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Originally published Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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NFL | Jaguars' Richard Collier is shot several times

Jacksonville offensive tackle Richard Collier was shot and critically wounded outside an apartment building early Tuesday as he and a former...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville offensive tackle Richard Collier was shot and critically wounded outside an apartment building early Tuesday as he and a former teammate waited for two women they had met at a nightclub, police said.

Collier, 26, and ex-Jaguars defensive end Kenneth Pettway, 25, were waiting in a Cadillac Escalade when a gunman fired into the vehicle, said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson.

The 6-foot-7, 345-pound Collier reportedly was shot several times, but it wasn't clear where he was hit.

Collier was in critical condition at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said early Tuesday. Later, spokesman Chris Turner said the hospital was no longer giving updates on Collier's condition. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Collier's family had requested privacy.

Del Rio said the organization paused, taking a break from preparing for the season opener Sunday at Tennessee and focusing on what he called "a very unfortunate incident, really, really a shame."

"Right now, he's battling for his life," Del Rio said of Collier on his weekly radio show. "All we can do right now is pray for healing."

Several Jaguars, including ex-Washington Huskies tackle Khalif Barnes, gathered at the hospital. Barnes won the recent competition with Collier for the job as Jacksonville's starting left tackle.

Pettway, who was cut from the team Saturday, was not shot.

The motive behind the attack was unknown, and the sheriff's office was investigating. Collier and Pettway had gone to the apartment complex so the women could drop off their car, authorities said. The women declined to comment when they were escorted by police back to the complex.

Collier is the third league player to be shot in the last 21 months. Sean Taylor of the Washington team was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Denver cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a club in 2007.

Notes

• Detroit signed ex-Cincinnati running back Rudi Johnson to a one-year deal and released running back Tatum Bell. Johnson, 28, worked out for the Lions on Monday. He missed most of training camp with the Bengals because of a hamstring injury and was cut Saturday.

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Johnson rushed for more than 1,300 yards for three seasons in a row with Cincinnati, from 2004 to 2006.

Hamstring problems limited Johnson to 11 games, 497 yards and 2.9 yards per carry last season.

• Denver traded defensive back Domonique Foxworth, 25, to Atlanta for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2009. Falcons officials said the pick could be higher, depending on Foxworth's playing time.

With Foxworth gone, ex-Washington State Cougar Karl Paymah solidified his hold on the nickel-back role.

• Oakland cut defensive tackle William Joseph to create roster space for receiver Ashley Lelie, who recently was cut by San Francisco.

• The Louisiana Superdome will be ready to host football Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints, who went to Indianapolis ahead of Hurricane Gustav, will be able to open their regular season at home as scheduled against Tampa Bay, team officials announced.

• A mix of laughter and tears filled the concert hall of the Kennedy Center in Washington as family, ex-teammates and colleagues celebrated the life of Gene Upshaw, Hall of Fame lineman and longtime NFL union head.

About 1,000 people gathered for the three-hour service. Upshaw, 63, died Aug. 20 of pancreatic cancer that had been diagnosed days earlier.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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