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NFL notebook

Merriman reports ligament problem

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Associated Press / August 23, 2008
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The Chargers are more concerned with having linebacker Shawne Merriman on the field for the playoffs than next month's regular-season opener.

Merriman, a three-time Pro Bowler, felt pain in his knee after playing in San Diego's preseason game Aug. 9. Thursday, Merriman said he has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the knee. He has visited noted sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews and may see two other doctors to weigh his options.

If the ligament is severely torn, he'll undergo season-ending knee surgery. If the tear isn't significant, Merriman could play through the pain and be ready for Week 1 against Carolina Panthers Sept. 7.

Merriman, who had offseason arthroscopic surgery on the same knee, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Ryan starts, wins

Former Boston College star Matt Ryan, making his first exhibition start, opened the second half with a touchdown pass to give host Atlanta the lead and the Falcons beat the Tennessee Titans, 17-3. Ryan, selected with the third pick in the draft, continued his bid to start as a rookie. Ryan completed 15 of 21 passes for 102 yards with a 1-yard scoring pass to another rookie, Harry Douglas, and no interceptions. Chris Redman, who finished last season as the Falcons' starting quarterback, led a 14-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter . . . Aaron Rodgers bounced back from a bad game at San Francisco to complete 18 of 22 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in visiting Green Bay's 27-24 exhibition win over Denver . . . Tony Romo completed 15 of 19 passes for 166 yards and a TD in host Dallas's 23-22 exhibition victory over Houston. Texans receiver Harry Williams was taken off the field on a stretcher after being hit in the head during a collision was expected to have surgery this weekend to fuse two vertebrae. "He's got movement throughout his body," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "All the feedback I'm getting is that Harry will be fine."

Back still a hassle

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck likely will miss Seattle's exhibition game Monday at San Diego and probably won't see any action until the regular season because of ongoing back stiffness. Hasselbeck has been Seattle's starter since 2001 . . . Bills starting quarterback Trent Edwards won't play in tomorrow night's exhibition game against Indianapolis because of a bruise above his right kneecap. Edwards was optimistic he'll be ready for Buffalo's final exhibition game against Detroit Thursday . . . J.T. O'Sullivan will start at quarterback for the 49ers when the regular season begins next month. O'Sullivan clinched the job with a strong performance during Thursday night's 37-30 exhibition victory over Chicago . . . The Lions signed quarterback Drew Henson, a high school and college standout who has struggled at the professional level in baseball and football. Henson was signed after second-year quarterback Drew Stanton sprained the thumb on his throwing hand Thursday. He will be sidelined about a month.

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