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NFL notebook

Rodgers gets medical OK

QB optimistic he’ll make start

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is assisted by an official after absorbing a hit to the head last week in Washington. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is assisted by an official after absorbing a hit to the head last week in Washington. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Associated Press / October 15, 2010

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Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared by doctors and returned to practice for the Packers yesterday. Assuming he doesn’t have a setback in his recovery from a concussion, he is optimistic he will start Sunday’s game against Miami.

Rodgers practiced on a limited basis, taking the majority of snaps during the portion of the workout that was open to the media.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers completed all the steps in the NFL’s protocol to return to the field after a head injury, but the team will monitor his progress before naming him the starter against the Dolphins.

“I’ve gone through the process that the NFL requires,’’ Rodgers said. “I’ve been cleared by our doctors, by an outside source. And I think it’s just a matter of how I feel tomorrow. And I’m very optimistic.’’

Rodgers sustained a concussion during last Sunday’s overtime loss at Washington, but it’s not clear — even to Rodgers — when he began experiencing the symptoms of a head injury.

McCarthy said Monday that Rodgers’s concussion came on a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Packers’ final offensive play of the game. Rodgers said that hit “definitely’’ made him feel worse and forced him out of the game, but acknowledged that he wasn’t feeling “completely normal’’ even earlier.

“Having never had a concussion, it was definitely a learning process to understand how my body feels,’’ Rodgers said. “Because obviously I’ve been dinged in the head a number of times, everything from in high school seeing the stars and stuff to the different shots you take along the way. I think it was just a great learning process to understand how my body reacts to different situations.’’

According to NFL guidelines for head injuries, Rodgers must be symptom-free and cleared by a team doctor and an independent neurological consultant before he can play again.

“The protocol as far as all the testing and so forth from the medical staff and the off-campus doctor has been completed,’’ McCarthy said. “But it’s like anything. There may be potentially a setback or something. That’s why we limited him today at practice.’’

All aboard
Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace are coming along for the ride, but whether the Jets defensive stars play against the Broncos Sunday in Denver is still up in the air.

Coach Rex Ryan said he wants both to travel with the team today rather than have them stay back at the facility to rehabilitate their injuries. They’ll be evaluated after the four-hour flight and the team’s walkthrough tomorrow.

“After talking to Darrelle and all that, we’re going to take him to Denver, one way or the other, because he wants to be with his team, whether he can play or not,’’ Ryan said. “And that’s where I want him, also. Hopefully he’ll be ready to play.’’

When asked if the same plan stood for Pace, Ryan said: “Yeah, both of them will make the trip.’’

Revis and Pace were limited at practice after not participating in team drills Wednesday.

“So,’’ Ryan said, “that’s an improvement from yesterday.’’

Revis played in New York’s 29-20 victory over Minnesota on Monday night, but said his left hamstring was “very sore’’ and bothered him throughout the game. He had been sidelined two games with a strained hamstring.

Pace made his regular-season debut Monday after missing the first four games with a broken right foot. He was extremely sore Wednesday, but said he’ll be fine to play.

Favre practices
Brett Favre returned to practice for the Vikings, one day after sitting out to rest his sore right elbow. Favre has been bothered by tendinitis in his throwing elbow and said earlier this week that he would consider sitting out a game or two to rest it if the condition worsens. Favre has started an NFL-record 289 straight regular-season games . . . Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy will make his NFL debut Sunday against the Steelers, ESPN.com reported . . . Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski missed practice for a second straight day with an injured shoulder and running back Darren McFadden said he is questionable for Sunday’s game against the 49ers because of a hamstring injury . . . Bears linebacker Lance Briggs sat out his second straight practice because of an injured left ankle, throwing his status for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks into question . . . Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said his concussion against the Giants two weeks ago was his first. The Tennessean, however, reported that in November 2004, when Cutler was a junior at Vanderbilt, he suffered three. As a rookie with the Broncos in 2006, he was also knocked dizzy and briefly sidelined during the final game of the season against the 49ers . . . The NFL has fined Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson $15,000 for two rules violations after scoring a touchdown last week against the Rams. Burleson was fined for kicking the football into the stands and displaying an unauthorized shirt with a personal message written on it. The shirt, which was under his jersey, read, “What up, doe,’’ which he said was a shout-out to the city of Detroit . . . Titans running back Chris Johnson got a day off from practice because of a sore thigh. Coach Jeff Fisher said he felt it was a good opportunity with the extra day to let Johnson rest up with Tennessee not playing until Monday night in Jacksonville . . . Woody Peoples, a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman who played for the 49ers and Eagles from 1968-80, died Tuesday in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. He was 67.

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