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American Football: THE PENNY DROPS FOR MAD CHAD.

CHAD PENNINGTON has called a truce in his war of words with the New York press as his Jets prepare for their play-off crunch.

Victory against St Louis in Sunday's final game of the season would guarantee Pennington's side a place in the Super Bowl hunt despite a late-season collapse.

The quarterback, who signed a $64million contract earlier this season, slammed his media critics a fortnight ago, accusing them of lying about his ability to motivate his team-mates.

But they hit back after his dismal performance against New England last week, with one reporter calling Pennington "more like Joe Schmoe than Joe Montana" and another claiming "the $64m quarterback turns into the $64 quarterback whenever the Jets face an elite team."

Now Pennington insists the controversy is behind him as he gets ready to face the Rams, who also need a win for their play-off hopes.

He said: "I've put it behind me and I hope they have too. No matter if they're telling the truth or not, the press always have the last word and now I realise that."

Washington's Clinton Portis is being sued by a former team-mate... over his shirt number.

When superstitious Portis joined the Redskins in June he wanted the same 26 jersey he wore with Denver - and agreed to pay Ifeanyi Ohalete pounds 20,000 to give up the number.

But he has only coughed up pounds 10,000 so far and Ohalete, now with Arizona, has filed a complaint in Maryland District Court.

TV TIMES: Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers, Sky Sports Xtra 6pm tomorrow; Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Sky Sports Xtra 9.15pm tomorrow

CAPTION(S):

PENNINGTON: Truce; PORTIS: Sued
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:279
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