Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler missed practice Thursday and his playing status remains in question because of a concussion.
Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler continues to improve, but it’s not clear if he’ll be ready to play at San Francisco on Monday night.
If Cutler can’t play, Jason Campbell will likely start.
The Bears think a helmet-to-helmet hit by Houston’s Tim Dobbins injured Cutler late in the second quarter Sunday. He finished the half but sat out the final two quarters after showing symptoms of concussion in the locker room at the break.
Cutler needs to be cleared by team physicians and independent neurological consultants before he may return.
When asked if Smith expects his quarterback to practice today, he said, “Wait till tomorrow and see.”
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to the hospital for a “minor procedure” after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.
The team said it anticipates Harbaugh will be back at the 49ers facility today, though it’s unclear in what capacity. No details about the procedure were given.
“It’s one of those things that, like Coach Harbaugh always tells us, he’s tougher than a $2 steak,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. “We know he’s going to be all right.”
Harbaugh had visited with doctors Wednesday night after feeling ill, and they advised him to have the procedure done at Stanford Hospital.
Professional football can evolve into a safer game without sacrificing physical play — or, some would say, violence — that has made it so popular, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a speech at the Harvard School of Public Health.
In a long-planned appearance that came four days after three starting NFL quarterbacks were knocked out with concussions, Goodell said that the league has already improved the way it handles hits to the head.
“Football has always evolved, and it always will,” he said. “Make no mistake: change does not inhibit the game; it improves it.”
Former Texans punter Brett Hartmann has sued the county agency that operates Reliant Stadium, blaming “unsafe turf” for a possibly career-ending knee injury. … Browns cornerback Joe Haden, the No. 7 overall pick in 2010, did not practice after injuring an oblique muscle the day before. His status is unknown for this weekend. … Jets running back Shonn Greene said he was “shocked” by a published report in which he was quoted as suggesting the team might need to make a change at quarterback, saying the quotes were “completely out of context.” … Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher raised eyebrows by saying he’d cover up a concussion, reiterating comments he made earlier this season. … Broncos star defensive end Elvis Dumervil said he’s going to test his sprained left shoulder in practice today and hopes to play this weekend. … Chiefs offensive lineman Jon Asamoah will miss the game against the Bengals after surgery on one of his thumbs. … Falcons receiver Julio Jones (ankle) missed practice for the second consecutive day.