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49ers' Colin Kaepernick takes reps with first team

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will lead the 49ers' first team in practice ahead of Sunday's game against the Saints, is reporting. Alex Smith told ESPN that he was informed by coach Jim Harbaugh yesterday. Harbaugh said earlier Wednesday that it would be a week-to-week decision as to who would be under center.

Smith has not been cleared to play and still is recovering from a concussion. However, Smith is supportive of Kaepernick.

"If you can't be happy for your teammate's success you're playing the wrong sport. Go play tennis or golf or something," Smith said. "That's ridiculous, I think. That doesn't belong in team sports, in my opinion. It's the quarterback position. It gets a lot of attention. We're going to get talked about."

Bounty talks over Dec. 4

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue plans to complete all hearings in the NFL's bounty probe of the Saints by Dec. 4 and make a ruling shortly after. Such timing potentially could be disruptive for the Saints, who could lose starting defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma while trying to claw back into playoff contention. In a document obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Tagliabue directs the NFL to produce key witnesses in the New Orleans Saints' cash-for-hits program, including former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo. Four players initially were suspended, but those punishments were vacated. Commissioner Roger Goodell re-issued the suspensions with some modifications, and when the players appealed again, Goodell appointed Tagliabue to oversee the new hearings.

Plaxico ready to go

Despite not taking a live snap in more than 10 months, Plaxico Burress thinks he can play as early as Sunday when the Steelers (6-4) travel to Cleveland (2-8). "I don't see why not." Burress said. Neither does the guy who will throw him the ball. "He's played, he's won in this league," said quarterback Charlie Batch, who will start in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger. "The speed of the game is not going to be new to him. When you say the play, he can line up and go and make the play without thinking about it."

Bills' Jackson will run

Buffalo running back Fred Jackson has been cleared to play at Indianapolis after passing a series of NFL-mandated concussion tests. Jackson says he felt good before practice, and coach Chan Gailey added that he expects the running back to play Sunday. Gailey said C.J. Spiller will remain the starter and get a majority of playing time. -- AP


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