Six players, including the heart of the Minnesota Vikings' stout defensive line, were suspended for four games without pay by the NFL on Tuesday for violating the league's anti-doping policy.
All six were punished for using a diuretic, which can serve as a masking agent for steroids.
The suspended players were running back Deuce McAllister and defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith of New Orleans; long snapper Bryan Pittman of Houston; and defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of Minnesota, who are not related.
The punishment means all six will miss the end of the regular season, an especially harsh blow to Minnesota, which relies heavily on the Williamses in its run defense, which ranks second in the league.
A seventh player, Atlanta's Grady Jackson , was not suspended. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Jeff Pash , the league's chief counsel, had asked for additional information from Jackson.
If a player's team makes the playoffs, the player will be eligible to return to the active roster on Dec. 29.
COWBOYS: Put Adam "Pacman" Jones on their 53-man roster after the NFL lifted the cornerback's suspension.
Jones missed six games for violating the league's player conduct policy. The NFL allowed Jones to return to practice last week and said then he would be able to play Sunday at Pittsburgh.
The Cowboys cleared a spot on their roster when they put safety Pat Watkins on injured reserve.
BROWNS: Brady Quinn has decided to get his fractured finger fixed.
After weighing his options over the past week, Cleveland's quarterback has elected to have surgery on his right index finger, which he initially broke on Nov. 17 at Buffalo and then made worse by playing in the Browns' game a week later against Houston.
The team said that Quinn's operation will be performed today in Birmingham, Ala., by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Hunt .
PATRIOTS: Backup cornerback Jason Webster will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.