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Patriots WR Deion Branch and others candidates for Pepsi NFL Rookie of Week Honors

Fans To Vote For Winner On

Wide receiver DEION BRANCH of the New England Patriots, quarterback DAVID CARR of the Houston Texans, defensive end CARLOS HALL of the Tennessee Titans, linebacker NAPOLEON HARRIS of the Oakland Raiders, and tight end RANDY MC MICHAEL of the Miami Dolphins are the finalists for PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK honors for games played on NFL Kickoff Weekend (September 5, 8-9) the NFL announced today.

Fans can vote for one of these five players on from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon to determine the PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK will be announced Thursday on It is the first weekly NFL honor to be selected solely by NFL fans.

After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.

A closer look at the finalists:

New England's Deion Branchhad six receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots' 30-14 win over Pittsburgh. He also had two kickoff returns for 51 yards.

Houston's David Carr passed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans' 19-10 win over Dallas. The Texans are the first expansion team since the 1961 Minnesota Vikings to win their inaugural game.

Tennessee's Carlos Hall replaced the injured Jevon Kearse and had seven tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble in the Titans' 27-24 win over Philadelphia. Two of Hall's three sacks came in the fourth quarter with his final quarterback drop resulting in a fumble Tennessee recovered to seal the victory. Hall tied the record for most sacks in an NFL debut since the sack statistic was instituted in 1982 (Chip Banks, 1982).

Oakland's Napoleon Harris had seven tackles – second-most on the team – in the Raiders' 31-17 win over Seattle.

Miami's Randy McMichael had four catches for 73 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins' 49-21 win over Detroit. McMichael is the first Dolphins tight end to score a touchdown in his debut and his yardage total was the most by a Miami tight end since 1997 (Troy Drayton, 80 yards, 10/5).

This is Pepsi's first year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL.

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