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NFL: Week 12

Leinart done for the season; Favre in mix?

Associated Press / November 29, 2011
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Matt Leinart’s return to the NFL lasted less than a half, and coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans will sign another quarterback this week. Perhaps even Brett Favre will be in the mix.

Leinart will be placed on injured reserve after fracturing his left collarbone in the second quarter of Houston’s 20-13 win in Jacksonville Sunday.

The lefthanded Leinart was making his first start since 2009 in place of Matt Schaub, who broke a bone in his right foot in the Texans’ 37-9 win in Tampa Bay Nov. 13. Kubiak said Leinart will have surgery within the next week, and Schaub is due to have surgery tomorrow to repair a Lisfranc injury.

Kubiak said Houston will try out other quarterbacks this week and hinted the 42-year-old Favre, who retired in January after 20 seasons, could be considered.

“I don’t think you rule out anybody,’’ Kubiak said when asked about Favre specifically. “There are a lot of names being mentioned. I’m not going to rule out anybody, nor confirm anybody.’’

Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, said last night the Texans have not contacted him about Favre.

Despite losing one key player after another, Houston (8-3) has won a franchise-record five straight games. Rookie T.J. Yates, a fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, will start Sunday’s game against Atlanta (7-4). Kellen Clemens, signed last week, will back him up.

Yates, a record-setting quarterback for the Tar Heels, went 8 of 15 for 70 yards in place of Leinart Sunday. Kubiak said he kept the play calls simple for Yates.

Chance for Orton

Embattled Chiefs coach Todd Haley said that Tyler Palko remains the starting quarterback but acknowledged that Kyle Orton will be given every opportunity to win the job before Sunday’s game at Chicago. “Tyler’s the starter,’’ Haley said, “but as we do every week and with every position, if we feel Kyle or Ricky [Stanzi] gives us a chance to win, we’ll make that determination.’’ The Chiefs have been scrambling to find a replacement for Matt Cassel, who joined Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles on injured reserve after hurting his throwing hand late in a loss to the Broncos Nov. 13. Palko was given the reins to the offense last week at New England and threw three interceptions in a 34-3 loss. And when Orton didn’t arrive in Kansas City until Friday, the team had no choice but to start Palko against Pittsburgh. The journeyman quarterback had four turnovers, including three interceptions . . . Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start Monday night’s game against San Diego even after he was pulled in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Texans. Gabbert completed 13 of 29 passes for 136 yards and an interception, and was sacked a season-high six times. Luke McCown finished 7 of 11 for 62 yards. Gabbert has completed 48.5 percent of his passes for 1,371 yards, with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

No mood to celebrate

Stevie Johnson’s days of colorful - and sometimes questionable - touchdown celebrations appear to be over. That’s what the Bills receiver suggested a day after becoming a lightning rod of criticism for a celebration in which he mocked the New York Jets and their receiver Plaxico Burress, and robbed his team of momentum in a 28-24 loss. Johnson said he texted an apology to Burress for mimicking using a gun to shoot himself in the thigh . . . Steelers All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu will be re-evaluated this week after missing almost the entire game against the Chiefs Sunday night after being diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms. It’s the second time this season Polamalu has left a game early following a blow to the head . . . Scott Fujita’s second season with the Browns appears to be over. The veteran linebacker broke his right hand in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to Cincinnati and will undergo surgery this week.

Flexing the schedule

The NFL has moved the Raiders-Packers game Dec. 11 from an early afternoon slot to 4:15 p.m. under the flex scheduling policy . . . The Seahawks placed backup linebacker and special teams standout David Vobora on injured reserve with a shoulder injury . . . Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler will miss 2-6 weeks with a back injury suffered in the loss to Atlanta Sunday.

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