NFL roundup: Shanahan considers benching Griffin

The SportsXchange

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan again refused to name his starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, hinting on Monday that Robert Griffin III might be benched for the rest of the season for the quarterback's own protection.

During his Monday press conference, Shanahan said he is interested in protecting the franchise's investment in Griffin, who has been sacked 24 times in the past five games, including six times on Sunday.

"I want to make sure he's healthy going into the off season," Shanahan said. "I'll think about it and decide Wednesday."

Benching Griffin would give Kevin Cousins an opportunity to prove he can be a starting NFL quarterback.

The Washington Post reported the Redskins are contemplating firing Shanahan and withholding his pay for 2014. If the team can prove that Shanahan orchestrated Sunday's report that he nearly quit in January 2013 over the relationship between Griffin and owner Dan Snyder, the team might be able to show that Shanahan acted in a way that was detrimental to the team, thus violating his contract.

---New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the season with torn ligaments in his right knee.

He was carted off the field with right knee injury in the third quarter Sunday and tests Monday confirmed the team's initial diagnosis of a torn ACL and MCL.

Gronkowski, 24, missed the first six games of the season recovering from multiple forearm surgeries. The fourth-year pro also had back surgery in the offseason.

---The Green Bay Packers hope to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers back for their next game as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers has not yet been medically cleared to play.

The critical day will be Wednesday, which is when Rodgers will be evaluated by doctors.

Rodgers has missed the past five games after suffering a broken collarbone.

---The Minnesota Vikings placed tight end Kyle Rudolph on injured reserve after he sustained a broken foot on Nov. 3, but the team did not provide an update on injured running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson said a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam helped rule out any torn ligaments and the dreaded Lisfranc injury. Peterson also said he was scheduled for a CT scan with a foot specialist later in the day and would know more on Tuesday.

Quarterback Christian Ponder was cleared to practice. He has been out for a week with a concussion. However, Frazier did not name a starter for this Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Matt Cassel started in place of Ponder against the Ravens.

---Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker is not expected to play Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers because he sustained his second concussion in the last four games.

Because of the NFL's testing protocol for concussions, Welker will not be cleared in time.

Welker also had a concussion Nov. 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

---Arizona Cardinals rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu tore an ACL during Sunday's 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams and is through for the season. Mathieu also has a torn LCL, according to the NFL Network.

Mathieu injured the knee while returning a free kick following a safety in the third quarter.

---The Carolina Panthers believe that running back Jonathan Stewart has a torn MCL in his right knee, according to ESPN.

Stewart was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injury, which he sustained during the third quarter of Sunday night's 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

---The Houston Texans will not pursue ESPN analyst Jon Gruden or Shanahan -- if he gets fired -- the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Texans are reportedly interested in former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, Stanford coach David Shaw and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

---The Indianapolis Colts announced that they signed running back Tashard Choice, who was waived by the Buffalo Bills last week. Choice had 126 yards on 35 rushes this year for Buffalo.

---The Jacksonville Jaguars signed running back Delone Carter and placed running back Justin Forsett on injured reserve with a broken foot, according to multiple reports.

Carter was traded from the Indianapolis Colts to the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason but was eventually waived during the preseason.

---No tailgating parties will be allowed at this season's Super Bowl at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.

The Super Bowl committee made the announcement at a press conference in which it addressed transportation and safety guidelines for the game, which will be played Feb. 2, 2014.

--- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley suffered another concussion on Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed.
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