Rodgers out Sunday; Welker sidelined until playoffs

McClatchy news servicesDecember 21, 2013 

The Green Bay Packers ruled out star quarterback Aaron Rodgers for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It will be Green Bay’s seventh consecutive game without Rodgers since the franchise quarterback fractured his left collarbone during the first series of a 27-20 loss to the Bears on Nov. 4.

Backup Matt Flynn, a former Seahawk, will make his fourth consecutive start. Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that Rodgers has not received medical clearance and that the organization feels Rodgers is not ready to play.

“Just as I’ve stated all along. We’ve got two different circumstances here. We’ve got Aaron Rodgers’ health, and obviously where we are as a football team,” McCarthy said. “Until we feel good about where Aaron is medically, that will not be part of the second circumstance. So as an organization, we are not ready for him to play.”

Green Bay (7-6-1) went winless for five games before rallying for two straight come-from-behind victories with Flynn at quarterback to get back into the NFC North race. The Packers can win the division by beating the Steelers this week and the Bears next week.

Rodgers this week said he hasn’t suffered any setbacks. He appears to be improving each week.

Rodgers looked sharp in individual drills and other parts of brief portions of practice open to media, though Flynn has taken the majority of practice snaps.

McCarthy was peppered with questions Friday about the status of the 2011 NFL MVP.

“I think Aaron clearly wants to play. I mean, he’s a very competitive man,” McCarthy said. “He’s done everything he possibly can from his end of it.”

WELKER UPDATE

Broncos star receiver Wes Welker reportedly is expected to be sidelined until the playoffs as he recovers from two concussions in a span of three weeks.

Welker resumed light physical activity Thursday, but Friday he was ruled out of the Broncos’ game Sunday at the Houston Texans.

UPDATE ON FINES

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was fined $10,000 by the NFL for an illegal peel-back block on Minnesota’s Erin Henderson during Philadelphia’s loss Sunday.

Foles went down low at Henderson’s knees, drawing a penalty and negating DeSean Jackson’s 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Arizona’s Marcus Benard was fined $15,750 for roughing the passer on a hit on Tennessee’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington was docked $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Also in that game, Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley was fined $10,000 for hitting Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer in the knee area.

Fined $7,875 by the NFL were: Indianapolis’ Gosder Cherilus (for punching Houston’s J.J. Watt), Cincinnati’s Dre Kirkpatrick (facemask), Baltimore’s Matt Elam (hitting a quarterback who slid feet-first) and St. Louis’ Eugene Sims (for a hit on New Orleans’ Darren Sproles).

EXTRA POINTS

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the NFL MVP last season, returned to practice and is expected to play in Sunday’s game at Cincinnati as long as he doesn’t have any setbacks with his sprained right foot. … Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) practiced in a limited capacity and is a game-time decision to play against the Titans. He is listed as questionable. … Browns cornerback Joe Haden returned to practice after missing two days with a bruised hip and said he may play in Sunday’s game against the Jets. … Dallas linebacker Sean Lee will miss his second consecutive game with a sprained neck, but cornerback Brandon Carr said he will play against Washington after missing two days of practice because of illness. … Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew is out for the game against the Giants. … Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin, the No. 8 overall pick from West Virginia, missed his sixth consecutive day of practice with a left ankle injury and is listed as questionable.

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