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Originally published Saturday, December 16, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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NFL Notebook | Mora says UW job remarks were joke

Jim Mora insisted Friday that he was trying to be funny when he said he would leave the Atlanta Falcons to coach the University of Washington...

ATLANTA — Jim Mora insisted Friday that he was trying to be funny when he said he would leave the Atlanta Falcons to coach the University of Washington football team.

Mora's comments Thursday in an interview with Seattle radio station KJR received strong air play in Atlanta on Friday, a day before Mora's Falcons play Dallas.

Mora, an alumnus of Washington, said he has much respect for UW coach Tyrone Willingham but said, "If that job's open, you'll find me at the head of the line with my résumé in hand ready to take that job."

Mora, being interviewed by KJR's Hugh Millen and Dave Mahler, was then asked, "If you're available?"

Said Mora: "It doesn't even matter if I'm available. ... I don't care if we're in the middle of a playoff run. I'm packing my stuff and coming back to Seattle."

Mora issued a written statement early Friday attempting to clarify the comments. Later, the team called a news conference at owner Arthur Blank's downtown offices. Mora told reporters his attempts at humor in the interview were not successful.

"I thought I was kidding but in listening to the replay it certainly didn't sound like that. So I apologize. I certainly didn't want to offend anyone in Atlanta here with the Falcons, Ty Willingham, or people in Seattle. It was just very poor judgment on my part and for that I apologize."

Mora said he already has proved he wouldn't leave the Falcons for a job at his alma mater.

"When that job came open two years ago I got some calls from some alumni and I was here as the head coach and I told them immediately I have no interest in being anywhere but the Atlanta Falcons," Mora said. "Please don't even consider me. And then I endorsed Ty Willingham, who I think is an outstanding coach and has done an outstanding job there. He's made me proud to be an [alumnus] again."

Notes

• Chicago NT Tank Johnson will sit out Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. He was charged Thursday with misdemeanor possession of firearms without proper identification after police found six guns in his home.

The decision to sit Johnson was made by coach Lovie Smith, who said it was not a disciplinary action because that would come from the NFL.

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• Washington RT Jon Jansen (torn calf muscle) missed practice again Friday and was downgraded to doubtful for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

• Arizona RT Reggie Wells practiced a few hours after being released from a hospital and was upgraded to probable for the Cardinals' game Sunday against Denver. He spent two nights in the hospital for a flu-like illness.

• Jacksonville RB Maurice Drew returned to practice missing two days because of a calf injury.

• Minnesota signed LB E.J. Henderson to a five-year contract.

• San Francisco C Eric Heitmann will miss the rest of the season because of a broken right leg that required surgery. He was injured in the first quarter of the 49ers' 24-14 victory over the Seahawks on Thursday.

• Olympic and world sprint champion Justin Gatlin worked out for Arizona this week, his second tryout for an NFL team. Gatlin, who faces an eight-year ban from track and field following a positive drug test, worked out for Cardinals officials Tuesday, spokesman Mark Dalton said Friday.

Gatlin, who worked out for Houston on Nov. 28, tested positive for testosterone and other steroids at the Kansas Relays in April.

Quincy Carter was arrested on marijuana possession charges at the home of a woman who told police the former Dallas quarterback had become disruptive. Carter was booked in lieu of $500 bond and was released Friday afternoon, Irving police spokesman David Tull said.

Carter was released by Dallas in 2004 amid media reports he failed a drug test. He was placed in the NFL's substance-abuse program and later placed in rehab while with the New York Jets.

• After three years of dating, New England QB Tom Brady and actress Bridget Moynahan have split. Brady and Moynahan "amicably ended their three-year relationship several weeks ago. We ask for your respect and consideration of their privacy," a statement said.

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