NFL Roundup: Rodgers decision expected Friday

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers participated in Thursday's practice, although coach Mike McCarthy said he still has not been medically cleared.
Rodgers took part in limited work as the Packers prepared for Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien took the first-team reps during 11-on-11 drills. Rodgers has been sidelined more than six weeks since suffering a fractured collarbone against the Chicago Bears.
"Aaron Rodgers practiced well today," McCarthy said. "We'll have a conversation tomorrow. He's still not medically cleared. He looked very good at practice. We'll make sure we get Matt ready to play. Matt took the majority of the snaps. I'll have an announcement tomorrow."
Rodgers talked to reporters after practice but did not offer any insight about his possible return.
"I have a good sense of what's going to happen," he said. "I didn't take a lot of reps with the team but felt pretty good out there, was feeling good. It's obviously a medical decision and an organizational decision at this point."

--Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was the first candidate to be interviewed to replace Gary Kubiak as the Texans' coach, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
Smith, 55, was fired after the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in 2012. During his nine years with the Bears, Smith was 81-63, including 3-3 in the playoffs. His teams won three NFC North titles and lost Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis. Smith, a native Texan, hasn't coached this year, but he plans to return next season.
The Texans (2-12) have had a disappointing season after winning a combined 22 regular-season games combined over the previous two years.
Other candidates for the Texans' job include their current interim head coach, Wade Phillips, as well as Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien and Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

--New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who suffered an injury to his left knee and a concussion in Sunday's loss to Seattle, underwent an arthroscopic debridement of the knee in Pensacola, Fla., by Dr. James Andrews, the team announced Thursday.
Cruz was cleared of the concussion, per the NFL's protocol, on Wednesday.
Cruz got a second opinion on his knee Thursday. He will miss the rest of the season. He finished with 73 catches for 998 yards.

--Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed will miss the rest of the 2013 season due to lingering concussion symptoms, the team announced Thursday.
Coach Mike Shanahan said Reed was placed on injured reserve. Shanahan told reporters the doctor recommended Reed not practice for three weeks, ending his season.
Reed ends his rookie year with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns while playing in nine games.

--Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner plans to continue to fight his indefinite suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. His original appeal was denied Wednesday, but he has filed an additional appeal, according to a report.
According to multiple reports, Browner contested his placement in Stage 3 of the NFL's substance-abuse program, arguing that the league improperly advanced him while he was playing in the Canadian Football League from 2007-10. Browner said he was unaware he was even eligible for continued testing by the NFL while he was out of the league, and did not receive any correspondence related to NFL drug tests taken more than six years ago.
He also reportedly claimed his September urine sample that led to a positive test for a small amount of marijuana in his system was mishandled.

--Jim Harbaugh insisted Thursday that all is well with the San Francisco 49ers and he remains committed to the team.
The 49ers coach said he's "absolutely" planning to stay with the team long term.
Reports surfaced this week that Harbaugh might be a candidate for the Texas job that opened when Mack Brown announced he will step down after the Valero Alamo Bowl later this month. Harbaugh denied any interest in the Longhorns.
There also were rumblings of tension between Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke. 49ers owner Jed York described it as creative tension. Harbaugh downplayed any rift, saying his relationship with Baalke was "good."

--Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will wear a brace on his left knee in Sunday's game against the New England Patriots as a precautionary move, reported Thursday.
Flacco was hit on his knee by the helmet of Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 18-16 win on Monday night.
Flacco wore a brace at practice on Wednesday and will continue to wear it for Sunday's game. He has started 94 straight games since entering the league in 2008.

--The Kansas City Chiefs signed defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and released wide receiver/returner Chad Hall, the team announced Thursday.
Powe (6-2, 331) rejoins the Chiefs after being released by the club on Dec. 13. He originally joined the Chiefs as the club's sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was released prior to the start of the 2013 season and then rejoined the club on Dec. 3.
Hall has played in 24 games (one start) in over two seasons with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. Hall originally came to Kansas City on Sept. 1, via waiver claim from the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in nine games with the Chiefs, recording two catches for 20 yards. Hall's career numbers include 16 receptions for 155 yards with two touchdowns. He has returned 10 punts for 107 yards and six kickoffs for 108 yards.

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