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Wednesday Walk Around the League

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Let's look around the league and see what is going on.

• The big news of the day, of course, is Bobby Petrino bailing on the Falcons without even finishing his first season and taking the Arkansas job. I can't blame Petrino, since he is another of those guys who never should have left college football in the first place. However, leaving without talking to the team is a spineless move.

• Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher denies ordering a 'hit' on San Diego's Shawne Merriman.

• Coach Mike Nolan and QB Alex Smith are trying to patch things up, but things are ugly in San Francisco. Smith, who will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, said Nolan tried to "undermine" him with the team.

• Motivation won't be a problem for the New England Patriots this week against the New York Jets.

Boston Herald columnist Gerry Callahan sums it up this way.

Under normal circumstances, the Patriots would be a good bet to put up 50 and win in a walk come Sunday. These, of course, are not normal circumstances. This is a game that means nothing and everything all at once, a showdown that has no bearing on the playoff race but might be the most anticipated game of the regular season. People who wouldn't know a bubble screen from Bubble Yum will be riveted for one simple reason: Everybody understands a little thing called hate.

Hate will take center stage this Sunday. Hate will be on the field, in the huddle, on the sideline, in the hearts and minds of every player in Patriots blue. CBS viewers haven't seen hate like this since the last time Dan Rather was making stuff up about the president.

Strong words? Sure, but would you really be surprised if Bill Belichick tries to drop 80 points on the Jets? I wouldn't.

• As a Giants fan I was thrilled that GM Jery Reese was able to get a sixth-round pick from Green Bay for Ryan Grant, a running back the team didn't want or need. The Packers are thrilled that they have Grant and are now calling that move "the steal of the season."