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NFL: Week 8

Clemens to start for Jets

QB Chad Pennington is headed to the bench after the Jets' 1-7 start. QB Chad Pennington is headed to the bench after the Jets' 1-7 start.

Eric Mangini summoned Chad Pennington into his office and broke the news that the New York Jets have a new starting quarterback.

It's Kellen Clemens's turn to see if he can turn around the season.

"Coach made it clear that I'm not the villain here," Pennington said yesterday. "And I'm not the only one to blame for the lack of our success or our problems, but he did feel like Kellen deserved a chance."

Mangini's announcement yesterday that he's going with Clemens as his starter for Sunday's game against Washington wasn't a huge surprise. It's a move fans and media have been suggesting for weeks as the Jets have struggled to a 1-7 start.

"I made this decision not based on singling out Chad for where we are, but based on the fact that I think Kellen has earned this opportunity," Mangini said. "I want to give him this opportunity. It's in no way an indication that Chad is solely responsible. We all are."

Pennington, 31, in his eighth season, has failed to move the offense effectively as the Jets have lost five straight and rank 30th in total offense; only Buffalo and San Francisco are worse.

"When your team is struggling, people look for answers and coaches have to look for answers and sometimes the first position that is looked at is the quarterback position," Pennington said. "I understand that."

Clemens, in his second season out of Oregon, replaced an ineffective Pennington late Sunday in the Jets' 13-3 loss to Buffalo. His entrance was cheered by those remaining at Giants Stadium, the same fans who booed Pennington when he failed to move the offense early in the game. Clemens was just 5 of 12 for 67 yards and 2 interceptions, but one of those came on a desperation toss as time expired.

"It's exciting to have the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the chance to play," Clemens said. "At the same time, there's a losing streak right now that this team needs to work hard to turn around."

Romo gets new deal

Tony Romo didn't have to wait until the offseason to get his big payday from the Cowboys after all. Romo has agreed to a six-year, $67 million deal that will be announced today, according to a person familiar with the deal who requested anonymity. The contract, which will become effective this week and provides salary cap relief for Dallas, includes $30 million in guaranteed money.

"It's a great feeling you have when the organization and the people stand behind you, and you can be the quarterback for a long, long time," Romo said. "It's a neat feeling that, 'You're our guy, we like you.' It makes you feel good as a person and a player."

Redskins' Rogers out

Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers is out of the year because of torn ligaments in his right knee. Rogers was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's 52-7 loss to the Patriots. An MRI revealed tears in the ACL and MCL . . . Rams guard Richie Incognito will likely miss the rest of the season because of a right kneecap injury sustained in Sunday's loss to the Browns. Coach Scott Linehan also said that running back Steven Jackson, sidelined by back spasms in the first half after a strong start, has a bulging disk. But he said the injury is treatable and was optimistic Jackson could be back in the lineup without missing a game after the Rams' bye this weekend . . . The NFL and NFL Players Association will contribute $250,000 through a disaster relief fund to the San Diego Chargers' fire relief fund to assist victims of San Diego County . . . Titans long snapper Ken Amato tore his right ACL and will miss the rest of the season . . . Panthers quarterback Vinny Testaverde, 43, was walking gingerly and preparing to put on a walking boot on his ailing right Achilles' tendon. His status for Sunday's game at Tennessee is uncertain.

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