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In the city that stakes claim to a dry heat, the chatter about changing the NFL's overtime format finally dried up. At least for 2003.

League owners voted down a new overtime proposal Wednesday at their annual meetings in Phoenix. The proposal received 17 votes, seven shy of the three-fourths majority needed to pass.

"It didn't surprise us too much," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said from The Biltmore Resort, where the meetings are being held. "I think from the middle of the season to the end of the season, the coaches started changing their votes. The support just eroded."

The proposal would have given the ball to each team in overtime, replacing the current sudden death format. The team that won the toss in overtime scored on its first possession in 58 percent of the league's single-season record 25 overtime games last season.

Casserly, who indicated the Texans were in favor of a change, could see the vote coming based on his recent competition committee meetings.

"The vote was 4-4 in the competition committee," he said. "And you only need nine votes to block."

The owners also delayed a vote on expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams until May. The Texans are also in favor of that change and it appears they're not alone.

"I have no idea how it will turn out," Casserly said. "There was no informal poll taken. But I don't know that I heard an owner that is opposed to it, although most people seem to be leaning towards keeping the current format at least through this season."

Casserly continues to get feelers about Houston's first-round pick, the third overall selection.

"Two teams did approach us about the pick out here," he said. "But I still think teams will wait until we get closer to draft day."

Casserly and Texans head coach Dom Capers also headed a few minutes east to Tempe, where Arizona State had its pro day. All eyes were on former Sun Devils defensive end Terrell Suggs, who is considered the draft's top off-the-edge pass rusher. The Texans, who run the 3-4, view him more as an outside linebacker.

"We really like him," Casserly said. "He's an outstanding prospect and he did some good things in the workout, although he did pull a hamstring at the end."

         will file a story on the ASU workout from Tempe shortly.
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