mike Tice said he would not miss any games because of a sprained ligament in his left knee and would wait until after the season to have surgery if it is needed.
Tice was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's victory over the Giants when Vikings cornerback Laroni Gallishaw blocked Jamaar Taylor into him on a punt return.
"Mike will have an MRI [exam] performed today at 2:30 and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis," Tice read from a facetious injury report by trainer Chuck Barta. "Going by past history he will be ready to perform."
* FABINI OUT FOR REST OF YEAR: Jets starting right tackle Jason Fabini will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, team spokesman Doug Miller said.
The injury, sustained in Sunday's 30-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers, will require surgery within the next 10 days, according to the team.
* 49ERS' PARRISH PLACED ON IR: San Francisco put safety Tony Parrish on injured reserve with a broken left leg, ending the eight-year veteran's streak of 121 consecutive starts.
Parrish, hurt in Sunday's 17-9 loss at Chicago, had never missed a game or a start since joining the league with the Bears in 1998. His lower leg was broken in two places and will require surgery this week.
Either Keith Lewis or free agent signee Ben Emanuel will start Sunday against the Seahawks for the 49ers, who have lost seven of eight.