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Pennington’s season in doubt

Associated Press / September 29, 2009

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Chad Pennington may not be available to give his winless team a much-needed lift.

The Miami Dolphins’ quarterback dislocated his right shoulder and may seek a second opinion to determine how long he’ll be sidelined, a person familiar with his status said yesterday.

The person insisted on anonymity because the Dolphins have said little about the injury. Teammates braced for a new quarterback, with backup Chad Henne expected to make his first NFL start in Sunday’s home game against Buffalo.

Other media outlets reported Pennington had a torn capsule and was likely to miss the rest of the season.

“We don’t have a comment, because the evaluation process is still ongoing,’’ team spokesman Harvey Greene said.

Pennington hurt his shoulder Sunday in a 23-13 loss at San Diego, and he underwent tests yesterday to determine the extent of the damage. An operation on the shoulder would be Pennington’s third since 2005.

The quarterback shakeup comes with the Dolphins already reeling. They’re 0-3 after Pennington led an improbable run to the AFC East title last season.

Coach Tony Sparano said he didn’t know how long Pennington would be sidelined.

Linebacker Joey Porter, nursing a sore right hamstring, also was unable to finish the game because the muscle tightened.

Bucs bench Leftwich
The winless Buccaneers benched starting quarterback Byron Leftwich and replaced him with second-year pro Josh Johnson, who takes over following one of the worst offensive performances in team history. Coach Raheem Morris made the change yesterday, a day after the Bucs fell to 0-3 while gaining just 86 yards in a 24-0 loss to the New York Giants. Leftwich completed 7 of 16 passes for 22 yards and one interception. Johnson played one fourth-quarter series Sunday and completed 4 of 10 passes for 36 yards while leading a drive that stalled on downs at New York’s 5-yard line . . . With JaMarcus Russell coming off a 61-yard passing performance, Raiders coach Tom Cable isn’t ready to make a quarterback change at this point. Russell threw a pair of first-quarter interceptions to put the Raiders in a hole they never escaped. He didn’t improve in the second half as Oakland netted negative-18 yards passing . . . Brady Quinn’s reign as the unquestioned leader of the Browns’ offense didn’t even last three games. Winless Cleveland again has a quarterback quandary, though this one isn’t expected to last nearly as long as the first. After taking the entire preseason to choose Quinn as his starter over Derek Anderson, Browns coach Eric Mangini said he will announce tomorrow who will start this week against Cincinnati.

Rams’ Bulger out
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger has a bruised rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder that probably will sideline him a few weeks, but that was the good news on the injury report. Much more significant: leading wide receiver Laurent Robinson is out for the season because of multiple injuries to his right leg, and safety James Butler might miss a month because of a sprained left knee . . . The Colts won’t say how serious Dwight Freeney’s right quadriceps injury is or whether he’ll miss this week’s game against Seattle . . . The Bears hope middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer will be able to play this week after suffering a rib injury in Sunday’s win at Seattle. If he can’t, Nick Roach figures to fill in against Detroit . . . The Redskins expect defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to be OK despite a hip injury that forced him out of the loss to the Lions . . . Cornerback Leodis McKelvin is out indefinitely because of a broken bone in his leg, while safety Donte Whitner had surgery to repair an injured thumb, leaving the Bills’ limping defense minus two more starters . . . 49ers running back Frank Gore is expected to miss three weeks because of a right ankle strain.

NFL, union to meet
The NFL and the players union will hold a negotiating session today, with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith hopeful of getting a formal proposal from the owners . . . Jets wide receiver David Clowney was benched by an angry coach Rex Ryan for the team’s game against the Titans after Clowney complained on Twitter about a lack of playing time . . . Bills coach Dick Jauron says he has confidence in quarterback Trent Edwards and Buffalo’s struggling offense after Terrell Owens was a no-show on the stat sheet for the first time in 14 seasons. “We’ll take more shots,’’ Jauron said after Owens had a 185-game reception streak snapped in a 27-7 loss to New Orleans . . . Players union spokesman George Atallah confirmed that the NFLPA has filed a formal grievance over Mangini fining a player $1,701 for not paying a hotel for a $3 bottle of water . . . Jim Mora said the Seahawks will not have a new kicker Sunday against Indianapolis, as he had all but proclaimed in an angry postgame venting the day before after Olindo Mare missed two field goals in a 6-point loss to Chicago.

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