Broncos’ Orton returns to practice

Denver quarterback Kyle Orton took snaps, handed off cleanly and completed passes at Tuesday’s practice for the first time since slicing open his right index finger nine days earlier.

“It was obvious today that he could do it all,” offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said.

Orton wore a glove on his throwing hand and thin gauze and tape on his injured finger to protect the dislocated knuckle that poked through the skin in the Broncos’ third preseason game.

“Obviously, there’s a little bit of restriction for a quarterback when you’ve got something on your hand. But for the most part, everything was clean,” coach Josh McDaniels said. “Hopefully, everybody that was out there today will be ready to go on Sunday.”

McDaniels said the determining factor on Orton’s status will be “a combination of the healing process and then how effective he can be. If he’s able to be the most effective guy we’ve got, then certainly he’ll play.”

If Orton has a setback, Chris Simms, who returned Sunday from a high ankle sprain, would get the starting nod when the team opens its season Sunday at Cincinnati.

Also, rookie tight end Richard Quinn pleaded innocent to harassment and domestic violence charges stemming from a Labor Day quarrel with his girlfriend. A trial was set for January.

• TEXANS — Houston quarterback Matt Schaub returned to practice, though it’s not clear whether he will start against the Jets in Sunday’s season opener.

Schaub took half the snaps in practice, his first significant work since he sprained his left ankle Aug. 31 against the Vikings. He is listed as day to day.

Rex Grossman will be Houston’s No. 2 quarterback this week, coach Gary Kubiak said.

• LIONS — Detroit quarterback Daunte Culpepper said he accepts coach Jim Schwartz’s decision to have him back up No. 1 draft pick Matthew Stafford.

Culpepper issued a statement saying Schwartz gave him “a fair opportunity to compete for the starting job.”

• RAIDERS — Defensive lineman Richard Seymour failed to report to Oakland for a second straight day, after being traded from New England for a first-round draft pick in 2011.

Raiders coach Tom Cable said he spoke with Seymour this week and that Seymour told him he wants to play in Oakland. Cable said he is hopeful Seymour will play for the Raiders but declined to discuss reports the two sides were discussing a new contract.

• VIKINGS — Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams will be able to play in the season opener Sunday at Cleveland, regardless of what happens with their court case against the NFL.

The two are challenging four-game suspensions handed down by the league for violating the league’s drug policy last summer. The case is still tied up in court, but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the suspensions will not begin this weekend in any event.

• BILLS — Buffalo released starting left tackle Langston Walker. A two-year starter at right tackle for the Bills, Walker was to take over on the left side for two-time Pro Bowl selection Jason Peters, who was traded to Philadelphia in April.

Walker was scheduled to make a base salary of $3 million in each of the final three years of his contract.

• JETS — Running back Danny Woodhead was signed to New York’s practice squad, two days after being cut.

Woodhead, the former NCAA career rushing leader from Chadron State, made the Jets’ initial 53-man roster Saturday but was waived the following day. He surprisingly went unclaimed and unsigned.

• STEELERS — A former Nevada casino worker who has accused Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting would drop her civil lawsuit if he acknowledged the rape and apologized.

Reno-based attorney Cal Dunlap wrote in a letter to Roethlisberger’s lawyers that his client would also like the quarterback to donate $100,000 to the Committee to Aid Abused Women, a Reno nonprofit organization that offers support to domestic violence victims.

Roethlisberger’s lawyer, David Cornwell, said they wouldn’t accept her offer.

In other Steelers news, center Justin Hartwig signed a four-year contract. The team has a policy of not negotiating with players once a season begins, so Hartwig’s deal — which runs through 2012 — is probably the last until the offseason.

Hartwig is entering his second season with the Steelers and eighth in the NFL. He has started 79 career games

Also, linebacker Lawrence Timmons did not practice again because of a high ankle sprain and is not expected to play Thursday against Tennessee.

• EAGLES — Philadelphia signed veteran tight end Alex Smith to a one-year contract and released tight end Tony Curtis.

Smith had 129 catches for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with Tampa Bay. He was traded in the offseason to New England, which released him Saturday.

• ESPN HIRES BRUSCHI — Recently retired New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi is joining ESPN as an analyst.

Bruschi will provide NFL analysis on its new local sports Web site,, and he’ll contribute to various programs on its TV and radio stations.

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