DETROIT — ESPN reported Thursday that backup Detroit Lions running back Jerome Harrison has a brain tumor. The network based its reported on two NFL sources it did not identify.

The Lions tried to trade Harrison to Philadelphia on Tuesday, but the deal was voided for unspecified reasons. The Lions listed Harrison as having an "illness" that held him out of Thursday's practice.

"It's a privacy issue and I'm not going to comment on it," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's back on our 53-man roster."

Harrison's agent, Mitch Frankel, did not return phone and email messages.

Detroit wanted to trade Harrison to Philadelphia for Ronnie Brown and a draft pick because it needs help in the backfield following Best's third concussion last Sunday in a loss to San Francisco.

BECK'S PROMOTION SENDS MESSAGE: The benching of Rex Grossman is seen by some Washington Redskins players as a sign that coach Mike Shanahan isn't about to let the season slip away.

Running back Tim Hightower says the promotion of John Beck to starting quarterback "definitely sends a message that they want to win here."

Beck makes his first start in four years when the Redskins visit Carolina on Sunday.

Beck isn't the only new starter on offense. Sean Locker gets the call at left tackle in place of Trent Williams, who has a sprained right ankle.

Will Montgomery moves from center to left guard to replace Kory Lichtensteiger, out for the season with torn knee ligaments. First-year player Erik Cook will be at center, making his first NFL start.

GONZALEZ CLOSES IN ON HISTORY: Tony Gonzalez refuses to boast about himself as he moves closer to becoming the NFL's No. 2 career leader in receptions.

The 35-year-old Gonzalez has 10 Pro Bowl bids and already owns most of the meaningful league records by a tight end. He was the first to reach 1,000 catches and 12,000 yards receiving.

But as the Atlanta Falcons prepare to visit Detroit on Sunday, Gonzalez is ready to acknowledge another accomplishment within his reach: He needs four catches to move past Cris Carter and Marvin Harrison with 1,103 catches.

Gonzalez says his "clock inside" will tell him when he passes the mark, but adds that "it's one of those things in the heat of the battle you can't worry about," so he plans to relish it afterward.

L.T. TO START AGAINST OLD TEAM: LaDainian Tomlinson will get his first start of the season Sunday when the New York Jets face his former team, the San Diego Chargers.

Tomlinson usually is a backup to Shonn Greene, but Jets coach Rex Ryan says he will give the 11-year veteran the start. It's the first time Tomlinson will face the Chargers since leaving San Diego after the 2009 season when it was clear he would have a reduced role.

The Chargers are the only NFL team against which Tomlinson has not scored a touchdown. This year, he has rushed for 97 yards on 29 carries, but has 17 catches and one touchdown receiving.

Tomlinson says he doesn't "hold any bones against that organization" or anyone in the San Diego locker room.

RYAN APOLOGIZES: Jets coach Rex Ryan admits he messed up in his comments about the San Diego Chargers, New York's opponent this week.

Ryan says Thursday that he didn't intentionally diss the Chargers or coach Norv Turner by saying "I would have had a couple of rings" had the team hired him as head coach in 2007.

Instead, Turner got the job, and the Chargers have not won any championships.

Ryan was hired by the Jets in 2009.

He spoke with Turner on Wednesday shortly after making his comments, which also included how "loaded" the Chargers were in the last few seasons. Ryan characterizes his comments as "unintentional," and that he expects them not to damage his relationship with Turner.

HILLS CONTRACT TALKS ARE QUIET: Browns president Mike Holmgren says contract negotiations with running back Peyton Hillis are "quiet now," but the team remains open to signing him to a long-term extension

Holmgren met with Cleveland's media for the first time since training camp on Thursday and addressed a wide range of topics, including Hillis' future. Holmgren said the Browns never considered trading Hillis, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season. Holmgren added that the Browns and Hillis' representatives have decided to "let Peyton play, let the dust settle and see what happens."